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June 06, 2019

Pattamma. (1916 - 2019)

My dearest grandmother (Pattamma to me) passed away last week at the over ripe age of 103. We were all expecting this. Actually praying for it. But when my mom sent this news at 7.22 am on a Wednesday morning, the world stopped spinning for a moment. I could nt talk. And I broke down and bawled like a baby. Well, I have always been a baby for her. My grandpa who I was extremely close to, passed away 20 years back and Pattamma never really fully recovered from his loss. With 6 daughters and 4 sons and dozens of grand kids and great grand kids and half a dozen great great grand kids, its an understatement to say that she lived a full life. And here I cant seem to manage two kids! I am so happy Ashu and Antu spent quite some time with her and knew her and will remember her. Ashu has played many a pallankuzhi games with her, helped her to scrape coconut, interviewed her for her school project (Pattamma had a pet green parrot growing up and it talked and repeated her mothers scoldings!) and has generally been around her more than Antu. Pattamma was smitten by Antu from the first time she saw her and like me, she was babied by her a lot. 

Pattamma was fit and healthy well into her 90s helping my parents around the house, washing her own clothes and climbing the stairs. But around 5 years back, she slipped on a step and broke her hip and everything went downhill from there. With every visit, I could see she was suffering more and more. Being bed ridden, being fed, having to wear a nightie instead of a saree, being helped by the nurse to take a shower, having to use diapers, .. everything was a torture for her. And she hated being a burden to her children especially to my parents and my uncle/aunt who took care of her between them. And when she turned 100, it was party time! All her 10 kids under one roof and all she wished was the sweet release of death. The last three years, that's all she thought about. "Naan eppo poven dee?", she will ask me and I would say I will pray for you, Pattamma. She was of sound mind and could see, hear and talk quite well until the very end. The last two years when we visited her, Antu would sing the carnatic songs she is learning and she enjoyed listening to her. Only 6 weeks back, Antu sang "vara veena" to her and Pattamma was mouthing the swarams and the lyrics along with her and her right hand was automatically tapping to the beat. It moved me to tears. The way our brain works is just amazing, no? 

I will miss her kind voice the most. The way she said "Take care of yourself" and "Take extra care of the kids" (Nee udamba paathuko. Kuzhandhela jaakradhaya paathuko). You knew she meant it. They were nt just hollow words. Only a grand parent can give you that kind of unconditional love. "Be kind to the kids. Talk to them kindly. They are good kids. Be patient" she repeated this to me every time we met! Its another story that I never listened!  A couple of years ago when she was talking to me and was complaining why God would nt take her away, I had a brilliant idea! "Why don't I take this pillow and smother you and kill you Pattamma? Do you want me to do it? Just nod your head and I will do it", I told her! Yes, we had that kind of relationship! Her reply is still echoing in my ears - "andha paavam unakku edhukku dee ma?" (I would nt want that sin in your hands!) I don't think I can love anyone like that ever in my life.

I love you very dearly Pattamma. And will remember you always. Your food. Your kindness. Our conversations. Your warmth. You suffered a lot in the final years and that broke my heart. If I could do one thing, I would like to see you now and tell you "You are gone, Pattamma. You have passed away. You got what you wanted. God did take you with him" and would like to see you smile one final time. "Neenga poitel, Pattamma."


7 comments:

Me said...

Sorry to hear about your loss Boo.

ashok said...

Sorry to hear Boo. May her soul RIP.

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