I miss you Paati

Everytime I think about Paati, the first thing that comes to my mind is her smile-adorable and warm. They lit up her eyes and made a world of a difference to everyone sitting around her. Whether that face lit up when she told me childhood stories about all my cousins or because she read something funny in “kalki”, “vikatan” or “tuglak”it always made me feel good. I could never spend as much time with paati as I would have liked to because of my hectic schedule but the times I spent with her will always be etched in my mind.

Paati and I spent time together both in the mornings (during holidays) and the evenings (nearly everyday). Paati used to wake up early in the morning, read the paper and then sit with her sosthram book. As she grew older she always fell asleep at this time! If woken up she would refuse to sleep, insist on reading the book and doze off again two seconds later.It always amazed me how religious and determined she was. Even when she went to hospital she regretted not writing Sri Rama Jayam in her book and blamed herself for having less bakthi.

Paati’s enthusiasm for everything in life was another remarkable thing. She evinced a deep interest in anything be it books, music, dance or any other hobby or activity. She always wanted to be a part of everything, give her views and contribute to every event in some way. One will always feel the absence of that when one achieves something or is in need of support.

A person bringing up eight children within constraints is indeed a big achievement. Appa always told me about how Paati made sure everybody ate well, studied well and had all the comforts of life. Even my memories of the Thiruvnamiyur house mainly revolve around Paati’s efficiency in cooking and looking after us, especially during functions and festivals. She cooked various dishes in a short span of time for around 20 odd people and at the same time spent time with us, spoke to us, made sure we were comfortable and found time to play carrom and chess with us!

Paati always wanted to be independent. Even when she was given the walker she did not consider it a support but more of a hindrance to her everyday activity. The walker was very frequently referred to as “suzhi”!! She would conveniently leave her walker behind and would look extremely grumpy when any of us followed her with it.

There are so many memories of Paati. Hers was such a cheerful presence. She had a way of making each one of us feel like we were the one for her- a real feat considering we are so many in the family.

I miss you Paati.

Radhika Santhanam
December 2006