This one is for my dear maternal granny, whom I call Amooma. I just realized that it's been ages since I gave her a call and I know that she must be thinking about me back home. At the sudden recognition of the fact, I took a trip down memory lane, thinking about all the times I shared with Amooma.
As an eager 10 year old, I vaguely remember helping her out in the kitchen, when she used to make ellai adas, unniappams and numerous other scrumdiddlyumptious Kerala goodies. Erm, did I mention that helping out meant sampling the snacks? Going back home to Kerala once a year during the summer gave me so much to look forward to!! :)
Amooma, who even today spends most of her time reading the scriptures and chanting prayers, is an expert in answering questions regarding mythology, rituals and other aspects of religion. Talking to her in my slightly awkward Malayalam with specks of Tamil thrown in, I came to learn about the tradition of the "Velichapaddu" in God's own country. The Velichapaddu, literally meaning "Revealer of Light", is a person who acts as a mediator between the villagers and the village deity, which is usually a form of the Goddess. The medium strikes himself/herself on the forehead with a sword and, being possessed by the Goddess, thunders out advice to the villagers. We would spend our time together discussing such issues. She would also give me advice regarding prayers, often in the form of which sloka to recite for each purpose and to each deity.When my parents and I would make our annual pilgrimage to the family shrine , she would come with us too. And each holiday, when it's time for us to leave, her eyes will moisten and she'll promise to pray for me. I have never seen Amooma get angry. She displays a sense of detachment in everything- tears, laughter, disappointment, frustration, everything is surrendered to the One Above. Constantly praying for the welfare of everyone.
For me , Amooma is an embodiment of infinite patience and love. Even writing this piece makes me realize how much I miss her. Thank you Amooma, simply for the miracle of being in my life. I love you always!! :)