Thursday, January 07, 2010

Ammama

Let me begin my first post in this new year which is the last year in the first decade of this millenium about a person who actually belongs to the last millenium. My Ammama.

When I held her wrinkled hands today that was so soft unto touch, and kept holding it, very consciously without letting it go and realised she held my hand too with a lot of love, I traversed back in memory of the days when I held those strong, hard hands( I distinctly remember the hardness, she was a very hard working woman) and tagged around all of that house, parambu and the canal in her ancestral house in Kerala. I was a little girl then.

Today I am grown up, but when I held her hands I transformed into that innocent little girl and wished with all my heart that I was with her in that house in which i have spent numerous summer vacations and was smothered in love by my grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins. I remembered the taste of the curries that she makes so very painstakingly in the traditional utensils like the Chatti and after preparations places them on the Uri that hangs in the kitchen to save them from the menacing cats around. ( I have always had a dislike for cats probably inherited the dislike from my mother). I told Ammama about the Uri and Meen curry and she laughed shyly showing her toothless mouth.

Ammama is all of 92 years old and her age shows in the lines of her face, though the colour of her hair defies her age. It is still dark and there are only a few grey hair here and there. Infact, my mom has more grey hair than her. I guess I have almost as many grey hair as much as she has, but the number of grey hair that i have is not the topic of this conversation ( he he..) and even if there were any, Revlon Top Speed has hidden it so well... lets not digress.. back to Ammama..

So Ammama has come to a stage where she cannot live alone and hence she is shuttling between her children's houses in Kerala, Chennai and Bangalore. She is leaving to Bangalore this week and deep down I was feeling so sad that she is going away. She is an integral part of my childhood and among the few people who really mattered to me when I was in those rather juvenille years.

Achan was at home when we went to see Ammama and we were together remembering all those times of our times spent in Potta house. On the comment that Achan said about Appappan telling God, that he will go back to earth if his wife comes up, Ammama was ROTFL (finally i got to use this term.. ). Her body was shaking, her face had a wide grin, not much of noise, typical ammama laugh. She had spent most of her energies in cursing Appappan while he was alive and maybe thats why she was able to laugh when we discussed Appappan. She showed a clear yearning to go back and when i told her lets go back to that Potta house, you and me together, i saw her eyes glisten with hope and i didnt linger on that for long since i know its just false hope that i will be giving her.

When I told her that Joe keeps telling me that i would look like her when i grow old, she immediately retorted a little angrily that i will not look like her. I had a chance to tell Joe and Denny that they cannot take me for granted when my ammama was around. My mother was enjoying her grandmother moment when she figured out Denny had grown taller than her and Ammama very naively asked Denny you are just 13 years old? You look much older than that.. Den was secretly very happy about that. This was over and above happiness of being in his grandparents' house. Denny could not beleive that Ammama used to smoke Beedi's when I was young - he had that sweet mischeivous smile on his face when he repeatedly asked me if it was true.

I told Ammama that she looks good only with those Mekka Mothirams' she rebuked my uncle saying that he is not giving it to her and very confidently said that she knows that she does not look good without them. I cannot but agree with her, as I know she is the last person in my family who would wear a traditional ornament such as that.

And thus my Ammamma is still travelling in her journey of life to my uncle's house in Bangalore this time.

My maternal grandmother with Mekka Mothirams et all
I hope she will be happy and I hope she will be fine.

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