Of kaimurukku days and ambulimama nights
It was a lottery day.It certainly was. Just as I thought there was nothing interesting enough in the frazzled bamboo dug out from the attic, a bunch of old editions of Ambulimama, a children's mag, appeared from nowhere.
Thoughts whizzed back to my school years when my paati (she was my mother's paati. so we call her 'Periya paati') had distinctive ways to handle us during our summer stay at Thanjavur.
She had the knack of pulling us into the house when we were playing out unmindful of the harsh sun blasting down upon us. A strong whiff of boiling oil would draw us straight into the kitchen. We would watch open-mouthed as she would expertly roll white flour and twist it into tiny swiggles. By the time the oil splutter with the crispy golden-brown murukku, we would faithfully sit down near her to nibble the first few hot murukkus.
Before we gobble up a dozen murukkus, our gang of friends would disappear, following angry calls from their respective houses. We would then settle for a dhaya-kattai (ludo) with paati, who would invariably lose every game.
It would be a near-similar story at nights. Hours of conspiracy to escape from house to join the kids playing hide-and-seek on the streets would prove futile. Paati would instinctively guess our plans. Post-dinner hours would have her sitting with a new edition of Ambulimama, reading it with a murmur.
It wouldn't take a lot of time for us to crawl beside her and beg for stories. As the night unfolds, we would be blissfully walking along Sarayu river and sitting on the shoulder of Vikramaditya.
A decade has passed since she left us. But the homey feel of her cotton madisar and the endearing smell of Eau-De-Cologne refuses to get off my heart.