Thursday, December 18, 2008

My Chirayil Family – Rebeca Mathew

I have a strong passion for my maternal grandfather who I called Kottayam Appachen. He was a very lovable person.

My earliest memory of him is that he used to send me biblical story books in Malayalam. As I was studying in Delhi at that time and was not familiar with Malayalam words it was of great help to me and my mother who used to tell me those stories before my afternoon naps.
When we came to Kerala from Delhi, even though we were going to my paternal grandparents’ house in Chengannur, he would be waiting to greet us at Kottayam station and he would invite us to come to Kottayam at the earliest.

People of all age i.e., from small children to very old people enjoyed his company. All of his grandchildren loved him very much. He knew each and every one of them at heart and dealt with each likewise which was really amazing and is a memory which I still keep close to my heart.

Appachen knew many Malayalam and English folk songs and he used to sing them with gestures. As I was a small child and loved music, I would fall into giggles on seeing them. I remember the cat which Ammachi hated, curling over Appachen’s bushy chest hair during his afternoon siesta. Even though Ammachi was bedridden at that time, she could feel the cat’s presence and would shout to shoo it off.

I always remember Ammachi as a strict person and a gorgeous cook. The taste of her beef ullarthiyathu, cabbage thoran, sambar and pacha moru (in that combination) still stimulates my taste buds and to avoid “direct competition” I never make it. As my brother wrote, she used to keep the kitchen very neat which I admired and I now try to do the same!

My mother was very much fond of all her brothers and sisters and I still remember her talking about each one of them often. She told me that tears would run down Johnychayan’s eyes during her story sessions which Ammachi found as an alternative to keep her children calm and quiet.
I was always fascinated by the way Leelakochamma used to keep her clothes in the cupboard. During summer holidays most of the family members would come together at Kottayam. The nightly talking sessions were very interesting. Appachen, Ammachi and all of us would gather together for the evening prayer.

During my mother’s period of illness, all her brothers and sisters looked after her very much. They even left their families and were extremely keen on helping her. We cousins also have that sort of a strong bond between us even though we are in different parts of the world and busy with our own duties.

I always loved being part of a close knit family. I am fortunate by the grace of God to be linked to such a family. I thank my cousin Lisa for giving me this opportunity to write about Chirayil Family. I hope and pray to God that this bond of love between family members will be continued for ever.

1 comment:

Sudha said...

Tina - that was a great post. so good to hear you talk so much for a change ;-) Please write another one soooon..