COLUMN: Spouse's Turn
Geetha talks about life with the politician NK Premachandran
Photo by Vishu Lal
By Shevlin Sebastian
On October 28, 2003, NK Premachandran fell ill with dengue fever. He was taken to a private hospital at Kollam. However, when the fever increased, his wife Geetha took him by car at night and got him admitted to the KIMS Hospital at Thiruvananthapuram.
But the situation began to take a turn for the worse. Every day Premachandran's blood platelet was going down: from a normal of 2.5 lakh it reached 9000. In a desperate bid to increase the count, the blood of 36 people were given.
Two weeks passed. One day, Geetha saw that the heartbeat line on the cardiac monitor had become irregular. She ran to Dr. M.I Sahadulla, the Managing Director, who called the doctors at the Intensive Care Unit. They confirmed that the situation was grim. Geetha ran back to where her husband lay, and prayed fervently to Guruvayurappan and Hanuman.
After a while, the miracle took place. “Slowly, the heart beat began to go up,” she says. “All vital signs began to improve.”
But there were further setbacks. Bleeding on the leg was detected. Soon, there came a time when Premachandran was unable to speak. He wrote something on a piece of paper and showed it to his wife: 'A politician who cannot speak, what use is he?' But, ultimately, he survived.
This was the most unforgettable experience for Geetha in her 23-year-marriage to Premachandran. Incidentally, she is a reader at the Homeo Medical College in Kurichi, Kottayam.
The other moving moment occurred when Premachandran recently won from the Kollam Lok Sabha constituency, where he defeated a heavyweight like MA Baby, of the CPI(M), by a margin of 37,649 votes.
It had a big impact on Premachandran. “He feels a big responsibility to live up to the expectations of the people,” says Geetha. “It is a great moment for the [Revolutionary Socialist] party.”
This win was a soothing balm to Premachandran, after his unexpected loss in the 2011 Assembly elections. “At that time, I had told my husband and child [20 year-old Karthik] that everything is for the good. But Premachandran told me, 'You are the first person to say that losing is a good thing,'” says Geetha.
But, in retrospect, Geetha was right. When Premachandran lost, he had plenty of time. And he ended up spending it with Karthik. As a result, they became close. “When my son was younger, he would say, 'I am sure father does not know which class I am in.'” Today, Karthik, who has a B. Tech degree, is working for Sobha Developers in Dubai.
The second revelation, from the defeat, was that the family realised who their true friends are. “The behaviour of people is different when you are in power and out of it,” says Geetha. “When Premachandran lost, several people kept aloof. He felt it keenly.”
Asked to analyse her husband's character, Geetha says, “Premachandran is a soft person, who can never harm anybody. I tell him that he should not be so simple. Politics is a difficult profession. If a man makes ten requests, over a period of time, and Premachandran fulfills nine of them, and is not able to do the tenth, the person will talk badly of him. That is human nature. But, at the same time, there are many who love him.”
One of them is Remya (name changed), a poor girl who was studying nursing. For the final semester, she needed Rs 25,000. Premachandran, who was the then Minister for Water Resources, could not obtain a sponsorship. “That was when he decided to pay Rs 2500 every month from his salary so that the girl could complete her course,” says Geetha. “Today she is a qualified nurse. We feel happy for her. ”
Geetha also felt happy when she got married to Premachandran on February 10, 1991. Initially, her father had hoped she would marry somebody from the government service, instead of a politician. But Geetha had no doubts. “I knew Premachandran was smart, because he had secured the first rank in law from the Thiruvananthapuram Government Law college in 1985,” she says.
However, at the SG Auditorium at Attingal, where the marriage took place, there was a faux pas. “The ring which I had to give Premachandran was supposed to have my name,” says Geetha. “But it was not there.” Premachandran whispered to Geetha, “Did you not get the time to put it?” Geetha did not know what to reply and gave an embarrassed smile.
Thankfully, the couple never face any embarrassing moment when they step out in public. “Wherever we go, we are treated with a lot of love and affection,” says Geetha. “Nowadays, Premachandran receives a lot of congratulations [for winning the Lok Sabha seat]. They tell him that the right person has won.”
Finally, when asked for tips on marriage, Geetha says, “Before marriage, you might have secrets. But once you get married, you must be open and honest with each other.” Also, if there are problems between the spouses, they should solve it between themselves. “Others should not be allowed to interfere, especially the parents,” she says. “That will make it messy.”
There should also not be any ego issues. “At times, you must opt for a compromise,” says Geetha. “That is the only way to make the marriage work.”
(The New Indian Express, Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram)