Tuesday, May 26, 2015

My aunt Theyamma



This is the first time I drove down the “theera desham” road. The road connecting Cochin and Alepuzha via the beach.  A wonderful road with absolutely no traffic. I just took in the scenery and had a pit stop at the Mararikulam beach.  


I couldn’t stay for long as the clouds were getting darker and darker and was threatening to come down any time.  


I was on my way to attend a funeral which was scheduled the next day. The funeral of someone who was very close to me.   
Some people come and go in your life, leaving a lasting impression, and you carry on with the memories of that person. One such person is Kama.
Some lovingly called her Kama but to me she was Theyamma aunty.  She was very hard working but still found time to take care of your smallest needs. She never minced words nor spoke diplomatically but always said the right things at the right time. 
I remember her being firm in her dealings especially with the trespassers who used to trespass our property (as a short cut) to go to Dr Madhavankutty’s house. At that time we just had a pattal veli (fence) with no gate and it was easy for people to walk through. Now of course the same property has a huge gate at the same place.  



With an equally huge house 


Which was something like this earlier:



And before the greenery came it was something like this in black and white.


Somewhere in 1967 we did “shramadaan” and converted our “Thodu” into a “chennkal road” It was a fun project as the people staying in the area constituted the “manpower” Lillykutty aunty and Theyamma aunty were a part of it, including me, Soman, Venu and Indira (my local friends) Now of course it’s a tarred road: 


Incidentally the shop that you see on the right was the dispensary of Dr Madhavankutty, and adjacent to it was the “meeshakaran” tailor.
Every moment that I spend in that house consists of memories of her.
I remember the time when the calf in our house was sold off to the butcher for Rs 500/- (the practice was that if the calf is a bull, it was sold off)  My aunt got so attached to the calf within a month that there were tears in her eyes when the butcher took it away.
To save money, she used to go to the fields near Pallathuruthy to cut grass and bring it home as fodder for the cows. Now this bale of grass was huge (something like 6 ft in diameter) I used to always wonder how she could carry such a huge load on her head when her frame was less than 5 feet (she was the shortest in the house)  
I remember her telling me “athu madhi, ini melilottu keranda” (that is enough don’t climb anymore) This was when I was trying to climb this coconut tree.


She was always around with a helping hand (and some advice) when we were putting up the “Thoru” (hay stacked up in a particular way for the rainy season)


Or when we were tying up the new roof for the “extended store room”


Her memory was something that baffled everyone. Whenever we visited her at Thiruvella, she used to come up with some old stories or incident with the finest details, like how in 1965 my Dad came from Byculla to Bombay Central and broke the news about grandfather’s death. Before he said that he took the infant that she was holding. That infant was Titus.
She had perfect information of all the relatives and would tell me all details about my cousins, whether they are in Ireland or America or any part of the world.


Whenever we went to Kerala, all of us made it a point to visit her:










During her last rites, there was a priest who spoke a few words about her and I realised that he knew her well during her stay there. 



After the ceremony, I went and met this priest and had a chat with him. He said that she was known as the “Praav Ammachi” (mother of pigeons) as she used to feed them regularly. She had even named each one like chikko, moni, pippi etc. and they used to respond to her call and come close to her. She was friendly with all the dogs too. The priest said “how much love you give to others, whether its animals or humans, you get back in same measure”
He said, “usually when people get old and is on their last leg of life, they become aggressive and irritated, but she was not like that”

  




It is just an irony that her final resting place is overlooking this lush greenery right next to the river.

 
The next time I pass this bridge at Thiruvella, I have to just look up to see our Theyamma aunty (kama) 




32 comments:

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari Om
Blessed condolences for the loss of your aunty; what fond and loving memories - thank you for sharing something so dear. YAM xx

Wsprsweetly Of Cottages said...

I..don't know what to say. First, my condolences for your loss. I recently lost my favorite Aunty Waunita, my mother's sister, and she left a hole in my life. I think of her often and I miss her. When I lost my husband, she was right there with me and didn't leave my side. I loved her very much just as you loved your Aunt.
Thank you so much for stopping by my blog and taking the time to comment. My blog isn't very special..but I love doing it and now and then I am honored by a visitor from far away and it never fails to amaze and delight me. Your visit was a lovely end to this day.
Mona

Weekend-Windup said...

Sad for the loss. Sweet memories of the pictures...

