Chettiyar Aunty, a very capable lady, our neighbor is Amma’s best chum, well-wisher, guide,etc. She is stout, with plump face, bulging arms, big nails and bright sharp eyes which is always enclosed with the thickest optical instrument , the sort of bearings which would make any male quiver at the sight of her. In simple she has a sort of demeanor, one witness with a Women WWF champion.
My first impression after seeing her , which happened some 12 years back, was that she would be a sort of female who would run behind a mischievous brute with a thick stick no matter how silly the mistake may be. I felt sudden pity towards her two daughters who were placed at the very same school I was exiled to. My initial impression was partially proved wrong. Though she would fight earnestly with everyone who dared to cross her path without need for any motivation from other side, she still managed to show her hidden soft side towards our family, which astonished everyone at our colony who had never expected this and puzzled over the fact that how a tenacious tigress can be a timid cat sometimes.
Few years back, Auntie’s husband escaped to heaven. These circumstance would generally render any women weak and make them weep, but aunty is not a normal women. She was much bolder and determined than ever. Of course there was some preliminary crying and all those sort of formal things happened, but only for a wee bit of time. Soon she recovered the blow, took matters at hand, cheered up her sons & daughters and celebrated pongal at the next week end with colorful Rangoli at their door end. She made her girls married to well educated boys and awaited her new role “Granny”. She was rewarded soon.
After her girls (my friends) got married, I have not been much in touch with her family. Occasionally I had seen her wrestling with someone on street, on seeing me the iron hotness in her face would morph a minute to a flashing childish smile, at the end of minute the traces of it would vanish and her face would restore its rigidity.
Few days back, she came to our home to chat with Amma. In the place of her face, was a round massive tomato with thick spectacles. She was angry and it was evident from the redness that was deepened in her face. She struggled to start as if her throat was momentarily blocked by a fish bone. In a minute of effort, she curbed her emotions and blurted out – ‘Vani amma , do you know what D (her first daughter) is doing ?’
After a second of hesitation, Amma asked ‘ What happened’ ?
Aunty continued “ D has come to our home with her baby. You very well know how much I appealed to her not-gentle-husband to send her here. All the efforts were wasted. She is no more the dear daughter I once used to have. She is spoiled,”
With no clue on the matter, my mom tried the same question again “ What happened”?
Patches of pain fogged Aunty’s red face, when she said “ You know when D was married she was like Vani, only bones and nerves, now you should see her, much bulkier than me and she eats thrice than me on each course of meals. Each day she consumes more than the earlier day. If the rate of her consumption amplified this way, I will soon end up announcing bankruptcy with out really having a bank.”
Amma amended her question “Why? What happened to her?”
Aunty threw her hands upward, the place we all believe her husband had escaped to, and said
“ I don’t know Vani amma. I don’t know! – when she said this, her specs hopped twice and then took its place, because of the intensity injected on these words. Her vigorous change in food habits only suggests that her new kinship, i.e her husband & co, must have eating as their full time hobby. But one cannot fathom. Do you think of anything I can do here ?”
This conversation continued for sometime. Amma and Aunty came up with some strategy planning to place this matter under control. I was bit disappointed in the way I was described in the course of the conversation, thus left the place.
After a hour or so , Amma came to my room and asked me, Did you hear Aunty? She is very upset, never seen her like this even when she parted her partner. Do you think any thing we can do for D?
I offered “ May be we should ask Aunty to cook like me ,which would eventually cause endless aversion between food and D”
Amma started at me like how aunty would stare at D when she was devouring fourth course in her mid-day meals.