Saturday, December 7, 2013

Periyappa and Periyamma

Even before I could become a mother, am going to be a big mother to my younger sister’s twins. Looking back at the high standards of love and care that my periyappa (mom’s younger sister’s husband’s elder brother via inter-caste marriage) and periyamma (mom’s elder sister) have set, all I can do is pray for them and look upto them.

Periyappa – Annatchi Uncle

He was the pillar of support for the whole family. In the absence of father, he educated all his brothers and sisters like a dad would do. He got all his sisters married off, to good grooms; guided all his younger brothers on proper careers and got them well settled as well. Funded the education of all their kids as well. He was such a great soul. Always with a kind encouraging word, to reach out to the stars, going beyond. Everyone looked up to him. He was a uniting factor amongst fighting brothers and sisters. In his presence, everyone would be reassured and be in love, peace and harmony.

In early cognizant days, I would reach home late, and rush to office early, without making the bed. Thanks to his words, I learnt the importance of keeping things neat and tidy. On Deepavali, I would typically make spicy vegetable pulav at home, but he would begin his skanda shasti vratham, thanks to him, I followed his foot steps of fasting on fruits till shasti.

When I told him about my iimb interview, especially considering how hopeless I was after the interview, he told me, you will definitely get into b, and I did. He would encourage my numerology programming in C. He would come down to the level of each person and talk their language and encourage them. He would mail me random stuff, from beauty tips to tying scarves.

The only time, I would contact him, was for his birthday on December 16th. It was only on Thursday morning, when I had already kept my trolley in the cloak room, that I learnt, that he had passed away on Wednesday around 10:30 am due to heart attack. His two sons were flying from US and so he was kept in icebox. Mom was staying all alone, and so, I didn’t want to skip the trip back to Trichy, especially after booking tickets in Mayiladuthurai express two months in advance.

At Kannali, I bought oranges, at carmelaram railyway station, I bought vegetables. Trolley and bag was quite heavy now. I called up my Gemini lagna-Anusham mentor and told him, that I was like a cat on the wall, mom or periyappa. He said, you must go and meet Periyappa, and then I retraced my path to watertank, where I boarded a Chennai bus. Reached periyappa’s apartment in Keelkatalai. Realized, never to buy an apartment in Chennai, where there were no trees around. The wind, was so strong, that I had to hold on to something.

Wish there were residential areas, with plenty of trees, not blocking sunlight to maindoor and kitchen, with abundant shade, yet good ventilation. Is there a way to get plenty of sunlight inside house, without being too windy? In Bangalore, I face the same problem of strong winds in the 5th floor, without any trees around.

Periyappa in Ice Box

I just sat in silence, trying hard not to let that tear drop fall. All others around me, cried aloud, inconsolably. Didn’t know what to say. He had been icebox for quite sometime, so I could not see his hands. Guess, I will forget testing Cheiro’s words on palm lines of dead disappearing. The first thing, that mom asked me was - so you travelled all the way to see the hand right? I told her, no, he was a great soul, wanted to meet him physically one last time; and since I had gone, palm lines were secondary, immaterial now in fact.

The poojaris recited thiruvasagam, and did abhishekams with curd, milk, tendercoconut, turmeric, honey, like they do for a God’s idol. They wrapped him in silk dhoti and upper cloth, smeared fragrant sandalwood, javaadh, camphor and took him away in ambulance with the mud pot for cremation. 4 hours went by in a jiffy, watching all the rites and rituals. After the ambulance went off, I went inside the room, picked my trolley and laptop bag and came out without telling a word to any soul. It was past 6 pm, when I reached home in Trichy. Took bath and collapsed with wet hair. Alls well, that ends well. Annatchi uncle was quite tall, both physically and morally. Great man he was full of love and kindness, providing for everyone around him, going beyond the family! Should live like him.

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