Kaveri Amma5 mins 508 5 mins 508
It was the start of the Keralamonsoons and also the start of the new academic year. Muthashan stood at the edge of the road narrowing down from the paddy field near the Kavasseri Devi temple contemplating whether to buy a bun and tea or to save the dime from the nearby tea stall. The paddy fields were full of rainwater and the little blossoms swayed and emanated the sweet fragrance of hot tea and freshly baked buns.
The distance he kept from the tea stall was far from the thought of his 11 children back home. The ¼ anna (25 paise) saved may help them to add the quantity of rice to be purchased from Valiachan’s shop. Though the shop belonged to a cousin of Muthashan, credit was a far choice such that if no money was available it sometimes meant the rice packed at the counter was emptied again to the rice sack. The Kavasseri temple trip was rare one and invited a few dime though with heavy bargain into Muthashan’s pocket just enough to buy a porridge meal for his big family.
Kaveri Amma (Ammuma) had never dined without Achuthan (Muthashan) coming home from the day he tied the nuptial knot with her. Dearth of money was no reason to dearth of love. GOD had showered immense love inside and around them. They had 11 presents from GOD and had brought them too with equal love and affection. It was raining heavily and Kaveri Amma was still waiting for his return and the children were eagerly waiting for the rice to arrive so that they could have their meal together. This was a routine affair
When not driving his taxi which was a rarity as the family could not afford it, he sat on the reclining cloth chair on the huge verandah of their house Jayasree Nilayam. The house was a share from a partition received by his wife Kaveri Amma (Ammuma). The verandah was a good one to accommodate 25-30 people to sit across parapets which stood on 8 pillars. Muthashan (Achuthan) as we call him sat at one end of the verandah and his back faced a window which opened from the dining hall. The entrance had two alleys on either side. The entrance opened to another door which was storeroom and always smelled of pickles, milk powder, chips and an array of eateries in small quantities when we grew up. The right alley had a room on its right side where both Muthashan and Ammuma slept and it opened to the dining hall.
The dining hall had a big wooden table and bench to seat at least 7 grown up men on the table and at least 20 people could sit down and have food. After the dining hall was a large size kitchen and then the bathroom with the well at the far end. The left side of the entrance leads to the place where cows and poultry were kept earlier and it leads to the staircase to the 1st floor which had a room for a family of 4 to sleep. The windows from the dining hall and upper staircase room opened to the backyard which had trees of tamarind, papaya, coffee, mangoes and many others. The 77 cents land had many veggies and spices all grown by Muthashan. Kaizer a german shepherd was tied to the window beside the well which had a pepper tree and some rose bushes with the elephant yam growing at its back.
Both Ammuma and Muthashan had so much love inside them that whatever they planted bore fruit just like the 11 presents in their life. The smiles from both their faces brought a sense of love and joy from a newborn baby to an old aged person. It was routine for Kaveri Amma to wait for Achuthan and have a meal together and then sleep. Recently I saw messages of Mother’s Day being celebrated last Sunday and a recent cousin's marriage and it reminded me that but for Kaveri Amma, we cousins would not be enjoying such a large family and we hardly rely on outside event management teams to entertain us. The affection and respect they had for each other was folklore amongst all the near and dear ones.
We hear so many modern theories on how husband and wife should spend time together, understand each other and all theories I learned from my grandparents that accommodating each other was far more important for a healthy long term relationship. In an era where we read of farmer’s and other borrower’s suicide leaving large families, I wonder what courage Ammumma and Muthashan had when he was looking after such a large family a 3 rd hand taxi at his disposal for the lone source of income.
The impact of that love and respect is indirectly measured. It sounds weird to talk about the power of love. But the truth is, nothing is more powerful, including hate, fear, pain, poverty, ignorance, and loss. People can weather suffering from greater resilience when they believe someone cares about them. What kept them going? What was the binding factor? Though both my Grandparents am sure have not listened to one English song fully, they practiced what the world listened through golden hits.
Then I remember the song from one of my favorite’s……Love will keep us alive…by Eagles….I would die for you..climb the highest mountain …Baby there’s nothing I wouldn’t do..