CelestinaMarie@SouthernDayDreams said...

Beautiful post to honor such a special lady. With sympathy for your loss.
CM

KParthasarathi said...

It was a touching post and a nice tribute to the old lady.True,there are some who come in our lives and leave a lasting impression.

Valerie-Jael said...

Great story and photos! Valerie

Augustine Xavier said...

Dear Joe, lovely tribute to Theyamma aunty (kama) . My condolences to you and your family. Loved reading every detail you mentioned. Remembered my grandmothers words " If you ever want to do anything nice to a person - do it when they are alive". I have treasured all her love and teachings and live it in my life. Thanks for making blog about Theyamma aunty (kama) so special. Praying to God to receive this angel in his home in heaven.

Cynthia said...

I'm so sorry you lost your beloved aunty. What a wonderful tribute you have written to her. And what wonderful memories you will carry all of your life.

Geets said...

This post is really touching.. May her soul rest in peace..

Christine said...

What wonderful memories you have shared with us, may your aunt rest in peace. And that is a beautiful beach.

Sandee said...

I'm so very sorry for your loss. It's hard to lose those you love. Very hard.

Have a blessed day. ☺

Lisa @ Two Bears Farm said...

Sorry for your loss. Your pictures are really beautiful.

Beverly Stowe McClure said...

I'm so sorry for your loss, but you have such beautiful memories. She will live in your heart for always. Gorgeous photography. Thanks for sharing with us. Blessings to you and family.

SweetMarie said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. You have a beautiful way of sharing your love for her. The story of the calf is so touching, she had a kind heart. I believe you can tell a lot about a person by how they treat animals. She resembles my son's Pediatrician. Lovely memories along with wonderful photos. May she rest in peace.

Linda said...

This is such a beautiful and heartwarming post that has touched me deeply. I am very sorry for your loss. Thank you so much for sharing this, I can see this person was deeply close to you and will be sadly missed. God be with you and may she rest in peace.

Umamaheswari Anandane said...

A touching and heart warming post. A tribute written with lots of memories and images of your aunt. May she rest in peace.

Gail said...

What a wonderful tribute to a special person in your life. As long as the memories live, she will live within you.

ilakshee said...

A beautiful tribute through memories...May she rest in peace.

Sandra said...

my condolences on the loss of your precious aunty.. i love my aunt like a 2nd mother. so many wonderful memories you have here. thanks for visiting my post today

Betty said...

Hi Haddock I haven't been over to your blog for some time, very sorry that you have to adjust to the loss of this very special lady, it was really a beautiful tribute to her and an interesting post. Blessings. Betty

A Cuban In London said...

Stunning views of that beach, even with that dramatic sky. By the way, I love dramatic skies. Thanks. :-)

Greetings from London.

Jenn said...

Breathtaking pictures of the beach. Now I want to go to the beach even more!

Jenn
The Pink Lemonade Girl

Shivani Saini said...

Awesome pics... and a very heart touching story... May her soul rest in peace...

Ann Thompson said...

The beach looks so nice. I would love to be sitting on one right now but not with all those storm clouds :)

Antonina said...

Thanks for sharing these touching memories. Your autn sounds like a very special person. Unexpectedly, it made me think what my nephew will have to say about me when the time comes.

jo(e) said...

What a lovely tribute.

walk2write said...

Family is so important to one's development in life. You were very fortunate to have such a wonderful aunt to love and guide you.

walk2write said...

Family is so important to one's development in life. You were very fortunate to have such a wonderful aunt to love and guide you.

Julia Thorley said...

This is beautiful. I'm intrigued by the photos taken of your ceremony for your aunt - not something we'd do in England. I remember that my father was asked to take pictures of an aunt's funeral because her daughter (my cousin) was in America and couldn't get to England in time for the ceremony). He did it, reluctantly, and got some very odd looks from the mourners.

blogoratti said...

Great photos indeed!

Haddock said...

Agree with you on that Julia. I too don't agree with taking photographs during a funeral, and if you see the pictures I have avoided the face. But all said and done, its a big thing in India, and they usually call a professional photographer during a funeral !!

Phani said...

Your blogs are timeless!, happy that i could open this one attracted by the blurb : “usually when people get old and is on their last leg of life, they become aggressive and irritated, but she was not like that”
- Today I look at my parents (both are 80+ ) and realize the great truth in the statement made by the priest. She was a great women, your Theyamma !