Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Family Matters...

The last two days were fun because the whole family was together at one place - home! The randomness of Karakkonam, Pandalam, Changanacherry, Kottayam and Ernakulam took a leave for those two warm days.

Since Achan is leaving today for Dubai, he has left his work at Pandalam and is enjoying two days - exactly two days - of 'vacation' at home.

Akkachi, of course, has started going to college since the academic year has started. But she returns around 5pm. Ettan, since his transfer to Changanacherry from Cochin, reports back home much much earlier than before. Kids reach home the earliest, around 3pm. In fact, I am the last one to reach home everyday (around 6pm) after wrapping up my internship woes. Working during vacation, I tell you, is one of the few bad things of taking up a 'hands-on-work-experience-requiring course' like mine.

Oh yes, Amma! Without much persuasion, she decided to take an entire week off from her work. I had just suggested a Wednesday - Sunday, but she decided to make it a Sunday - Sunday. So she is full time at home like a homemaker. How nice! I think it is pretty amazing considering her obsession with work.

But when I think about it, it is not so nice. I mean, she is at home now, of course, by choice - just because Achan is leaving today and me on Saturday. She is no fish out of water or something. Yet I know that she is complete only when she is working. She enjoys her work that much.

There are times when, as a school girl, I used to miss my mother being a homemaker - or housewife - in less polished terms. Most of my friends had their 'housewife moms' to their disposal - to dress them up, to cook great food and wrap that up to make yummy tiffins. I don't know if I would have wanted her to dress me up, but i would definitely have liked more exotic items for lunch than the breakfast iddli/dosa. I frequently used to get irritated when she told in the evening, after returning from a full day of work, that she was going to check up on the Ladies Hostel that she was the warden of. Or even if she is at home, her burial inside a heap of examination papers waiting to be corrected would cause a frown on my face. Ditto with her temple visits on Saturday or Sunday mornings that were extremely long and make us have breakfast before she returned. Achan would tease her by saying Pujari had gone out handing the charges over to Amma, hence the delay.

But the major development about my growing up has been that I understand Amma much better today. I know that her dedication to work has helped thousands of students (without exaggeration, at the rate of hundred per year). Had she wasted her time packing tiffins for me, I would have had momentary satisfaction, yes. But what about the compromises she would have had to make with her work? May be, a delayed submission of corrected examination papers which would also mean a delayed publishing of results for about hundred students? May be a naughty girl who would con the watchman and escape the hostel gate? And may be, far less reverence and respect as a teacher and a human being than she has now earned. Right? I am so glad that she did not make that compromise then.

Amma and Achan probably hold the record of having attended the maximum weddings of their students. This continues even after they have retired. Mind you, it is just one indication of the love and affection she shares with her students. I cannot recall the number of students to whom she has been a mentor, local guardian and source of solace and love. All this and much more and yet attending to all the important things in the lives of Akkachi, me and Achan. That includes the month long leave she took for my SSLC exam.

It is funny how I have 'grown up' only in this aspect - understanding my mother. Nothing else has changed. My arrogance, anger, everything is in tact. I have petty fights even with Kunjunni (exactly 6.5 years old) because my emotional growth has stunned. In short, Akkachi has to deal with three intolerant kids at home, when I have a vacation.

Yesterday, when I was getting ready for work, Achan told me that we would be going for a family pic in the evening. That is one thing we do religiously from time to time. I would be normally very happy with the idea. But this time, somehow, I was not expecting it. I frowned because I was unprepared (read no waxing and threading done plus I am totally out of shape and do not want to be frozen into a frame at this point). Of course, Achan did not succumb and I silently agreed.

The photoshoot was illustrious. Different groups, different poses. And yes, the first colour coordinated one for the family! :) Yellow and brown was the theme. God knows how it will come out!

Then, a dinner together. A good film would have been a perfect finale, but there is none left to watch. :)

All these good times shall now remain as memories forever. And the next best thing to do is start expecting the next 'together' episode which might be during Achan's Shashtipoorthi celebrations in September.

And as they say, expectation is better than enjoyment. 'M loving it!

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