God could not be present everywhere and hence created mother. It is natural that for everybody mother is an affectionate and lovable person. But in our case, she was more than what words can convey as she attracted all of us in several ways. For me going to amma’s place in Thiruvanmiyur (when they lived in a flat there) was a very happy event. I'd normally go there once in every month. Usually I'd arrive there by 12 O’ clock after finishing my household works. Amma used to tell me ‘Why are you coming in uchi veyyil? Try to come early to take food.' My intention was to spend time with our parents only and not to give my mother the trouble of making food. But she wouldn't allow us to go without taking tiffin and she often used to make special snacks like Uppappam, Bonda, Bajji etc.

We siblings would individually visit our parents often. But all the families used to meet together in amma’s place on Deepavali day, Kanu pongal day and Aavani avittam day. Remembering about those days itself is sweet. On Avani avittam day amma used to fast the whole day but she'd prepare food for all of us! She and appa used to give dhoti and towel for the Brahmacharis (unmarried boys). On deepavali day the children used to burst crackers in the terrace of Tiruvanmiyoor flat. And on Kanu day we all used to do the ritual of Pidi vaithal in that terrace. On that day, we had pooled lunch and every one of us used to prepare one item. We enjoyed all these things because of amma’s proper planning. We can now only dream about those days.

Amma stayed with me hardly two or three times only for short periods. At that time, in the evenings she was very much interested in playing cards. Before 5 O clock, she'd finish all her work like writing ‘sri rama jayam’ etc and ask me to close the window door, because she did not like our neighbours to see her playing cards!

Shoba is very fond of amma and she cried very much over phone when she heard about amma’s demise. Whenever I think of amma her smile is what I remember. It is difficult to describe her smile as it had shyness, innocence and happiness in equal measure. Though I can't describe it, her smile flashes before my eyes whenever I tnink of her. No doubt we all miss her very much.

Pushpa Parthasarathy
January 2007