Vijayam Athai is my dad’s oldest sister…I adore her, love her to pieces, and have the most fights and arguments with her. I tease her relentlessly and love to play pranks on her via telephone. My dad has three sisters all of whom I love. This post is about the oldest. Athai means father’s sister and mine are so splendid – they inspire me to be a really good one to my nephews.
Vijayam will come over to spend the day – saying I’m too old – don’t expect me to do anything – she’s 75 or maybe more – she’ll land up, have coffee – have you had your tea yet, no athai – here i’ll make tea with jaggery for you – she enters the kitchen – ofcourse in a few seconds she has the lay of the land…lights the stove starts boiling water – what are you making for lunch? Athai, I thought I would make…no no no! I know! why don’t we make etc etc etc – infact you don’t know how to make it do you, I’ll make it and you can learn. And after that we can make etc etc etc for tiffin by the time Meera comes home.
By the end of the day, she would have cut all my vegetables, cooked every meal, made batter for the week, taught me 2 dishes, dried and put away the dishes and she’ll leave saying ‘such a good girl – how well you looked after me’.
Is it possible to not love her?
One day I was about to set the cooker with arhar dal for a rasam…the rice was already made and my energy efficient athai stopped me in my tracks. Why do you want to set the cooker again? Is gas free? Are you Tata- Birla’s daughter? An oft used phrase by my family elders to all those born after 1970 – which makes us suspect that perhaps there were some nefarious links – ooh!]
But I want to have paruppu rasam – you can – you don’t need to cook it first. Really? yes and so she proceeded to: