Pookutty Paati’s Grand-Daughter !

My mother’s maternal grandmother was called Onnama at home and Pookutty Paati (Paati – grandmother; Poo – Flower) by outsiders. She was a role model for what Indian women were before “modernisation”. She was smart, fearless, educated (not in a school), literate and above all, had the kind of grit that moves mountains. She was also a role model for grandmothers – not indulgent, but ensured her grandchildren lived upto their potential. She was a disciplinarian and the only ones to escape her conditioning were Seenu Mama and my mother.

My mother escaped by feigning illness and would run away to her mother’s place only to eat idlis. Onnama Paati would not make idlis for the grandchildren but would make them eat the nutritious “pazhayathu” (fermented leftover rice)😁. And Vedavalli will not deign to eat fermented leftover rice ! Hopefully my friends and family understand where I get my obstinate streak from – its all a gift of my mother. Hahahaha.

The one thing that Pookutty Paati’s grand daughter (Vedavalli) inherited from her was the love of flowers. My mother can string flowers together so beautifully. She loves doing it and for a long time, wherever we lived, Appa would keep a jasmine plant just for Amma. In North India unfortunately the Jasmine string is not such a popular thing. The daily flower-wala does not deliver Jasmine strings. He just brings a few loose jasmine flowers, a couple of roses and then some variety of marigold flowers.

Two weeks back I asked the flower-wala in our Condo complex, Durgesh, whether he can get me loose jasmine flowers every alternate day. He said yes and started delivering it. Amma was thrilled !! A couple of days, Durgesh messed up a bit by bringing the marigold flowers but for the past week, he has been getting only loose Jasmine flowers and a few roses.

The Gods at home have beautiful Jasmine strings now …. and the fragrance is out of this world. Why did I not think about this before ??

Pookutty Onnama Jasmine Flowers
Srinivasa Kalyanam – with a fresh string of Jasmine flowers made by Amma
Balaji - Jasmine flowers
Tirupati Balaji with a denser string 🙂

Venkatesa Perumal seems happy ! This is a Santi Arts poster that we were selling at our bookshop in the 90’s. I had kept aside a couple of the Santi Arts works that were just stunning. This is one of them.

Buddha - jasmine
This Buddha statue was purchased in Siem Reap, Cambodia.

When we visited Cambodia in 2014, we found a very unusual Shiva statue and went in search of finding a miniature one. Didn’t get a smaller version of the Shiva statue but instead found this stunning wooden Buddha. How tranquil he is .. just looking at him calms you.

My favourite Krishna, who anyway loves “alankaram”.

Krishna - jasmine - Pookutty

Both these statues are special. The white metal one is a Grihapravesam gift from Atrey Uncle and Aunty. They gave this when we bought this house. The wooden statue is what I bought at the Poompuhar showroom on Mount Road, Chennai in 1991. I bought this and a couple of Ganesha’s. Beautiful carving and the vibes are so positive.

Pookutty Paati’s grand daughter is indeed gifted with an innate talent for stringing flowers … Am happy that I could make Amma happy with this activity.

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