What Did She Like?

This short piece is penned by Anuraadha Jaishankar here in Tamizh. Translated as close as possible. Narrowly missed the deadline of IWD.

Thanks to Vidya for forwarding it.

Here it is:

‘Anna, what are the doctors saying?’ Radhu, her voice unsteady.

‘It’s the same thing. His heart is weak, the pumping is not good enough. Since he has already undergone two surgeries, so there isn’t much they can do at his age. Of course, they are doing what they can – keeping him up with medicines. Anything more aggressive is ruled out. ‘Just keep him happy and comfortable as long as’ is what they’re telling me.’

‘How is he now?’

‘As of now he is alright.’

‘Listen, Anna, I’ll come over there bringing the kids along. Tell Raghu to do likewise. Let’s all be together for a few days with Appa. What do you say?’

‘Sounds good, let me talk to Raghu.’

‘Does Amma know about it?’

‘No. She thinks they have cured him of his ailment in the hospital and sent him home.’

‘Let it be so. Otherwise she’ll worry herself to death, poor soul.’

‘Fine, let me know once you book the tickets. I’ll get the car and come to the (railway) station.’

In the night over dinner Ravi told them about Radhu and Raghu coming over for a few days. Immediately Father relaxed visibly happy with the news. Mother looked a few years taken off her age: ‘You know what? Over the last few days, I had this persistent thought and desire to see the kids and spend a little time with them all and now you’re telling us this…very good, I’ll get some stuff (grains) ready and you please take them to the mill and get them ground. Will prepare some sweets and savories for the kids. Also kanji flour, sambar powder, tamarind paste, sevai noodlesPadma (Raghu’s wife) loves my hand-made murukku…’

‘Amma, Amma, take it easy. Sure, we’ll get all that done. ‘He likes this, she likes this.’ you said of everyone but not Appa – what does he enjoy eating, tell us.’

‘How would you know? You’re hardly at home. And when you are, you are not observant. Your Appa, he likes anything and everything I prepare for him,’ she said bashfully but laced with pride.

‘Okay, okay, now tell us a couple of items he specially relishes.’

Mother got up to clean up the table: ‘You watch me serving his meal, observe what I pile up on his plate with extra helpings and you’ll know.’

Ravi became pensive. How would this lady cope up with the inevitable when it happens?

With Raghu and Radhu landing, it was no longer a home of the sick – Mother busying herself in the kitchen dishing out everyone’s favorites, Father happily chatting away with one and all, the siblings making solicitous inquiries and doing the catching up, the children running all over, falling, dropping thingsand the old couple like kids looking excitedly at the new dresses bought for them – altogether a cheery family reunion, a pleasant chaos, not boisterous, not unruly

It was Saturday. Father suggested they go to the (Marina) beach – the kids can have fun playing in the sand – and followed by dinner at some decent restaurant so Mother got a well-deserved respite from her kitchen duties for the day.

‘Appa, what would you like to have?’ Ravi handed over the menu card.

Ordering for him done, ‘Amma, what can we get?’

One of the kids interjected: ’I dont want this idli-sambar. It’s too hot.’

Radhu: ‘You always do that – order something and then you dont eat,’

Mother: ‘Dont pull him up. Just get him what he wants. It wont be wasted – I’ll have his idli-sambar.’

Ravi waved away: ‘Forget him, Amma. Let’s get whatever you feel like having.’

But she had her way: ‘Not to worry, dear, this is good and enough for me.’

Mother and Radhu took what was left over on the kids’ plates.

Overcome with emotions, before retiring for the night, Father: ‘After a long time, I was very happy todaydid you see how caring our kids were this evening? Not many would be blessed like us. What do you say?’

Mother readily agreed.

‘But, you know, it was strangenormally these fellows would not hesitate to snatch away this that from my plate and hand saying it wasn’t good for my healthand today it was quite the opposite, they were forcing the eats on me.’

She laughed: ‘Oh, that’s was only for this occasion, a couple of days that we are together. Thereafter it would be your regular diet. No remission!’

