Ammalu is always right

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‘Ammalu, if the couple stay separate for a few days, their intimacy will increase it seems’

‘Aren’t we intimate enough now?’

‘We are, of course. But it will increase, it seems’

‘Don’t you think that more intimacy is injurious for our age?’

‘Yes, I do.’

‘Then, why did you suggest?’

‘I didn’t suggest. I just quoted someone’

‘Ask that someone to see me’

‘Ammalu, it was our Ammini. How can I ask her to meet you for this purpose?’

‘Now I understood. You went there and blabbered some nonsense trying to develop intimacy with her and she wanted to teach you a lesson’

‘Ammalu, our Ammini–‘

‘She is not our Ammini. She has a husband to claim her as his.. Now on, you won’t go out of our gate without my permission’

‘So, the idea of staying separate is given a go by?’

‘No” I’m going to my mother . You will be alone here. Let me see which of your ‘own’ people come and feed you’

Current century’s theory

A day of chats, it looks today.

‘Mama, namaskaram, aaseervaadam pannunkol’

‘Namaskaram, deerghasumangali bhava’

‘How do you know that I’m a sumangali?’

‘You called me ‘mAma’ ; so you should be a ‘mAmi’

‘If I’m unmarried?’

‘Still my blessings hold’

‘If I don’t want to marry?’

‘Still my blessings hold. Mangalam is auspiciousness. You will have it for long’

‘I’m your FB friend mama’

‘I know that. That was how you could chat with me’

‘I’m not like your other friends’

‘I know that too’

‘How, how?’

‘No one has told me what you said just now. So, you are different from others’

‘Thanks, uncle’

‘From mama to uncle?’

‘Yes, you don’t seems to be as old as I thought . Can I ask you something?!

‘Please go ahead, madam’

‘Mami to madam?!

‘You seems to be the daughter and not a mother. Go ahead with your question’

‘Thanks again. Are you really a bad character as you depict about about yourself?’

‘When did I do that ?’

‘Mostly. Your stories, poses with wine bottles, your jokes’

‘You consider those bad?’

‘Not bad, but I don’t like those’

‘If those are bad, I’m bad’

‘But you don’t look that bad’

‘I’m not that bad’

‘So you are not very good too?’

‘What is very good?’

‘Look like an elderly Brahmin, spiritual, matured, deal with topics which usualły people of your age talk about etc, etc’

‘I don’t have that elderly, matured, scholarly, spiritual look?’

‘No says my husband. He doesn’t like you’

‘I know that’

‘How do you know? He hasn’t told that to anyone except me! How did you come to know about it? Are you really the Mahamuni of Baltimore?’

‘Your husband is talking to me on phone’

‘Please, please don’t tell him that I told you about his dislike for you’

‘No need. He has told me his opinion about me’

‘What is that?’

‘I have a matured, spiritual, scholarly look!’

‘But, he told a lie to me?’

‘Don’t get emotional. All husbands tell one or two lies to their sweet hearts everyday’

‘You too?’

‘Pappa, I’m like any other man!’

‘Pappa!’

‘You seems to be ignorant of the basic knowledge a wife should possess’

‘Who is the best wife, according to you, mama?’

‘The woman who loves her husband best’

‘And no other qualities?’

‘All other qualities will automatically come. If a married couple love, sincerely love each other, all other attributes will automatically join them. Deficiency if any, will vanish or will be forgiven in due course . Love covers everything’

‘You talk like a saintly, matured, scholarly person. But shall I tell you one thing: your thinking is outdated. How can a woman love her husband if he is a good- for- nothing man? And how can love be unconditional? How can love cover deep deficiencies ?
Be reasonable uncle. You belong to two centuries behind in thinking and four centuries behind in your looks ‘

‘So, poor score for me?’

‘No, you are good for a chat till the cooker whistles thrice’

‘Your cooker has done its job?’

‘That is my husband’s look out . He does my entire kitchen work’

‘And you love him, sincerely?

‘I love him madly. The husband knowing cooking is free from any deficiencies ‘

‘That is the current century’s theory ?’

‘Of course. Bye. Gd dy oldie!’

Women are the best

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‘Three months ago, how Meghana neatly organized my home which was a symbol of chaos, confusion! How did I manage to bring back the disorder so fast?’

These were my thoughts when I looked at the window from my bed, this morning.
Men, I can tell you, are expert in bringing disorder to their homes . One exception, my eldest son, Sharath. Generally my children have inherited an orderly way of living from their mother, but Sharath stands apart and from them and above,. It won’t be an exaggeration if I tell you that even Megh learns from him to keep things in order, to maintain life in order. I too could have learned, but I didn’t as I’m what I am and won’t change to better.

