Little did we realise that the morning of 27th November, 2006 will be our last meeting of us with Jaya akka. Even though she was unwell and suffering from illness, she made it to the function in Parthasarathy's house and stayed till 12 noon. Kalyani and Hema forced her to take whatever she liked viz. Oranges and duluted Rasam Rice . The difficulty with which she got into the car with Harish’s help is still fresh in our memory. Kalyani too promised to visit her in Kannan’s house on our return from Bangalore but destiny was different.
The period during which Akka’s family stayed at No.2, Vedachala Garden was full of very pleasant and happy memories. That was the period when Kannan had joined P & T (Sr.Superintendent). Chooda also was at No.6. in the same colony. Rukku had got married. Four of us used to play carom in the evenings and others acting as Advisors. Since renovation work was going on in No.12, Vedachala Garden (our house), I studied for A.M.I.E. in their house in night and Santhanam was preparing for IAS while in Presidency College (doing his Ph.D) and we would go to sleep with books in our hands and Akka would softly wake us up.
When I was working with T.I. Cycles in 1968, I used to bring a lot of magazines (English/Tamil). Jaya Akka would finish the magazines and only then would go to the kitchen for preparation of night meals. Even in May 2006 when Akka was in Amritha’s house and was to go to Santhanam’s house as Parthasarathy/Amritha were going away, she finished Penmani (monthly magazine) from first page to last page including the long story as if she was preparing for the university examination. When I asked her why she was straining herself, she said that Penmani was not available in Sastri Nagar and she did not want to give trouble to her children.
Like my mother, Akka never hankered after money and decisions on flat purchase, marriage of her children were taken by Kannan initially and later by Santhanam. Meals in her house was simple but tasty and all her children were good cooks (I have tasted the cooking of all except Hema). After Parthsarathy’s arrival in 2002 from Mumbai, I was a regular visitor every week and my mother and Akka stayed there and had a good time reminiscing about old days.
Gopalan used to marvel at Amritha’s hospitality when mother was in ICF hospital. Guests were coming without phone/information throughout the day and she was ready with coffee/tea and snacks. This was due to the training given by Jaya Akka to all her children.
Akka observed Ekadasi vratham till her health failed. Akka had a good memory but while in the GH she got the name of the ayah wrong. This was because she had associated the name of the ayah with the Pandavas and called her as Draupadi. Her name was Panchali!
Jaya Akka and Athimbar never believed an extravagant spending. Events like Raghu/Chandra’s seemandam anniversary were always affairs in which only sisters/brothers were invited, I was perhaps the only 'outsider'.
Akka was very proud of the fact that all her sons-in-laws were very good. She was also happy that all her grandchildren visited them at regular intervals when they were in Thiruvanmiyur.
When Amritha phoned on Monday (4th December) afternoon, I told her I'd visit their house on Tuesday after pournami was over and thought I could go and see Jaya Akka with them. Alas that was not to be.
Our prayers are for departed soul.