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I cut vegetables for the preparation of 'Avial' this morning.
Avial is a vegetable dish. Yam, Raw Banana, White pumpkin, broad beans, carrot and cucumber were the vegetables.
These vegetables are boiled and a gravy made out of coconut, green chillies and jeera is added. A dash of coconut oil is used to season the dish.
My wife went to market yesterday and bought vegetables and while coming from office I picked her up to home. Our son has come today and this dish was prepared with love, for him.
My grandfather used to cut vegetables when we were young.
My grandfather used to cut vegetables when we were young. I have learned only the vegetable cutting art and I am using that art only in my life now. I have seen my maternal uncles also who were well versed in this art in their kitchens. He used to recite good mantras while bathing. It called Ganga and Yamuna rivers. I didn't learn those mantras. He used to do good poojas pouring honey and milk to the green colored Siva lingam. He used to wear nice Pancha Ketcham. At least this art I should master now. Grand pa's picture comes.
My Grandfather died in the year 1982. On a cold January morning....beginning of the year, beginning of the month. I went to my work spot to tell them that my grandfather died. It is the world. Everything should move. Whether one person is alive or not.The automobile concern should move. The world should move. It does not bother about my Grandfather or the attachment he has to me. Who is that fellow? Manager of the concern that's all. He doesn't know about my emotions. He has a good position. My grandfather had his own position in my heart.
'Thatha' - that is how I used to call him. He is my role model. What I behave now is the reflection of how he lived. Whether it be the swearing off my wife with uttermost anger, when she is adamant about her ways or the lazy drive I have in my life, it is his characteristics. He had histrionics talents, he used to play tennis. These I don't have. I've not noticed these traits when he lived with me. These he had when he was young. He was born in the year 1900. He lived up to 82 years.
'Patti' left this world during the month of April 1989. This is the month. The date may be 4th April A chunk of 28 years has been swallowed. How do I put it? My intention is to say that 28 years has gone into oblivion. She lived without grandfather for 7 years. To remember the good in this entry, I record that she stayed with us in Hubbali for three months. We had the privilege of serving her. I remember she saying that she will not come to Hubbali again. So planned and staying in her circumstances. My dear patti.
Patti's meal is the meal for me. After Patti's absence, my wife's meal is the meal for me. The little culinary things I know is learned from Patti's.
She will drape her body with single 9 yards saree. She will be around 5.2 feet tall. I remember to have seen her only in gray hair.
She has pampered me by preparing whatever dishes I ask her.
She will tell stories. She will tell her story.
Patti stayed at 'Thanushkodi' and 'Rameshwaram'
She also stayed at Palaghat and Coimbatore.
She learned to prepare 'Avakkai' when she stayed at Vijayawada. (Basavada)
Each one has a sad story. Sad very sad.
My grandmother used to tell me her stories, How she lived in Thanishkodi and Rameswaram.
She will also tell me about her movement to Palaghat.
She got married at the age of 11.
She delivered her first baby, may be at the age of 16 or 17.
The first baby was a female. She told me that they named her 'Janaki'. She was happy to tell that the child was very smart.
She will sadly tell that Janaki lived in this world only for two years.
Sad...the human beings..sad.
As we live in this world, we learn that life is a tragedy.
Why at all we come to this world and leave the world?
My grand parents have come and gone.
In the earlier days, they were my world.
Grandmother used to tell me that they had two more issues, who did not live to the age of one.
When she delivered the next male child, she threw him to the garbage (Kuppai) and pierced his nose, so that he will live long.
He, my maternal uncle lived up to the age of 74.
His nick name was "Kuppu"
That was the time when the stoves were fueled using kerosene oil. My patti used firewood, charcoal stoves also. She used LPG cylinder later in her life.
Without laziness she will cook with all interest.
The idlies, the pongal, the vegetable curries.
I am really thankful eating the meals cooked by her.
She was the mother of 9 children.
She lost her grown up sons - one aged about 25years and another aged 40 years.
Really sad and sometimes my pity on her is so tragic that I get tears in my eyes.
Dear Patti, thinking about you I lead.
The last entry ended with the word 'lead' I think the sentence did not complete.
I lead my life thinking about my thatha and pati.
Thatha lived with us for 18 years. Right from my first standard to coming up to the earning stage.
Pati lived with us for 25 years, but at the last stage of her life, she was alone and had to move to her son Kuppu's place where she died.
I did not have the fortune of being with my Pati in her last moment. I could go to the grave yard to see her remains.
Thatha used to walk well. He will walk to any distance without getting tired. From the age of 64 to 82 he walked well.
