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Saturday, April 02, 2016

My Grandmother

what can I say about my favourite amamma (grandmother )
Valliyil karthiyayani amma ,
she was gentle ,loving , pious and had a soft corner for me I think for the moment I landed in Parappanangadi she would yell
"Chozhi Harikku kayavarthathu kutiyappunde peedigennu vedicho !
( chozhi was our man friday ,buy banana chips for Hari from kuttiyappus shop )and till the day I returned to Madras I would have stock of my favourite kayavarthathu ,those days a slimmer me could afford to gorge on that but the addiction still holds and contributes a lot to my paunch !
My grandma had her routine .
she would be up in morning and after bath endowed in a spotless mundu she would walk gracefully to nearby pishariyakil ambalam and return with our favourite thrimadhram,(offering of ripe plantains mixed with coconuts and jaggery ).
In the temple she would meet her friends and do some small talk ,while returning many would greet Karthiyayani amma , some as thamburatti ( her higheness !! it was the habit those days for older ladies of bigger families to be so adressed )
she would talk to them all and as she had a bit of hearing problem she would ask entha paranjadhu ? ( what did you tell ? )and adjust her hearing aid a bit ,
she would always enquire the old embrandhiri ( the temple priest ,
embrandhiris are namboothiri brahmins from north Kerala they spoke malayalam and Tulu ) about his many children who were all my summer vacation friends ,most of my days would be spent in embranthiris house playing and spotting me she would ask me to come with her for breakfast and go again ,I would plod alongside her holding her hands tasting the thrimadhram,
My grandfather the doyen of the samorin family of calicut
Vasco da Gama had first met the samorins when he came and had long fights with them .
Padinjare kollothe Manavedan raja or PCM Raja would be spotted in the most unroyal feats of gardening or dragging the cow ,he was happiest during these moments ,while amamma would ask him ee thambrannu onnu chennu kulichude ,( can this man take a bath ? )
he would grunt a reply and they understood each other perfectly well .
Once in an evening I tried some filthy word taught by my many friends in Parappanagadi on him and he chased me angrily , I found solace in amamma and cried ammamma adikkunnu ,( grandma hes beating me ) she hugged me and said enhtinna kuttina adikkunu ?( why are hitting the child ? ) avan paranjadhu arayyo ( do you know what he told ? ) and told the forbidden word upon which she caught me steady for him to give me a couple of blows while I whimpered and learnt my lesson !
Amamma was a dictator in the kitchen ,with Nambiar our main cook she was sort of friendly and they shared a long friendship from times of her childhood when Umamma ( great grand uncle ) was alive ,Nambiar too was the main chef and directed the other assistants
Madhavi the rolly polly one who would later churn our turmoiled minds when we became older !
Amamma would make it a point to yell at her once in while and she would mumble her inannities and amamma would ask her endha paranjadhu !( what did you say ? )onnumille ( nothing madam )she would reply .
Unnuli was different she was the cleaner cum helper and Chozhis sister was always very subservient to thamburatti and so she sort of had an affection for her ,these were all people who were loyal to our family for years and were considered as part of the family .
Breakfast mostly would be soft white idlis with red hot coconut chutney needless to say rice for idlis and coconuts were all from our lands there would be my chips of course and also sweet mangoes or jack fruits .
Our return to madras would put amamma in a flurry with her directing all of them to make delicous chakka varatiyathu with ghee and jaggery fry our own cahew nuts which we cousins used to barter away for biriryanis and films at local jayakerala talkies .
My grandfathers routine made him walk to the railway station every day at 10 am in the hot sun a distance of more than five km with a tent like umbrella in his huge bush shirt ,amamma would give him a leestu of things to do like post letters , buy lacotu or envelopes and such things , the provisions parts were done by chozhi who would at times join the trip , I too would drag along but mostly put it off as the sun was tiring ,my attraction was the nannari sarpath my grandfather would get me in the market .
Amamma would doze for some time in the afternoon , by evening she would take bath wear another spotless white mundu and go to temple while the young girly in the family then would light the deepam chanting deepam deepam which was a call for us to start the sandhya naamam but me and my cousin Babu were known for thinking everything other than namamms ,
we would wait for amammas thrimadhram and then dinner and finally a warm glass of fresh cow milk , from yes our own cows sweetened by sugar and amamma would hand it over personally , I still dont think any milk has ever tasted so nice in my life than that .
As we retired to sleep we could hear amamma and amachan talking rather amamma shouting as she couldnt hear and thamburan grunting and then they would go to sleep .
and another day would end in Parappanagadi .


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