My grandma, Mangalamma, gave me a bath as my mom, Aarti, was busy in the kitchen cooking for the festival. Mangalam was known for her madi, which means cleanliness in and around you in Kannada, which she always used to follow. I can give you very many examples for the same, if after bath before going to the pooja room, even if anyone of family members would speak to her, she would go running to the bathroom and come out clean. We had tied a separate rope for her clothes as it would be too many to put to dry on any single day. Sometimes, our grandchildren used to play prank on her by touching her immediately after she used to take a bath, and then we would enjoy the way she used to get angry with us. Thank God we had a big well at home full of water with a separate rope tied for my grandmother. Even if she could get to see a dead ant floating in the water, she would discard it, that madi, she used to maintain.
My father, Sreedhara, was multitasking, busy chanting mantras, doing pooja, scolding us kids for roaming around the house, and at the same time, asking my mother to hurry up for the prasadam (a sweet delicacy offered to God in South India). He secretly took out the lottery ticket, which he had kept behind God's photo, and touched it to his forehead.
"Cheeee, go away, you untouchable!!", my father came running to see what had happened. My grandmother stopped him at the door. Our of rage, she scolded Ramu, the boy who was believed to be from a lower caste, to go away from our compound. Poor thing, he went away, with an empty vessel, and a sad face. He had come to collect sweet water from our well, to which my grandmother objected very badly. Meanwhile, my father bought a vessel of water and my mother poured it on my grandmother. I saw her enter from the back door. After everyone had a sumptuous dinner, my mother cleared the kitchen and gave the pounded betel leaves and areca nut paste to my grandmother and took me to the room.
The next day, I had to accompany my grandmother to a relative's house. On the way, I saw Ramu playing with his friends. He had hit the ball, which came and fell near my feet. He hesitantly came towards me and looked at my grandmother, who pulled me away from him and walked away with a stern face. I looked back at him, but he was least bothered, immersed in playtime. We reached our relative's house, where I enjoyed watching color TV since at our house we had black and white TV. I munched on the snacks that aunty had given me and didn't know how time flew. My grandmother, Mangalamma, and I left their house with a lot of goodies in the bag.
We could see a small crowd near Ramu's house. As we approached his house, they had kept a dead body that belonged to Ramu's father. Ramu was crying loudly. I was thinking about how happy he was playing a few hours back in contrast to his crying badly now. My grandmother took another short cut and both of us entered from the back door and took a bath. My grandmother was cursing Ramu and his dead father unnecessarily.
My father, Sridhar, entered the house with a newspaper in his hand. He immediately freshened himself up and took out the lottery ticket that he had kept behind God's photo. He sat on the floor and spread the newspaper in one hand and a lottery ticket in the other. He was pointing out at the lottery ticket numbers. He read out loudly AD5674321 twice. He told me to get his specs. He was overjoyed and yelled at the top of his voice, on hearing which my grandmother came towards him accompanied by my mother. He lifted me in his arms and told me "my dear child, you are lucky, I have won the lottery prize amount of 1 lakh rupees, now you will get a color TV to watch at home only, don't go to neighbor's house now." Saying so, he put me down and took blessings from my grandmother. My mother was happy too. My grandmother told that since he had seen someone who was really lucky on the festival day, Goddess Lakshmi had bestowed upon him with lots of money. I immediately recalled that my father had seen Ramu's face on that day and told my father about it. My grandmother refused to admit it. I then asked her that since Ramu had seen her face today while playing, had he not lost his father, that means she was unlucky to Ramu. My mother scolded me for answering back and took me inside the room.
In the morning when I woke up, I went to the backyard to fetch water from the well and to the shock of my life, saw Ramu was helping my grandmother to draw water from the well. What a transformation it was in my grandmother, Mangalamma, who had become true to her name, bringing prosperity and success to people around her. Where did all the madi vanish? when I had heard her telling him to have breakfast and go...