On the 20th of this month, it was twenty years since my Periyamma passed away. When Kokka posted that on the family group chat, it brought back several memories of her…. Infact my very first blog ever was a dedication to her – The First day – Meeting inspiration. Padmasini Periyamma was named after her grandmother (my great-grandmother), Onnama and she lived upto that name !!
The picture that’s uppermost in my mind is of Periyamma sitting on the steps of her house in Dr. A S Rao Nagar with a box full of “Cadbury Perk” or “Nestle KitKat” chocolates. Anybody who looked like they were hungry or feeling low or just sad, she would speak to them, try and help them solve their problem and in the process feed them :). For her food was a way of reaching out and she always felt the least she could do was feed a person.
You could never refuse anything at her place … the only person who got away without having food stuffed into his mouth was my dad :):). I remember the famous fight with her when I was staying at her place during college. I don’t eat anything before an important elocution or debate competition but she had other thoughts. She stuffed two slices of bread with almost an entire slab of butter and tried to make me eat it. I went into one of the rooms and locked myself in :). I had to eat a little before I went out of the house, and she got her way.
When our wedding was fixed the first two people from my extended family that Krishnan met were Kokka and Ranga – the same two cousins who sat outside to help Periyamma when I was born !! Life has a way of moving in circles. The first house that Krishnan visited before getting married, besides my parents’ house was Periyamma’s place. She liked him instantly. Then the fiasco with our business happened and whoever else stood behind us or not, Periyamma was right there like a rock telling us things will get better. She was neither scared nor worried nor judgemental about what had happened and most importantly she didn’t take sides – she neither blamed Krishnan nor me. She helped in every which way that she could and told us to take it in our stride.
We were in Delhi when she passed away ….. we did go back for her tenth day ceremony. How could we not ? The only regret I have is, she didn’t live long enough to see us climb out of the financial gorge that we had fallen into. She would have enjoyed seeing us doing well.
I miss her and I refer to her life many times as I interact with other women colleagues and speak at women forums. Its truly remarkable that with all that she went through, she lived without rancour, without a sense of dejection and wasn’t afraid to face whatever life threw at her. Well, till last year, my mom-in-law filled that space of inspiration because, my mom-in-law had similarly been through a tough life and had the same spunk and zest for life that Periyamma did.
Am sure Periyamma is in a good place …. spreading her brand of cheer and being full of life. The doctors who treated her are still perplexed about how she lived with all her complications, but they don’t understand, that the body is run by the spirit and my Periyamma’s spirit had no complications :):). Right, Kokka?