Yesterday, someone sang this song … “Omana thingal kidaavo … ” and tears started rolling down my eyes. Whenever I get reminded of you, I push your thoughts away. I talk about everyone else but you. You were my favourite person in the whole world and yet I never want to acknowledge it. Is it because I am afraid to face myself? Afraid to accept what an insensitive being I was.
You were the first one to narrate stories to me. I watched you churn butter milk to give me butter. You saved the juicy part of meat for me always. You saved cherries for me from the neighbour’s tree. Everyday for almost a year and brought lunch for me. You always had space for me inside the mosquito net when we slept together on weekends. You would play endless games of Ludo and Snake & Ladder and grin at my happiness. You used to hear the ice cream fellow far away and get your purse to buy it for me. You were the epitome of kindness. You were there for me anytime I needed you.
Yet…something happened which changed the way I felt about you. How could I have held you responsible for the cruel twist of fate? It was on my 15th birthday when Amma was making payasam in the kitchen we got a phone call from Kutta mama. He said that you had slipped and fell down and they were rushing you to the hospital. You had suffered a stroke and lost sensation on one side of the body completely. The payasam did not get made that day. For 10 long years my Amma did not feel like celebrating anything. She was overwhelmed and caught up with you.
I turned bitter. I hated you. I hated you for stealing away my mother. I refused to come and visit you while my Amma was making up excuses for me not being there. I blamed you. I blamed her. Whatever pleasant memories I had with you all got wiped away and you became a stranger to me.
Why din’t it occur to me to be a little patient with you? What you must have gone through. From being a buzzing mother bee, your wings got clipped off and you became immobile. Yet, you bore all this without so much grace until it became too much for you. When you said that you have had enough and wished you could die, I only smirked. Why was I that cruel?
Yesterday, when I heard this song, all the memories came flooding back to me.. I wish I could ask you to make koova podi for me. I wish I could drink the butter milk you would keep in the fridge just for me. I wish I could hug you again and sleep in the hot mosquito swarming bed once more. I wish I could smell you – a combination of mysore sandal soap and cuticura powder. I wish I could give you a big hug and tell you how sorry I am.
Ammooma, how do I forgive myself? How do I set things right?