Friday, September 08, 2006

A Man in the House!!!

The servant returned from her 5 day onam vacation. Both of us blew a big sigh of relief...i was supposed to babysit my ammachi with dad and mom also away. For 2 weeks tension and worry was wrought on ammachi's face, as she despaired over the holocaust awaiting her under my charge...all my efforts to put her at ease hadnt really worked. Until a few years back, she would single-handedly marshall the house, but old-age had caught up...she needed help, yearned for more company and had sadly yet happily and uncomplainingly accepted the reality that her grandkids had grown up and couldnt be around, that her children had begun to also miss their kids, somewhere along the way I am sure she began to feel like excess baggage. Luckily my uncles, aunt, cousins, my parents and sis had resolved someone or the other would spent seperate months of their crowded year with her. Well, that is everyone, except for me...gave her their quality time. Sadly, Trivandrum for me, is also about my friends, cinemas, cable tv, reading and wandering the city...i always get scolded for not doing enough at home.

So ammachi and I began our few days, virtually keeping an eye on each other. She wouldnt trust me with the stove, would always keep checking to see if I had left taps running, had latched the door and locked the gate...sometimes, it was comical, other times irritating. "Ammachi, njan pazhaya aalalla, i have changed", i tried to reassure her, well i failed. Early Morning 7am. My dad had reminded me she needs a bed-tea to warm her frail body. Ofcourse I was blissfully sleeping. She comes over to my bed and softly taps me, "Moneh". "Ayyo chaaya idande", I wake up with such a wild start which scares her. Breakfast. I take the dosamaavu out, of the 8 dosas i made only 5 turned out okay. For one I forgot to apply oil on the kallu, another i tried to flip before it was ready and a third fell to the floor from the chattukam. Of the 5 right ones, 3 had got a lil too burnt...total disaster! I turned around to see a smile on my grandmoms face, and announced, "naalethotte kaappikke bread, jam and butter"! Lunch. The servant had thankfully cooked 4-days lunch, dinner and left marinated fish in the freezer. Only rice had to be cooked. I didnt remember how many whistles were needed...called up a friend and asked him to consult his wife. I had idled over doing the dishes, and ants had crept up all over the sink...dang, so this is the life of a woman, i turned towards ammachi and asked all dazed, "ammachi jeevithathil ethra dosa chuttittunde, ethra aalukale pottiyuttunde?".

Things really got bad. I misplaced the gate lock and she wouldnt go to sleep until i found it. But I tricked her, found a small lock and got the job done for now...thankfully she wouldnt step out onto the yard at night to inspect . Next morning she found out I had forgotten to keep the aviyal back in the fridge. In the evening she discovered I had forgotten to turn off the Goodknight from last night...i didnt tell her it had been that way for 2 days now! The neighbour had forgotten to turn off an outside lamp facing ammachis room and by afternoon, this was disturbing her...she called over to the aunty but noone could hear her. Finally, she asked me to walk over and tell them...i was cosily ensconsed on the sofa watching something crappily interesting and no way was i going now! She finds a neighbour passing by and asks him to carry the message. Damn, my lazy self! In the evening a few friends came over, they wanted to hit the terrace as the view would be good at sunset. I wondered what to do...until i hit upon an idea. I showed ammachi the locator button on the cordless and asked her to press that to summon me anytime she wanted, i took the handset along and trooped upstairs. A little later the calling bell rang, a visitor must be at the door, i came down, ammachi was frantically searching all over the fone for the button i had shown earlier, but though she was exceptionally intelligent, her memory had faded. Again I feel rotten. Onam, was playing out in the city. I got a boy to sit with her, while i slipped away with Shan for a few hours to see the city and its illuminations, besides guzzling a beer. I got back only at 10, an hour past her sleeping hour...and there she was waiting anxiously for me. I felt an anger rising in me, but that dissipated seeing the happy relief on her face.

"Innokke Onam, TVyude mumbil theerum"...she doesnt talk much, but today she was chattering away, while along i had one eye and one ear on the screen...i was setting records in callousness. "Ammachi samsaarikke, inne muzhuvanum namukke ellaavare kurichum kushimbu paranjirikkaam". So i egged her on to gossip and she complained how mom didnt have enough patience for her, how the servant though a good lady would spent more time chatting with neighbours than her and tell her to massage her feet by herself, and how only pappa, her son-in-law and jancy, our kid cousin had adapted to her helplessness. Anyways the servant is back. The house still stands and ammachi told me she expected much worser things. For the last one week, i got calls from my two other ammachis, one is actually my grand-aunt, asking why I never call and when I'll visit. I turned on the charm, said I was just about to call when they did, assured them I am coming right away, but to little effect. Oh Jibs...tera jadoo chal gaya! All of them were like kids now...charm doesnt work with them anymore but sincerity would...i realize that becoming a man also means watching out constantly for those who got me here. Will I?...and thats the big question.

My Two Sweethearts

25 comments:

Anonymous said...

Aesome !!!!!!!!!

One of your rare posts that I had the patience to read thru ;)))

~Nina

silverine said...

So sweet, your Ammachi reminded me of my own. When she was alive I would hang around her all the time. She lived with us and I was her tail. She went to Kerala for a visit and breathed her last there but only after she saw me one last time. This post bought so many memories flooding back and I realise how much I love the old folks in the family. And as they pass away one by one, it leaves an aching void that is so hard to fill.

Great great post. You are indeed lucky to have your Ammachi :)

Thanu said...

