Ammumma ,as grandkids called her, was soooooo cute and chubby that everyone loved squeezing her cheeks so much.Her sweet smile and her contagious toothless laugh was a sight to die for.It would melt away one's worries.Her actions and reactions reflected out her innocent behaviour that lot of times one had no choice but to sit back and laugh.As an excellent singer ammumma along with my dad had the nack of creating and singing songs based on the situation on hand.It was truly entertaining. She was so dear to us all that we published a book dedicated to her featuring all the songs.
Earlier in life Ammumma had a very short childhood.When today, kids at the age of 12 worry only about their studies or what movies to watch or games to play,ammumma at the same age during her time had to stop her studies , get married and tend to her 7 children and husband.Apart from the responsibility of feeding a large family ,Ammumma also had to go through a lot of hardships at the time.Now all her children and grand children and successful and settled and have created a niche on their own in this world.
For Ammumma, a day would start as early as 3.30am.She would have a nice oil bath.The time water got hot she would sing songs of god.Ammumma asked for the simple pleasures of life like spending time with the family or wanting a company while having her early coffee.She would call out for my dad until he came down and had coffee with her .Let me remind you that this is at 3.30 in the morning :).Whats funny about it is that she would tell him to have coffee with her and then go back to sleep:)).This naive and cute was her behaviour that no one could say no to her.I will tell you another example of her innocent character.
Ammumma was a big fan of malayalam actor mohanlal.So one of my cousins would tease her saying he romances with so many heroines how can u like him.To this her prompt reply would be "he is a very loving man thats why all females love him.His heart is filled with so much love that he knows only to love them and not marry them all".Ammumma had her own perspective of the things that she loved :).How much we all miss it now.Her presence would make the room all so bright and lively. The one and only reason that i can sing our konkani god songs is from hearing her sing it so beautifully and melodiously.All credit goes to her.
When it comes to food ammumma was particular about some things.She loved spicy food and hated dishes that contains asafoetida and onions.Kukka hummen(spicy potato curry) was one of her favorite spicy dishes to have with pej/kanji.It is a very simple and delicious dish.For me this simple curry is not just another curry but a reminder of so many of the good times i had with her.This dish is special to me for another reason too.This was the first dish i ever learnt to make.When my mom went out to work i used to cook for ammumma and so i learnt this.Earlier she would not trust my cooking and so would come into the kitchen and do inspection :) and then when it tasted good she started believing in me.She was very particular to eat a banana just before going to sleep at night.This helps in the bowel movement in the morning.
As age caught hold of her health , the last few months of her life she was totally bedridden.She became totally helpless,silent and weak.Food had to be forced into her mouth.I used to wonder what must have been going through her mind when we did that.She was so weak that she couldnt express anything that was happening to her.At last on Aug 15th,1999 in the presence of all her children and her grandkids ammumma gave out her last breath.She died peacefully.
Today as we move forward in this world we carry with us her smile,her songs and her innocence that helps us to be strong mentally.when we sing her songs,tell her stories,see her photos tells us that we miss her so much and that she will continue to live in our heart forever-'our angel-our grandmom'.
Potato - 2 medium size,diced
mustard seeds- 1 tsp
chilli pdr- 2 tsp
water just enough to cover the potatoes
salt to taste
Heat a kadai or pan and add little oil.When it gets hot add mustard seeds.Ones it starts to crackle add chilli pdr and potatoes.Pour water and add salt.Stir it well and cover it with lid.Let it cook for 15 mins or until the potatoes are tender.Serve it hot with pej.
To know about preparation of pej see my kanji kappa post.