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Sunday, 9 September 2012

Pullu I Love You

I have just realized that my biggest fan on earth is my maternal grandma. Before I finish that story in one line. Let me tell a little about her.

Hale and hearty, she lives in Punalur, a town in south of Kerala. We grandchildren call her Punalur amma and the whole town also calls her so. The name has modified versions too - Pulloorma, Pulma, Pullu, Puls. Just how my pet name Babloo has its variants in Babulu, Bubbles, Ballu, Bals, Blu.

Her other name is Susheela Ramachandran. That name was given by Pulpa after their wedding. [Pulpa is grandpa – no points for guessing!]. He was the family nomenclature expert for he named almost everyone [and his son found it very entertaining to give nicknames].

Perhaps because I was the first born in the family, Pullu was completely hands on in bringing me up during my early years while my mother was busy making sense of her life and career. I was Pullu’s ‘golden doll with eyes like black grapes and a head full of soft curls’ - as she puts it.

Photo caption: Pullu with little Blu.

As a baby, every morning before giving me a bath, Pullu used to massage me with fresh home churned butter and used to force-feed me a secret recipe of herbs ground along with pure gold. ‘That is why you have good skin like mine,’ she had no issues pointing to her button-less belly behind the saree as she said that line each time. Button-less, because of an operation years back to fix umbilical hernia .

Force feeding was her second nature just like spitting out was my first. Hiding under the bed was not easy with Fanny [pet Alsatian] alive those days. I learnt to climb over the shelves to keep off everyone during meal hours.

But she had her ways. She would mimic an imaginary cat wrapped under her saree folds and have me down in curiosity. Her grip was strong like Dracula's and her legs held me tight between her saree folds. That is how the eating ceremony began. To have the pursed mouth open she made up stories with interactive interludes like 'when the parrot came you know what happened?' Ask 'what?' and a blob of food was slipped in. The blob was deposited in the hollow of the cheek until the excitement in the story fully distracted the brat… to chewing without realizing the lost battle. I sort of remember little bits of these episodes because for a very long time I did not eat food willingly.

I still wonder how she never ran out of stories. Perhaps necessity is the mother of all invention as they say. I remember the story of two cockroaches - a mom and baby duo - and their adventures in the pantry while the family was busy doing other things. The baby cockroach had a name too - Omanapatta [translates to cockroach, the dear one]. Pullu's stories had me eat my meals that I would have never had otherwise. After each meal-time drill she was so exhausted that only small naps could fix.

The reason I write this post is because yesterday, after ages, I wore a strapless dress. Of all the compliments I received I was touched to know that Pullu was so proud to see me fit. ‘Pullu is in her happiness unbound mode after seeing your recent pic’ – said mother.

My grandma is not the sober sort but her 'happiness unbound mode' means she would smile with her heart and be her chirpiest best to everyone who paid a visit. From the part-time help to our late watchman Kuttan Pillai’s family members who visit her once a while to collect spare change... will be updated on me and if they are lucky... will once again be told of the stories when I was little.

Don’t know if it’s a changed lifestyle these days or just plain dedication to yoga that I look and feel better nowadays. Whatever it is… it’s simply fantastic. Especially when you have a grandma who loves to sport you in a strapless what more can you ask for ;).

PS: Thank you for following my debut novelog '13 Until I Die'. Next post will have Chapter 7.

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