Tuesday, October 09, 2012

“My husband speaks his mind”

COLUMN: Spouse's Turn 

Usha talks about her husband, P.C. George, the Chief Whip of the Kerala Government

By Shevlin Sebastian

When P.C. George was campaigning for the 1980 Kerala Assembly elections for the Poonjar constituency, he would drop in to see panchayat president P.K. Mathew at Edappady [a town between Bharananganam and Pala]. Mathew’s daughter Usha remembers George striding into the house. “He wore a starched white shirt and mundu,” she says. They met, but did not speak to each other. “But George liked me from the very beginning,” says Usha. He became a regular visitor to the house. A few months later, the George family sent an official proposal. Thereafter, the parents met, and the marriage was fixed.

“We began talking on the phone after that,” says Usha. At that time, Usha was doing a home science course at Jyothy Bhawan, Moolamattom. “He came and met me a few times at the hostel,” says Usha. It was, of course, unthinkable to go out on a date. “Society was conservative then,” she says. “Since he was a politician, he always had a group of people with him. We spoke briefly about what was going on in our lives.”

The marriage took place on January 25, 1981. After 30 years of marriage, Usha still likes her husband’s frank and honest nature. “George speaks what is on his mind,” says Usha. “He attacks both the LDF, as well as the UDF. Because of his outspokenness, he has made many enemies. Now he needs police protection all the time. Sometimes, I tell him that maybe he should not be so forthright. But he has always been like this.”

Usha now goes to church every morning and prays for the safety of her husband and their family. “I worry about them all the time,” she says.

What Usha appreciates about George, the present MLA from Poonjar, is that he has given a lot of freedom to her. “I can go anywhere I want,” she says. “He rarely says no. Sometimes, I book my railway ticket and only then do I tell him that on this date I will be travelling.”

Like her husband, Usha has been having a busy life. For the past 28 years, she has been running the Mayflower Beauty Parlour and Tailoring Centre at Erattupetta, near the house in which they live. “We have about 15 employees,” she says. “This year, I have also started a business selling salwar kameezes and sarees.”

Other plus points about her husband: “He is not particular about his food,” says Usha. “All he wants is tasty stuff.”

As for his negative traits George, the Chief Whip of the Kerala Government, can get angry very fast.  “Sometimes, I have been hurt by what he has said,” she says. He is also particular that nobody uses his things, like the comb or brush. “He does not like anybody to remove it, without telling him,” she says. “But despite all this, even though he does not show it, George loves me and the children very much.”

The couple have two sons, Shone, 29, an advocate who is now working with his father in politics, and is married to actor Jagathy’s daughter, Parvathy. The second child, Shane, is in Class 12 at St. Thomas College in Thiruvananthapuram.
“Both the children would miss their father when they were young, because George was always on the move,” says Usha. “But they understand him and his career better now that they have grown up.”

The life in politics is one of never-ending tension, but George, who is the vice-chairman of the Kerala Congress (Mani), does not talk to his wife about it. “There is no discussion of politics at home,” says Usha. “If my husband is tense, you rarely see it on his face. But I know that he is under stress when he starts smoking a lot.”

And she says that she follows his political moves by watching the news channels. “He does not tell us anything, but blurts out everything on TV,” she says, with a smile.  

Husband and wife love each other, despite all the ups and downs. Asked for advice to give young people, in these times of skyrocketing divorce rates, Usha says, “If the mother or mother-in-law is good, then the family will not have any problems. If there are any conflicts between the son and daughter in law, a mother-in-law should solve it. However, they tend to add salt to the wounds. In many divorce cases that I know of, it was the mother-in-law who contributed to the break-up. She should have been the one who solved the problems.” 

(The New Indian Express, Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram) 

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