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Kerala boy arranges remarriage for his tormented mother

Gokul was in high school when his mother separated from her first husband

By K.M. Rakesh in Bangalore
  • Published 17.06.19, 3:23 AM
  • Updated 17.06.19, 3:23 AM
  • 2 mins read
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Gokul Sreedhar Sourced by correspondent

A young engineering graduate from Kerala has arranged a second marriage for his divorced mother who he says had walked out on her first husband years ago because of domestic violence.

Kollam resident Gokul Sreedhar, 23, has been flooded with congratulatory messages since he announced the marriage of his mother Mini Ayyappan to a retired army colonel, K. Venu, on Facebook.

“My mother is getting married. I did consider whether this note was really needed. This is a time when most people would find it difficult to accept a second marriage,” Gokul, who happens to be an area secretary of CPM student wing SFI, posted in Malayalam on Tuesday.

“No one should see this with a shadow of doubt or contempt. Even if someone does, none of us are going to flinch.”

Gokul was in high school when his mother separated from her first husband. They finally got divorced in 2013 after a lengthy procedure.

While with her first husband, Mini Ayyappan had had to quit her job as a schoolteacher because of family issues. Since she left him, she has been working as a librarian in Kollam.

Gokul wrote about how his mother had “set aside her life for me”.

“She suffered a lot in a disaster of a marriage. When blood oozed from her forehead after getting beaten up (by her first husband), I had asked her why she was enduring this marriage. I remember she said she was living for me, and would accept any suffering for that,” he wrote.

“The day I walked out of that house, I had decided about this day (the remarriage). My mother, who wasted her youth, has a lot of dreams. I have nothing more to say. I just did not want this (second marriage) to be kept a secret.”

K Venu and Mini Ayyappan
K Venu and Mini Ayyappan Sourced by correspondent

Gokul told The Telegraph on Thursday that he had always wanted his mother to have a life.

“I feared that she would be alone once I got a job somewhere,” the young man, now studying for a bachelor’s degree in English and political science from the Indira Gandhi National Open University to satisfy his real inclination, said.

He said a colleague of his mother at the library where she works had suggested the match.

“She rejected the idea initially, but I and other family members were able to convince her she should get married,” Gokul said. “My own Left background and the progressive outlook of my mother’s family helped.”

Venu is a widower with a son and a daughter who are settled outside the state.

Gokul organised a low-key wedding with help from friends and family. “The marriage was solemnised at a registrar’s office,” he said.

“To be honest, I was a bit anxious how people would take it, although I would have handled any reaction well. To my surprise, society saw it differently (from what Gokul had expected).”

His Facebook page has been swamped with accolades and greetings for the newly-weds.

“Lal Salaam, Comrade,” messaged Pavithra Pavia. “Comrade, you are right,” wrote Anand Parameswaran.

Jacob Koyippally posted: “Smart boy. This is how children should be.”

One message over the phone was particularly poignant.

“A man from Tamil Nadu in his late thirties called and congratulated me but ended up crying uncontrollably as he had not been able to help his mother, who too had been a victim of domestic violence. He said his mother committed suicide when he was 22,” Gokul said.

He added: “The spate of positive messages has brought it home to me that Kerala’s society believes in progressive values. No woman who faced the kind of violence and trauma my mother did should be punished with a life of isolation.”