C-rappy Cacophony

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Karunambal Paati - What a legend!

Dear Paati
May your soul rest in peace! I have very fond memories of you. My oldest memory being in Chennai Besant Nagar when Chitra was born in Veidehi hospital. You were taking care of amma and I used to play in the front of the hospital. You took great care of me, as I was your first grandson. You were always kind to me. Always spoke good of me, encouraged me to achieve. Your god fearing nature is unmatchable. Your poojais every day that spanned several hours is one of the reasons why you were able to keep your calm and go about any kind of hardship with ease. You always prayed for the betterment of others. I vividly remember playing in the thulasi maadam in Jeeyapuram when you would walk in from your early morning bath at Cauvery; and go straight to the mitham and do poojai to the thulasi maadam. Then would start your hour long puujai which used to happen while you walked around the house doing all kinds of chores. I remember helping you with a long stick to pull the 'Madi saree/blouse' that you would wear after bath. You would not mind if we kids touched you before taking bath. You used to make me the choiciest of foods, the Maida cake is still my favorite. I have never tasted anything as good as the Maida cake you used to make. The several hours that you and thatha used to spend in the backyard making therati paal and halwa! I could still sense the feeling of contentment amongst you and thatha when you would see your kids and grandkids relishing the paal cova and the halwa. You used to make me maambazham pachadi and molaguutal which was my favorite. In the backyard thinnai at jeeyapuram, we have fond memories of heating palaa kottai on a coal based stove; you and thatha even trying to make detergent soap by mixing some chemicals thatha bought; thatha shaking bottle filled with buttermilk to convert it into butter... many many sweet memories. The bathroom veragi adupu is also a fond memory. Thatha and I used to put the coconut tree leaves/barks to make the fire and the I used to bath in that hot water. All the grandkids spent a lot of time in the backyard next to the Kinaru well drawing water from it and bathing bext to the well. You used to take me and the other grandkids to the sivan temple or the krishnan koil every day. Sometimes I used to come to the Cauvery with you when you would be so watchful of me at the steps near the water. I used to accompany you when you went to other mami's house in the agraharam - pichu iyer mami, ambulu mami , saraswathi mami and several others. You would gleam with pride explaining all my antics and everywhere you used to say that 'Rajesh , chitra - Rombha chamathu kozhandhael'. My distinct recollection of you is the way you used to pamper and konju me; still stays fresh in memory - Kanna da nee, chellam da nee, mutthu daa nee, raajaa da nee, vellam da nee.. many nany such platitudes which I loved hearing and then watched you do the same to my younger cousins when it was their turn. You were such a godsend to all your grandkids. Your dedication and affection was unmatched. I always wondered how you could provide the equal warmth and kindness to all of us. There was no partiality or neglect to any of us at anytime. You were a superhuman who was so under-appreciated. I have even watched thatha fight with you but you were so graceful and silent most of the times.
I am happy that you were there actively involved in all of my main events - my birth, my birthdays, my poonal, my wedding, my daughter's first birthday. During my India visits, you used to make time to come to chennai and stay as much as possible making all sorts of podi/urugai/omapodi/maida cake etc. How lovely paati. How did I just completely take you for granted. I wish I had the thougtfulness to bring you with me to the USA, show you around and treat you like a queen, which is what you deserved for your 85 years of selfless service. Instead what you got was occasional phone calls and meaningless gifts such as shawls/bedsheets during my visits. You used to ask me for Bengay which I used to feel proud when I got 4 or 5 packs shipped to you however I wish you had been taken care of in a better manner that you didnt even have to experience that knee pain in the first place. We goofed up big time. 
The way you treated your son in law and daughter in laws! What a relationship.. you were a mother to all of them; always wished that they all had the best if health and the least of strains. You used to cook,clean,wash the vessels and do everything to make sure your working daughter in lass didnt have to strain themselves after their day's work. You took care of the kids the entire day and even at night to again make sure yor sons and DILs didnt have to take that effort.
Your best friend was my amma. You and her could talk hours together about everything under the sun. We used to ridicule you both for talking vambu matters but those were just trivial things that you discussed, just the curiosity about every family in the agraharam, every son and daughter in the family, even the cousins. I am sure my amma is going to miss those phone calls and late night one on one talks with you.

I wish your kids and grandkids could have done much more than what we did to you. We could have atleast taken you around India to visit the temples and other religious places. Coming to think of it, we didnt even spend more than a day or 2 every year with you in the last 10 years. What a shame and what a careless attitude. We have had no sense of gratitude to you. Please forgive us for this nonchalance. 

You shall be remembered for your warmth, for your humility, for your grace, for your culinary skills, for your selfless nature, for your prayers for everyone's goodness, for your dedication to our entire family. It is still amazing to realize how you came forward last year even when you were frail and not feeling well to take care of your son, who had lost his wife. You could move mountains with your mental strength. You could win any war - not with any kind of physical might, but with your calmness and prayers!

I posted this on FB where several people spoke good of you and posted condolences. You were such a noble soul. You will be a leading light for me. I face several situations where I tend to lose my calm. I want to remember you and recollect your calmness and hope that you shall be my gudinf light to overcome those situations calmly.
Thank you Paati for everything that you and thaatha did to me and will be doing to me going forward with your blessings.I hope to keep reminding my kids about you!

Posted by rajesh |

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