My father gave Mom a name – “Ba-Tu-Ta”, naming her after the great Chinese traveller who came to India during the reign of Mohammed Bin Tughlaq. Amma’s name though is an acronym – “Ba” is written as “Pa” in Tamil script, the alphabet for Pa and Ba being the same and the context decides the pronunciation, Appa meant “Paatram” which is “vessels”; “Tu” is the first two letters of the word “Thuni” or “clothes”; “Ta” is the first two letters of the word “Tanni” or “water”. So Appa named Amma “Batuta” because those are her three loves – clothes, vessels and water. No she wouldn’t buy a lot of clothes and vessels, she loves to wash clothes and clean the vessels herself, whatever be the conditions !!
Today in the morning, I was taking rest since am feeling a little under the weather. Krishnan had already put the clothes in the washing machine and managed to put Amma’s saree too, hoping that she would not wash anything else by hand. At about 11 am I see my mother sneak in with a small green sweater that she has washed to dry it in the balcony attached to our bedroom. She thought I wasn’t well and wouldn’t notice but well, however diminished my faculties are, I always manage to catch Mom with her hand in the cookie jar (read Batuta behaviour). :):)
I asked her why she washed that sweater and she says since the washing machine was already running she just felt like washing this by hand ! You can never stop her from washing her clothes whatever be the weather conditions or her health conditions. I have been blessed with two difficult mothers who don’t listen to anything that I say – my mother and my mother-in-law :). Especially when it comes to washing their sarees. My mother-in-law, a few days before she passed away, got upset with me because I told the cleaning lady who was washing her clothes that one day to use less water. She got up from the bed and shooed me away saying “she will not wash my saree correctly”. Both my mother and my mother-in-law were totally in sync with their abilities of washing clothes and how to dry them, none of us could question either one of them.
While it irritates me that both my Ammas didnt/don’t bother about their health when it comes to washing their clothes, I have to admit, their clothes are the best kept. Their sarees last forever and smell great. Their clothes rarely have to be ironed because they are dried so well and you could just fold them and they are good to go.
All that being said – Batuta can’t escape my attention :):).