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Wednesday, 6 November 2019

NaBloPoMo 2019: Day 6: Magical Hands

At the risk of repeating myself, let me say this again. There was magic in Amma’s hands. Her “kairuchi” (kai=hand, ruchi=taste) was such that once someone had eaten her food, they would never forget how tasty it was.

My sister Komala remembers,

After my delivery, some sadhaks from Chennai had come to see me and the baby. It was a group of 3 adults and 2 kids, and they insisted they had eaten already before coming home. But I sensed they were saying that to avoid trouble for us, and told Amma this. She prepared upma and hot coffee in a jiffy, and they tucked into the food with gratitude. When they learned of Amma’s demise in May, Krishnaveni Mami, who is an elderly lady and herself a good cook, called me up to offer condolences, and the first thing she mentioned about Amma is that tasty upma.
I’ve forgotten about it, but my friend Leena from Goa still remembers the tasty akki rotti (rice flour roti) and tamarind chutney Amma had prepared when she came home.

Someone else remembers how Amma gave them dosa with a mouth-watering combination of spicy red chutney and home-made fluffy butter.

Butter reminds me – I have some memories of Amma churning butter using a hindalium butter churn for some time. Later, she moved on to simply shaking the sour cream in a glass bottle. Whatever the method, the butter had that unique melt-in-the-mouth consistency and fresh taste.

In case it hasn’t struck you yet, I’d like to tell you precisely why all these things are so totally amazing.

For close to 12 years following marriage,

  • Amma used a mud stove that worked on firewood and cow dung cakes (no gas stove and cylinder in those times); later substituted by a kerosene stove and occasionally, the hot plate

Amma drew water from the nearby well (no piped water anywhere in the house – so that meant drawing water from the well for everybody – 8 people – for ablutions, bath, cooking, drinking)


  • Amma boiled bath water for 8 people in a brass handa, heated with firewood ( had to be heated up at least two hours before it was time for bathing – that meant waking up at dawn)
  • Amma made all her delicacies and regular cooking using a grinding stone ( no mixer or grinder – chutneys, paste for gojju, idli and dosa batter, vada on festival days – all ground by hand)
  • Amma did all the evening chores by the light of lanterns (no electricity in the house)
Guess her age at this time? She was just in her mid-twenties!
And yet, she never complained of tiredness, or of having to do such hard work, or that she had no one to help. When we grew a little older, Amma would allot some small chores to us, but nothing major. During vacations, she divided some of the house cleaning tasks amongst us sisters in batches.

But Amma always did the lion’s share of the work herself. Her logic was – anyway after marriage her daughters would have to work hard in their husband’s home….why burden them with work even now…let them relax and have a good time now – the hard times will come in the future anyway…

And so, she would do all the work, reciting stotras all the time, and through her, God worked His magic in our lives.

6 comments:

  1. When we see the hardships our Mother's went through,.... We realise that whatever we face in our daily life is just a fraction of that....
    We get our resilience from our Mother's!

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    Replies
    1. Yes, indeed, life is so comfortable now...having had such mothers as role models is a big boon!

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  2. How amazing the lady would be..... I am wondering what endurance and strength she would have possessed

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  3. What an amazing, inspiring woman. 🙏🙏🙏🙏

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