This time when we were at home in Hyderabad, I tried searching for a set of Steel tumblers that Appa had safely packed away. These were handed down from my maternal grandfather and some were given to Amma and Appa during their wedding. I found those tumblers finally in one of the army trunks. Along with those massive sized tumblers I found a tiny steel tumbler too which had an etching of my name !!
Etching on Steel
Till a couple of decades back, we had this practise of etching initials on steel vessels, especially during weddings. My parents didn’t get any of the vessels etched but nearly all of Amma’s steel utensils are etched with “V.S” for “Vedavalli Seshadri”.
Apparently I was upset with Appa that he only got “V.S” etched on all the steel utensils and none of the utensils had my name etched. So Appa got one tiny tumbler etched with “Malu”.
I was commenting earlier today, that even in this process of etching on steel, the quality of work seems to have deteriorated as the years went by. Amma’s and my grandfather’s initials are beautifully etched. See below –
This tumbler is at least 60 years old if not more !! Its heavy and really nice quality steel. It will last forever.
In fact I have my grandmother’s steel coffee filter that is again of great quality. India always produced fantastic steel products, but of late the craze to own a “lot” of things makes many people buy inexpensive products. Good quality can never be inexpensive.
Just think of all the sustainability efforts that are being made across the world. If only India had stuck to its old ways of living – steel, bronze and cast iron cookware. Our carbon footprint would have been negligible. Our expenses would have been far less !! The steel storage containers and cookware that my parents gave during our wedding are still in use and they will outlast our lifetime.
During the recent trip to Chennai, Kousalya and I went to M A Ethirajulu and Sons, a 75 to 100 year old steel shop. I wanted square dinner plates and square nested storage containers. Got both and then some halwa plates that I couldn’t resist :). I use them almost everyday without having to worry about these vessels falling down or getting scratched or chipped. They are good quality steel. Am hoping to shift completely to using steel and glass storage containers.
Its 13 years today since Appa passed away …. the tumbler with my name etched on it is a beautiful memory. Gosh, it feels like yesterday. I can hear Krishnan choking back tears and telling me that Appa was gone :(. It took me an hour to reach the Manipal hospital from the airport. Yesterday seeing Gen Rawat’s daughters lighting his pyre, I was reminded of my carrying Appa’s body to the electric crematorium.
You never stop missing your parents … life goes on, but some moments never move. They simply remain etched in your memory.