Saturday, January 19, 2013

Inheritance: minus the Joy !

After  Ammama’s  demise in the month of November 2012, the world looks very different.  Even today, I cannot think of Ammama, without tears welling up and a huge lump in my throat.  Ammama is my moms mom  - The maiden visitors of my blog can view my writings about her here, herehere and here.

I was one of her favorite grand children,  ( I was the second in the list, I guess :) ) purely because of being a big chatterbox.  I would score definitely higher in that compared to all her other grandchildren ( she has 13 of them). I was also the only one probably to show affection openly, I would hug her, kiss her and when I sit next to her I keep holding her hands.  That was my way of connecting to her.

picture taken sometime in Jan
There was one other thing I used to do – Earlier when Ammama travelled to cities where her children lived,  my mom and her siblings were against her wearing her traditional Mekka Mothirams.  These are unique jewelry worn by Syrian Christian women of Kerala starting from the 18th century or so.  They are moon shaped ear jewelry  made of Gold worn on the upper cartilage of  the ear.  I have heard from Ammama that her ear was pierced when she was a little child and she used to wear  Mekka Mothirams when she was  barely 3 or 4.

She got newer and bigger ones for her marriage ( at the age of 13 ) and later in the 70’s or so my uncle changed and made them smaller as they were really big.  She wasn’t very happy about that. The Mekka Mothirams are very close to ammama’s heart and she always thought that she looked better with them.  So when her children protested to her wearing it when she was travelling,  ( purely for reasons of safety), her  heart sank. 

I loved Ammama, with or without the Mekka Mothirams but since I knew she liked it, I used to argue and fight with her children ( read my mom and uncles) to allow her to wear them.  One of my logical reasoning was that there is no one in our family who would ever wear a Mekka Mothiram and so wherever she is, she must be allowed to wear them. She is our cultural representative.  Most of the time  they gave in to my arguments and allowed ammama to wear it.  Of late, when she travelled they did not bother removing it. 
After her death, we have the 7th day and 41st day ceremonies in the church and at home.  I was so touched that  my older uncle and his wife stayed on at the Tharavadu, to attend mass and offer prayers at her cemetery daily for the next 40 days after her demise. Not many children would be willing to spend this kind of time for a deceased parent. After her 7th day ceremonies, before most of Ammama’s children dispersed,  the family felt it was right that that I be given her Mekka Mothirams.  (Ammama was always a giver and she had so much to give all her children even after her death).  

The Mekka Mothirams truly look strange to me now, because all I can see is an Ammama shaped void in between them. Its so painful to  look at them  and today I mustered the courage to bring them out and photograph them to tell you  the tale of Ammama’s Mekka Mothirams that I have come to inherit.  


  1. that photo of u and ur paati says everything...chaancela snap...and she looks so lovely :) ella paatiyum azhagaa thaan irukaanga :)

  2. true Gils. She is a darling. That particular day when we clicked the picture, she seemed to be a bit better. We were trying to get her to remember some old stuff, make her speak and laugh and we were quite successful. After that day she rarely got back to that state.

  3. Dear Vincy, Your post brought tears to my eyes, I was reminded of my ammamma whom I used to call 'Ammachi', she is so pretty, by God's grace she is hale and hearty but due to some family problems I am not able to meet her any more. I also used to do the same way, I used to hug her and kiss her and display my love openly, I am the first grandchild and she has seen my children also.
    The love that both of your shared is so visible in the photograph. I didn't know this ornament is called 'Mekka Mothiram', it is really rare to find people who still wears it. I know it must be hard for you .HUGS(())
    Take care

  4. Thanks for your Hugs dear. The Mekka Mothirams are also called Kunukku in some parts of Kerala.
    Hey you know what - you should meet your Ammachi at the next possible opportunity. and let nothing stop you from that. I am sure your ammachi is waiting to see you too. Today, whatever price i pay, i will never be able to meet my ammama again. and the pain that we go through when we lose a loved one can never be expressed in words. My prayers are with you to meet your Ammachi soon.

  5. Now I think I know how your smile will be when you are old.. :) You and your Ammama look so good together! I know the memories are the ones that will last forever. Nothing can erase it from us. Every time you see those Mekka Mothirams you will remember some memory of your Ammama and your viewing will be a bit different from the one earlier which will make you love her more! :)
    I loved this post and the title makes true sense!

    1. Hey Jayanthy, great to hear from you after a long time. missed you in my space.

      Memories make our lives so much more better. so true.

  6. Hey Vincy,
    Kunnaku on ur ammamma is beautiful. I remember my great grand mother used to wear them too. It is truly nice to see them wearing it, nowadays no one does.

    1. so true. In my family, she was the last one to wear it.

  7. True ; inheritance minus the joy - but there is remembrance, respect and over the years, joy at having been part of this family

  8. oh yes Ramesh. loads of love for everyone in the family. truly proud for being a part of them.

  9. I for one am glad you inherited them:-)).

    Never heard of mekka our part of Kerala finger rings are referred to as mothiram. I hrd from my mom tht my great grand-mom wore them but forget wht they were referred to as. The ones I have seen on our ammachi's are shaped like mini Bhima's club;-D

    1. :-) :-) While, I am glad too, its painful to look at them now. maybe time will heal the pain.
      Yeah, Kerala that way has unique practices and stuff in every district. I am trying to put together a mini Bhima's club in my imagination and i am failing miserably.

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