Saturday, September 25, 2010

Padmavathi, my grand mother

After reading about my friend’s relative who is a grand old man of 106 years living back in India, my thought raced to my extremely soft spoken, highly talented, kindness personified grand mom who passed away a few years back in her 90’s.

When I was in college, our grand mom used to come and stay with us for a few days, which then meant we would feast on her cooking, learn a few more niceties of life much to my mom's delight!

I still remember one day coming home from college. Ding dong…ding dong…ding… my fingers  were still on the calling bell switch till some one answered the door, and who opened the door that day? It was my sweet grand mom, giving her a hug, kicking my stilettos I walked off to my room in teenage frenzy and in the corner of my eye I could see her bemused look! Later I heard her telling my mom as to how this girl would adjust in her in-laws house after marriage?

She would always advice my mom to teach us sisters how to cook so that we would be comfortable after marriage and my mom being the sweetest thing herself, had pampered us sisters so much that she refused to teach us cooking saying that her daughters will cook when the day comes and there was no need for them to learn when they were with her!

When I was engaged to be married, I was too happy to say the least because my in-laws had a cook at home and there I go…. Far, far away from the kitchen once again!!

I still have with me here in Bahrain the special gift my grand mom gave me for my wedding, can you guess, well, a VIP makeup kit. I was so thrilled; you won’t imagine how happy I was to get this special gift from her! I used to put all my makeup stuff and other personal items and carry it  where ever I went.

After a year of marriage who knew that my husband would get transferred for a short period of time from Bangalore to a small township near Kolar Gold Field, Karnataka, India!

All these days I was away from the kitchen and enjoying the sumptuous meal dished out by our cook day in and day out and now all of a sudden I had to set up a new home away from home! Cooking and me… I should admit that husband knew better cooking than me at that point in time and I was not even ashamed of it, at least some one knows cooking at home I thought.

Wait, there was somebody waiting in the wings to come to my rescue without even me asking for it, who else but my dear grand mom. She too was busy packing her bags to come and set up house for us! As we moved into a three bedroom empty house I had the biggest asset with me along with the truck loads of home stuff, my grand mom!

She helped in every which way to set up our home from the kitchen to the alter (pooja) to even the ‘tulasi’ plant in the garden. She was going to stay with us for a whole month and the main agenda was to teach me cooking. But did that happen?

Well, every morning before I got up she was busy in the kitchen looking fresh after her bath and preparing breakfast for us, I would sheepishly trod into the kitchen and she would give my morning cup of milk. Not a day she would tell me to help her in the kitchen instead she would ask me to be in the kitchen when she was cooking so that I could see and learn to which I readily agreed.

Don’t know how that one month flew and the day had come for grand mom to leave, with tears in my eyes and her warmest assuring hug she left for Bangalore telling me to call her for any help if I am stuck in the kitchen.

I was supposed to have learnt cooking from her but instead sat  with her in the kitchen doing nothing but chatting and getting even more pampered for a month with out even giving a second thought to what would I do after she left. How ridiculous can I be and it was exactly that I was then!

My experiment  with the ladles started only after my grand mom left and it was some times funny, at times hard, stupid, irritating but nevertheless I mastered the art of cooking in the months to come.

As I write this I think how lucky I was to be blessed with a grand mom like her, her soul will have taken an other form, I believe… much divine than she was in her previous birth!  Grand ma, Padma ajji I still miss you!


  1. Dear,
    I can guess your sense of loss. Older people are a treasure house of info as they open up a new world that none has seen. The outstanding quality of your grandmom is her gentleness, maturity and unadulterated love for her grand-daughter. Such people are irreplaceable in our lives. Have to learn to cope with the loss I suppose. Brdgs. Mohandas.

  2. Thanks for writing in.
    You said it, Mohandas.
    I have still so much to tell about my grand mother that this one write-up is just the beginning.

  3. Now I don't feel bad any more when my dish doesn't turn out well! I hope one day I will master the art of cooking and make all the delicious dishes I see in your 'Achu's Kitchen' album in FB:-)

  4. Don't forget to add a dash of love to your cooking!