The Bride

A True Story 

Narayana Mama passed away a month ago at 95.

His life was prolonged by at least ten years because of Vishalakshmi Mami. He married her when she was sixteen and he twenty-five, and she has since been his forever bride.

The couple had an incredibly beautiful relationship. In his active days, Mama was a professor at one of the IITs, and Mami, who ended her formal education at 16, learnt passable English and took care of the young boys and girls who hung around their home, feeding them, and healing their hearts.

Mami was a bustler, if you know what I mean. As far back as I remember, when Mama was in the room, she was always bustling around him. When we visited, she would sit next to him, and even when her conversations were directed to us, I would feel the flow of romantic energy between them. Mama, who was getting on in the years by then, would talk to us for a while and return contently to his online game of solitaire. I am not mistaken when I say that they were definitely having an old-people love affair right there in the midst of a filter coffee-murukku evening.

There are men who marry women because they want a wife. Then, there are men who marry women and expect them to become their mothers. There are few men who marry their brides and protect that delicate connection, filling it with whispered love and oodles of sublime intimacy.

Narayana Mama was one such man. And then there is another, our good friend Srini, who has been married for 23 years and lists his wife Rama on his phone as ‘Bride.’


Rugmani Prabhakar is a journalist who became a teacher of meditation when she realised that neither in school nor college are people taught to handle their mind and emotion.  She has done extensive work in rural development and helped empower rural communities across India.  She is also a writer and poet.