born on May 31, 1931 and
passed away on November 22, 2009.
Today I am sleeping in your bedroom. That too on your side of the bed. As I snuggle in with my daughter, I can’t help but relive your sweet memories. The gentle drift of coconut oil from your hair still fills my nostrils. I feel your presence in every corner of the room. How I wish you could be there with me today my Amamma. How I wish you could meet my little girl. Be to her what you were to me. A hero.
Six years without you feels very long. But at times it feels like just yesterday you were with us. Chatting, laughing, teasing. Throwing chocolate wrappers at us. Doing an impromptu jig. Singing your favourite songs. Making the world’s best kozhyakatais, chocolate and oh yes, that absolutely drool-worthy strawberry mousse.
Encapsulating 78 years of my beautiful Amamma’s life in words is no easy task. Still, I will try. Amamma was born as Rathnam in the beautiful temple town of Trichur to Meenakshi and A.K Dharmaraja Iyer. She was also known as Janaki, a name that was duly passed on to me. She was the oldest child and grew up with three sisters and a brother. The sisters were so gorgeous, they were nicknamed The Trichur Beauties. Her house was palatial and beautiful. I still remember the sparkle in her eye when she showed me around excitedly like a school girl. She was proud of the bungalow that she once called home.
She came to Hyderabad as a young bride in 1949. It was just after the annexation of the State of Nizam, post-independence. She was away from Thatha for over a year because of the unrest in the city. The chaos ended and her life in Hyderabad began.
She made the place her own, mastered the language, made plenty of friends and saved every penny to make a nice home for her children.
If there was one thing she was passionate about, it was cricket. I still remember her outstretched hand, frail yet cheering one last hurrah for an Indian victory, just a few days before she left us.
lived happy, or so we all hope. When she breathed her last she had her children
by her side and her grandson Akshay, who had flown all the way from USA just to
hold her hand.
Amamma, if I had to change anything about you, I would want to wipe away all the suffering you endured in the last four months of your life. You didn't deserve it. Not one bit.
I want the world to remember you for your adventurous spirit, modern thoughts and unbridled energy. You were way ahead of your times Amamma, and you knew it.
Thank you my Abiji for my belief system, for the spirit to seek, for the melody, for the sheer guts. I owe it all to you.
Come down and snuggle with us my tweety bird. I will be waiting. Always.
- Anushya Rajagopalan
Well said and apt. She was a fiesty woman who called a spade a spade and never afraid to speak her mind.
Anu, there can be no better words to Write about amamma than what you have penned. Very touching and brought back pleasant memories. She was the best.