Subbaiah, 84, of Usilankulam in Pudukottai district has virtually put his wife on a pedestal. The octogenarian has built a ‘temple’ in memory of his deceased wife and installed a statue at his house.
With ‘panchaloka’ statue of his wife, he believes that his departed wife Shengabavalli continues to live with him. It is nearly 13 years since she died due to a kidney ailment. But their 48-year-old companionship remains afresh in the memory of this retired supervisor in the Telecom Department.
“Ours was a love marriage in 1958 with blessings of parents of both sides, recalls Subbaiah who was 23 and Shengabavalli just 15. Shenbagavalli, a close relative, accompanied him during his official postings at different places. “There was never an occasion for tiff between us,” says Subbaiah, who has four sons and four daughters.
“She was a solid support during challenging times,” he says. After retirement, the two were living peacefully when tragedy struck in 2006. “I was unable to raise money for my wife’s kidney transplant,” he says. He lost his wife in September that year.
The idea of installing a statue struck him then which materialised in 2009. “I spent close to ₹ one lakh to make a nearly four-feet high panchaloka statue,” he says.
He constructed a pedestal in front of his house and installed the statue in September 2009. Since then he religiously lights a lamp in front of the idol every morning and evening on Tuesdays and Fridays. “It is like a temple for me and I perform abhishekam for the statue on holy occasions.” He says, “Now I don’t feel her absence. She continues to be with me.”