I can tell you one more important thing. You should have a wife for having children!⚽️And also for bringing them up. I’m not joking. Hadn’t I had one, I could have, with my tapobhalam, spiritual powers, created kids but would not have been successful in bringing them up as they have turned out to be now. Women are the best in bringing up kids. Women are the best to help you to have children of whom you will be proud of- unless of course you are a tapaswi like me!

——

No problem?

 

Hyderabad winter has a warmth in its approach, unlike the Baltimore or New Jersey counter part. She slides her sofut hand through my chin; doesn’t strangulate me. She whispers, doesn’t yell; She sings love songs, not beat war drums.

Madhavi’s parents had invited for Rudrabhishekam in their house. I forgot the engagement. It was 9,30 am when I got up this morning. I did get up twice before but thought why get up so early. In the morning hours, it is a pleasure in remaining on the bed, pushing head into the gap of two or three pillows soft, silky. I was like that during my early days. History repeats, not sure in other cases, but sure in late getting up in the morning hours.

Mohana’s reminder on landline . ‘Called you several time, your mobile is not working?’ Hurried to pick it up. Oh, no. No charge in the mobile. Had kept for charging last night, but the charger failed me. No problem. Haven’t I all these years lived without a mobile? Where is my electric shaver ? Oh, no charge in it too. No problem. Looked for the razor. No trace. No problem . No harm if participated in the Japam with hairs on the face. Rushed to bathroom, poured a dozen mugs of water over head, no soap , no cheekai powder. Have been using those daily. No damage, if skipped a day. The lessons on Crisis Management learned long ago, came to mind and I applied the theories fast. But was a total failure with Vicha. No problem. He will improve in due course. There is plenty of time. He is only 78.

Kept some rice and vegetables for Vicha in a hurry on the stove and wanted to ask him to switch off the cooker after three whistles. But where is he?

Vicha had sneaked into the ‘restroom’. While in India, for me, it is a bath cum toilet, for him it is a real ‘restroom’! The moment he enters in, switches on the heater as he needs hot water for washing too, even for a small, localized wash. Then he sits on the pot and starts singing Pattanathar or Masthan Sahib. In his peak days, he used to sing Kathakali songs too but not now. While singing K.songs, one has to move his head and limbs which is against my brother’s habits nowadays.

I knocked the door. No response. Again and again I knocked. Later he told me that he mistook my knocks for the batting sound from the front where kids were playing cricket on the street. I could hear his clapping, presumably to encourage a boy who knocked a sixer.

Rudrabhishekam would have commenced.

‘Viswanatha!’
I called. God is great. ‘Deivam manushyaroopena’, they say. Hyderabad Viswanathan opened the door and enquired, ‘you called me Anna?’

‘No, why?’

He said something but I could not hear. My hearing aid battery was dead.. No problem. I have a box full packed by Megh. But, where is my goggle ? How to search for the batteries? I lifted my right hand to my eyes and found the area blank. No problem. I can follow the lip movement of vadhyar and follow him. But, what happened to the pressure cooker? The three whistles would have come out during the past few seconds when I pulled down the door of my aid for recharge. I rushed to the kitchen. I had not lighted the stove! . No problem.

Phone rings. . Thought it was from my cousin Cartoonist Ramki with whom I was earlier discussing about a character’s sketch and replied hurriedly, ‘I like her back more than her front’

I kept down the phone.

The phone rang again.

Now, I could hear the voice from the other end as the battery, when reconnected worked. It will be active for a few more seconds.
The Call was from Mohana!

‘Anna, while I’m waiting for you here, you are telling me about your birthday wishes!
I will call every one in USA and inform about your preference!’

Now there is a problem, a real problem.

My eightieth birthday musing

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Twenty long years just rolled by like twenty days! Today is Vrichikam ( Karthikai) Hastham and on this day two decades ago, when my children were all small, their mother was with us and my siblings, their partners, my nephews, nieces all joined at Anantha Jyothy and we had a big celebration here in this hall. I stand there alone today. Many scenes of the past two decades passes through my mind. Many good things, some bad things too happened in my life and good events pushed to a corner the bad events, though could not bury those for ever. It gives me anyway, solace to see that I’m alive and kicking, kicking at times too fast, for my age! . Overall, things are not bad, in fact they are very good, considering the sharp punches and pinches dents and cracks inflicted by the Time. I can talk coherently, walk without losing steps, recall and reproduce what I’m told, eat without any external help and do many things on my own, all great gifts. My children are kind, courteous and caring and more importantly their life partners too. There can’t be a better celebration than that. Let me celebrate these silently, my children’s support, my body’s support, my mind’s support and above all God’s support.

Let it continue Baghavan, let it’