‘Oh, so that was it, eh? Okaylet’s sleep. Am tired. It’s Sunday tomorrow, sleep well, no need to get up early.’

‘You know Sunday or weekday, the alarm in the body wakes one up more or less at the same time every day. Let’s see.’

The following morning she overslept. In fact she had gone even farther into an eternal sleep.

Her children were shocked beyond belief.

Inconsolable. In their preoccupation with Father’s illness, had they failed to notice Mother’s indisposition? But she had not complained of any ailment at all.

It was the tenth day. The day of special rituals for the departed soul.

It was a practice – on that day dishes were prepared that were particularly favored by the diseased. The cook sought out Radhu and inquired about the menu.

Radhu: ‘Well, what did Mother like? Raghu Anna, you would know? Whenever I came here, she would rather prepare whatever I liked.’

Raghu: ‘Same here. She always fed me with kothamalli saadham, adai with vellam, uppu kozhakattaiitems she knew I loved. Let’s ask Ravi.’

Ravi: ‘Amma always took her food alone and last. I’ve no idea what she ate with relish and what she didn’t care for. Appa should know.’

Father: ‘Now that you ask what did she like? Well, what did she like? It never occurred to me to…’


They Also Serve Who…


The daughter in her forties and her 70-year old mother worked in the house as domestic help – the daughter cooked while the mother washed and swept the front-yard. At work, they rarely talked to each other. From their demeanor, one would never suspect they were mother and daughter living under one roof.

The daughter had grown up in her uncle’s house in Chennai while the mother had brought up her sister in the village.

It’s a sad story how her father abandoned her mother with two children while they were going some place by bus. Yes, he just disappeared at a bus stop leaving the illiterate woman in the middle of nowhere without a penny in her purse. Somehow she struggled to reach a relative’s house and find her way back with the children in tow. The man was rumored to have moved in with another woman in the…

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The Mother Of The Year Contest – Our Entry

31732585_1601164213266399_6862683545106644992_n Unlimited Laughter



And Some…They Couldn’t Find


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Source: facebook


Mind Is A Lonely Place (50+Words)

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The ride to the railway station had been tiring.

Through the window she could see him hurrying away as the train pulled out slowly, puffing and panting.

Her mind, for no reason, went back to the time when she did not have the baby.

She was even ready with a name: ‘Asha’ meaning Hope.





Source: Inspired by a post in Pinterest, image from Pixabay.

Utter Momsense

Listen-to-your-Ranting-Mom Kanigas

‘Hi Mom. Can I leave the kids with you tonight?’

‘You’re going out?’


‘With whom?’

‘With a friend.’

‘I don’t know why you left your husband. He is such a good man.’

‘I didn’t leave him. He left me!’

‘You let him leave you, and now you go out with anybody and nobody.’

‘I do not go out with anybody. Can I bring over the kids?’

‘I never left you to go out with anybody except your father.’

‘There are lots of things that you did and I don’t.’

‘What are you hinting at?’

‘Nothing. I just want to know if I can bring the kids over tonight.’

‘You’re going to stay the night with him? What will your husband say if he finds out?’

‘My EX husband. I don’t think he would be bothered. From the day he left me, he probably never slept alone!’

‘So you’re going to sleep over at this loser’s place?’

‘He’s not a loser.’

‘A man who goes out with a divorced woman with children is a loser and a parasite.’

‘I don’t want to argue. Should I bring over the kids or not?’

‘Poor children with such a mother.’

‘Such as what?’

‘With no stability. No wonder your husband left you.’


‘Don’t scream at me. You probably scream at this loser too!’

‘Now you’re worried about the loser?’

‘Ah, so you see he’s a loser. I spotted him immediately.’

‘Goodbye, mother.’

‘Wait! Don’t hang up! When are you bringing them over?’

‘I’m not bringing them over! I’m not going out!’

‘If you never go out, how do you expect to meet anyone?’




Source: Image from Kanigas