It is not scheduled walks which people do for health. This sort of walk is conscious walk, telling the mind to keep the body healthy. Setting a time like morning or evening to walk.
My grandfather's walk were purposeful walks. Going to market - walk. Don't get a bus? Walk.
He earned till his death. Of course he also used to get pension - he will go to the treasury to draw pension every month.
Thatha used to work in a milk Society at Ulsoor where we lived for six years. When attempting to write something the time and the years are counted. The mind tells to do this when some thoughts are to be given written shape?
The society was nearer to our home and Thatha used to walk to this work place.
We moved to a farther place in 1969 and Grandpa had to commute to his work place using the city buses.
He did that very nicely, catching two buses.
I remember those days, when we anxiously await his return from work.
Grand ma, my sisters and me used to wait anxiously for my grandfather's return from his work.
It will be dark by the time he returns from work.
As I write this the picture of my grandma and my sisters in their younger days come to me. I remember sitting at the balcony of our Wilsongarden PWD quarters which had a specially designed middle portion near the staircase.
At the end of the 8th cross, when we sight grandpa, it will be a sigh of relief.
Grand pa used to wear white Veshti and white shirt.
Dear Grandpa, love you.
Grand pa used to tell: "I will die, with whatever cash is there in my pocket. I will not earn much. An astrologer has told me that I will meet with certain accidents. If I survive that, I will live long"
It was true, Grandpa died with only what cash he had. He did not make any property.
He met with two accidents. A bike fellow hit him when he crossed from 8th cross at H.Siddiah Road. He suffered some leg injury for some time.
Once, when the bus he traveled suddenly stopped,he had a severe jaw injury.
That day I remember vividly. We were waiting for Thatha's arrival from work. It was past 8 pm. He should have arrived by now.
Two youngsters came home.
They were carrying some edibles packed in news paper.
Thatha used to bring some edibles whenever he returned from work.
There was 'pokada' in that packet.
The young chaps told that the driver of the bus in which they traveled had to apply sudden brake and my thatha got some injury.
We all were worried.
We ran to Bowring hospital.
There, we could see our stoic thatha with his jaw dressed.
When 'thatha' died the milk society people gave Rs 300/- (year 1982) This was done on the prompt given by my relative who took me around on that day Grand father died, to inform people about his death.
The money was sufficient to carry out grandpa's funeral expenses.
We put some money into his shirt pocket. (he used to say my money will be what I have in my pocket), The shirt was removed by people, when his body was sent inside the furnace.
We also put along a deck of playing cards. Grand pa to play 'Sorter'
Grand pa used to play the game of 'sorter' using playing cards. He used to call it by that name. The game is called 'patience' and 'solitaire'
Untiringly he will play that game.
Thatha, was taken in the hearse van, I showed him the 'Wilsongarden Police station' where he used to stand for catching a bus.
That was my grand pa: 1) He read the middles in Deccan Herald. 2) He cut vegetables 3) He played solitaire 4) He brought snacks when he came home. 5) He reclined in his easy chair 5) He had a stock of English poems.
Grandpa walked on this earth 35 years back. He was a good walker. My grandma used to say that he had cycled from Palaghat to Coimbatore.
My grandfather had a stock of English poems which was embedded in his mind. He used to recite them.
1) The Psalm of life
2) Inch-cape rock.
3) The solitary reaper
4) The solitude
7) John Gilpin
He used to tell us to by heart these poems. My sister could by heart the Lochinvar poem. I could not by heart any of the poems. I remember the meaning and life guidance in them.
The 'solitary reaper' I understand more of the poem dear 'Thatha' now. She is solitary,when she cuts the grain (reaping), she sings.
"The music in my heart I bore/Long after it was heard no more'
Thatha, the long passages I cannot by heart. I cannot keep in my memory the mantras and the poems you kept in your heart.
However, I get the feelings.
The small work we have to do.
Doing the work with singing.
The message will be borne in mind, though I cannot sing or hear the song- no more.
Patti sitting holding my daughter in her lap is a nice picture I remember. May be the photo was clicked in the year 1986 or 1987.
Patti is wearing a dark blue nine yard sari. My daughter cosily enjoying the warmth of her great grand ma.
It is a nice feel to look at this picture.
My grandma lived 28 years back in this world.
She carried her great grand daughter. She bathed my daughter.
Grand ma in heavens, please bless her. Also bless your daughter, who is my mother.
Let my mother also become a great grand mother soon.
There, another picture. Thatha and Patti together. I pray before that when I am deeply down, when my wife or anybody cannot help me.
In this black and white picture, my grandma is in nine yard sari (as always) and thatha in nine yard veshti donned with five folds. Pancha kachcham.