Such a beautiful post. See it takes a lot ot make 8 dosas and all of them perfect.

Jiby said...

nina, thanks...and yeah i realised long back itself that the things i write about dont appeal to a lot of people.

silverine, that feeling of people who love me not being around next time around, scares me. ammachi has been a wonderful influence...but sadly i have not imbibed any of her goodness.

thanu, now you know why there was no scotch this onam...haha! and hey, a few more days and i wud have got better with chudufying dosas...but true, cooking daily needs something more than practise. isnt that why men praise women as the embodiment of perfection!

di said...

the post was truly moving...makes my heart wring...its been some time since I have been home..and every time i talk to my grandma she keeps on asking when i'll come to tvm. and the fear of not seeing my loved ones eats into me no end.

btw i have been a silent reader of ur blog till now and njoyed each n evry bit of it...keep writing :)

Jofu said...

that was so sweet....
Jnanum ente ammachiye onnu vilikatte.. Cant wait to meet her...

Tara Mathew said...

Jiby kuttans, we always knew you were a selfish boy, now your last post confirms it. How could you be so careless with our precious ammachy?

To everyone reading this blog - our ammachy is the kindest, sweetest, most beautiful ammachy in the world. And our MS grad, ICSE educated Jiby couldn't even chuttify a simple dosa.

OKAY JUST KIDDING, at some point, all of us second generation malus are prone to being a bit self centered and forget how important it is to take care of our elders. I think it's more of a testament to your big heart that you even thought of these things - which to me says that your love of ammachy goes deeper than what you show.

Good job Jiby kuttans - don't worry next time, i know you'll remember to put off the Good Knight.

Love you baby,

Tarachech

P.S. Jish is here reading this too, but she's too much of a chicken to write anything...

Jiby said...

di, thanks for leaving a comment. that fear of not being present when someone badly needs me, is one temptation for me to stay back in tvm instead of goin elsewhere.

jofu, aliya did u realize ur the only guy to leave a comment here...the gals seem to have lapped this one up well!

tarachech, this was a real surprise! i am honoured by your esteemed presence at my blog...when i see u i feel glad...another person who didnt inherit anything good from ammachi...ooh was that mean? We 5 should start a fight on this topic next time about...lol. didnt know u were in LA rite now! babes, really nice comments you left here.

Anonymous said...

@jiby
oops....... i meant the other way round. i keep coming here as a silent reader 'cos what you write appeals to me. but sometimes i miss out the middle portion of the lond posts. this was exceptionally well written, straight from the heart .......

~Nina

b v n said...

Jiby, beautiful man!!...i too had two ol' sweet hearts back home....miss them so much now they are gone n feel you know like i cud have spend a little more time with them....i do believe the best lesson in life our parents can give us is by taking good care of their parents...my parents did that n i'm thankful to them...as you know its not that easy and romantic like the idea..

Mind Curry said...

err...can i have their phone numbers?

:))

so cute man!! very very sweet..give them this post to read and they will be thrilled!

quills said...

Such a sweet and honest post. :) Your ammachis look so nice and reminds me of my own two Ammachis. You know, our Ammachis are such capable women, so talented and there is so much to learn from them. And so adorable. :)

DD said...

Really sweet man :)
I agree with mind curry! U shud make ur ammachis read this...undoubtedly they would be overjoyed!

lushrains said...

Wonderful post, and a wonderful blog, Jiby. I just chanced upon it, and feel that I have found good reading material to see through my spare time (not that I have much;).

Keep going, you are writing well!

Anonymous said...

Jiby Kuttan-Chachan =)

That brought tears to my eyes... No joke!

You're writing is amazinggg

[Not to mention the little part about me ;)]

I miss you! and Ammachi

Give her an umma for me..

and when she's feeling down and you find yourself acting 'selfish', thirumify her arms =) It will make the two of you feel alot better.

Love,

Jancy

Pooja said...

Not sure a girl in your place would have done much better, at least not one like me a few yrs back. Good job! Sure, you'll do much better next time ;)

Tanushree said...

hi dear,
ur post just reminded me of my amma...
she is so lovely...even today also when i go home she hugged me tightly that i never able to escape from her grip....

nyways...very lovely post.

clouds of samiraan said...

its me jiby.biswajith

it seems they all look the same
the same blissful smiles,a mind
which transcends love , a soothing effect to our frienzied pace. its good to see them through
ur eyes.
takecare.

hope and love said...

such a sweet post.. made me nostalgic too..

flaash said...

I sound like an echo of everyone else's comments but that was a real sweet post..

Usually its a bt difficult for us tough guys to write somethin like that,eh?

Wot else is happening? Rnt goin bk to delhi soon?Am goin to be in Gurgaon for sometime , so need some advice on Mallu joints around there :-)

Praveen said...

really nice post, sweet and moving :)

Di said...

reminded me of my achhamma ..thankfully my cooking skills are legendary and she therefore has never had to eat wat i cook..but its so easy to make her happy..all i need to do is to listen to her talk.. :) but i still feel guilty that i dont get to meet her enuf.. :(

just noticed another di has commented....its not me..!!

Anonymous said...

You are tagged ! :)

venus said...

it is so wonderful that you are taking care of your ammachi, keep it up, they will showe5r you with their love and their blessings.

Shakhi said...

Ammachi reminded me of my grand parents. I never had much time to spend with them since my childhood was spent far away from them in a different state, but I did spend my vacations with them, and still have some beautiful memories. But somehow, now I feel I could and should have done more....