Continuing about my Annamma from the previous post:
Annamma had a few unique qualities which I really admired. She was very detached from the worldly expectations of her or obliging to the norms of the society. She did what made her happy and did not give a damn about what others thought about her. For that reason, she was the best mother-in-law one could ask for. She let my mom take the reigns of the household and enjoyed her life from the backseat. She would provide my mom with advice only if it was sought from her. I have never seen the two of them argue or even bitch about each other to a third person, which was very rare to be seen. My granny would keep herself occupied with stitching, crochet, crosswords etc and my Amma always made sure that she procured all the resources for Annamma to keep her hobbies going.
Do you know that my Annamma was addressed as ‘Honnie’ by all her children and grandchildren. Brother’s wife is usually called ‘Honnie’ in out language Konkani. Then why was Annamma addressed that, you may ask? When her kids were small, they would hear her brother-in-law call her ‘Honnie’ and they learned by imitating him. The grandkids also followed suit later on. I used to ask her why she had not corrected her kids and taught them to call her Amma. But she brushed it off with an attitude of ‘Who cares what they call me?’ See I told you, she was very hip 🙂
Sindhu and I used to practice our Henna / Mehndi patterns on her hand ahead of Mehndi competitions in our town. She was an enthu cutlet when it came to encouraging us in anything under the sun.Sindhu would draw patterns on one hand and me on the other. When we were done, she would go wash her hands to let us try more patterns. Once we even talked her into letting us draw patterns on her back, arms and belly button. Boy oh boy, she was game for everything.
One of Annamma’s daughters inherited her passion for stitching and she had gifted Annamma a pair of quality scissors from Bahrain. Annamma loved those scissors to the core and enjoyed stitching more than ever with her new found toy. One fine day, she took a new sweing project and sat down on the drawing board to do the cutting first. Guess what? Her one and only pair of scissors were nowhere to be found. She got so enraged that she declared “Till I get those scissors back, I’m not going to sew anything”. It was like she had declared war and there was no way she would retreat.She stayed true to her words after that very day. She did not sew even as days turned into weeks, and weeks into months. My Amma felt really bad for her and even offered to buy her a new pair of scissors. But Annamma blatantly denied. My Amma then prayed to Lord Ganesha at a famous temple called ‘Moole (read as Moo Lay) Ganesha temple’. The specialty of this temple was that if you pray to the lord to find any lost object in exchange of a service or a task that you would pledge to do, it will happen. Believe it or not, soon after Amma’s prayers, the attendant from our school had come to our home for some reason. Just out of nowhere, the topic of sewing came up and Annamma narrated the story of the missing scissors (for the millionth time, she had been narrating to all and sundry). On hearing it’s physical description, the attendant had a Eureka moment and broke her the news that there was one such pair of scissors at school which was there since the exhibition day and nobody had claimed its ownership till then. He volunteered to send it through one of us kids the very next working day. All three of us refused that it was our deed, but Annamma was on cloud nine to have found her prized possession back and didn’t bother to take us to task 🙂
My Annamma was suddenly diagnosed with psoriasis when I was in college I think. It was a terrible disease as it spread throughout her body like bush fire. And she would say that the itchiness it caused was unbearable. Our family doctor prescribed Ayurvedic medicine and also a certain medicinal oil, which she had to smear all over her body and leave it on for an hour or so every day and take a shower. Annamma would just smear on a few parts of the body but that did not help in curing it. I started doing this for her every single day morning before leaving for college. I felt so good about doing something for my Granny who had always supported us all through our lives. It took many months to cure, but it did happen eventually. She got cured of the disease completely.
I really miss Annamma, she was like that friend we had so much fun growing up with. I dunno if I will ever be able to meet Annamma but I hope and pray for her good health all the time.