Wearing the veshti with five folds is the thing I want to learn soon.
Thatha I pray for that. Patti I pray for that.
Thatha is in grand self in that picture wearing striped vibuthi and chandan very grandly.
Patti in Kosam pudavai always. Thatha five folds occasionally.
Grand was 57 year old when she came to Bengaluru.
A girl born in Thanushkodi, going to Palghat, OOty, Madurai, Vijayawada and Coimbatore as wife and mother had to come to Bengaluru at the age of 57.
This was necessitated because of the tragedy that stuck her daughter. The daughter who was born after four sons in succession. Grand ma telling her story would tell that her daughter was born after reciting Lalitha Sahasranamam by her. Grand mother named her Lalitha.
Indeed it is a great saga of Patti to be of help to her daughter for 25 years.
My wife recites slokas to God. She does it very keenly. She will rush to Temples with love.
My mother did not do as much of going to temple or reciting mantras or slokas. My mother also did not show much interest in decorating the entrance of the home with kolam.
My purpose here is to say that my Grand mother was very much interested in going to temples and uttering slokas.
At the age of 57 plus she by rote could tell vishnu sahasranamam and the Govinda song in praise of Lord Balaji.
I should describe grandma's temple visits.
Marghazhili month - the Tamil month begins somewhere mid December and ends mid January with the arrival the Tamil month 'Thai'. Around 14th of January.
It will be very cold during this period.
With deep devotion Grand ma will bathe.
The 9 yard saree will be changed to to another robe - a shorter thin towel like cloth for the purpose of bath.
The nine yard saree is worn without any inner garment.
She will finish this bathing chore in a jiffy even before we get up.
She will visit Perumal temple and Someshwara temple and bring us Pongal Prasadam.
On some holidays, I venture to be at home just wearing my veshti. Just veshti and no undergarments and vest. It is free. The next day there is no undergarment to wash.
My thatha used to wear only the Veshti and white shirt with no underwear. When bathing, I think he used to bathe with the veshti on and sometimes he used to wear a loin cloth.
Grandma also the nine yard saree with no undergarments.
It is simple. No extra clothes to take care of or worry about washing.
But the long saree and dhothi are difficult to wash.
Dear Grand pa,
I remember that smile. That smile when you uttered those words:
"Yes, when you have entered the world, you would have tasted cigarette and alcohol"
It is true Grand dad, I tasted these things.
Grand pa knew the world. He knew about the youngsters. (Grand pa was away from these vices.)
(He also knew that youngsters in this world taste these things)
I also remember the words when you told not to be cross with my mother. You said "let her tell those things" You smile and tell her something which will be pleasant. Grandpa.
Grand pa used to call my mother "Jaynthi" I do not know for what reason.
Grand pa accepted his children as they are.
He accepted his grand children as they are.
This is how life should be.
Who are we to give advises to them? Who are we to guide their destiny?
He accepted my mother as she is. I realise his down to earth mind when he took my mother to the concern to accept the compassionate ground appointment given by the State Government transport concern where my father worked.
It is "act, act in the living present" - Great!
Thatha came to Bengaluru when his age was 64. Patti's age was 56. I have heard my patti saying that the age difference between Grandpa and Grandma was 8 years.
They did not celebrate birthdays or wedding anniversary. Their togetherness was around 62 years.
Thatha lived for 18 years in Bengaluru. He made it to see me coming to a job.
Patti lived in Bengaluru for 25 years. She made it to see our marriages. All three of us.
They came. Duties were given to them. By destiny? What do you call that? Destiny?
Fate? Providence? Predestination? Karma? Kismet? Fortune?
How you managed to go through life when it sucked?
You were interested in reading also. You read with interest, the epic 'Ponniyan Selvan' created by Kalki.
You are my inspiration to take life from scratch. Whatever has happened is happened. Let us start life afresh.
Whether you know or not you started your life afresh at the age of 57 to bring your daughter's family up.
You won. I am here to record this.
Now, I am 58 and know that life can be meaningful, in spite of all failures that can be made successful. Patti.
Dear Patti and Thatha,
You lead a meaningful life. Everybody does. To each and everyone his life is the best.
Patti, you loved to the epic 'Ponniyan Selvan' created by Kalki.
You also were very fond of 'Vandiyadeven' whose life is chronicled with all the confidence and life's mundane things leading to one another good things, may be to good things also.
Patti, I remember your good self when you said that you were enjoying the epic when read by your son Sreenivasan.
Thatha, your poems are of great inspiration to me.
Thatha and Patti.....I lead life....
The Tip Jar