My Dad hails from a small village called Areyuru in Tumkur district of Karnataka. A village consisting of just about 4 lanes running across fewer lanes and housing just about 30-40 families; a place where everyone knows every other person. And needless to say, Dad is proud of his roots.
Honestly speaking, there was a time when sis and me never used to like telling anyone that we belonged to this place. Mom’s family was more cosmopolitan – Grandpa had a transferable job as a bank manager and they had spent some time in almost every big city in India and had settled down in Mysore. Yes, there was this attachment with Mysore – the place where I was born and the place which was our favourite haunt during vacations, where we had our grandparents and every other aunt and uncle doting over us.
I also remember visiting Dhodappa, my Dad’s elder brother at Areyuru sometimes . We used to love these visits too, but they were far and few. Where was Mysore with all it’s palaces and fairs and fountains and what not, and where was Areyuru with it’s few huts and fewer markets and just one gentle stream flowing in the middle of the village! I think the presence of grandparents was what made Mysore all the more attractive for us. My paternal grandfather had expired when Dad probably just old enough to remember that he grew up sheltered by a single parent. Grandma spent her time with each of her children for some months every year.
Today, am extremely proud of my Mom for she is the best multi-tasker I have ever seen. She strikes a perfect balance between her job and the home so well and the fact that she was the only girl in her college during her Engineering days and that every lecturer till date not only remembers her, but also is all appreciative of her brings a wide grin on my face. But, I am equally or even more proud of Daddy who emerged from such a small place and has reached such heights in life! He studied in one of the most popular Engineering colleges in Bengaluru, while working at night to fend for his living and his college fees. And what touches me more! That he remains so grounded after all this! And never once complains in life. He narrates stories from his childhood and how they grew up in life and about his village with great pride.
My Dad is hyperactive! He can’t sit idle for one single minute. As soon as he comes home from work, he puts the washed vessels back in their place, starts getting dinner ready and makes all required arrangements to welcome Mom home with a nice cup of coffee and some healthy snacks. Mom always tells me Dad gets it from his Mother, my grandma. Grandma was so so active even at 80+, that when she used to stay with us, Mom used to be scared to leave her alone at home – because she used to search for some work and get going on it. She was not interested one bit in the television. Books interested her, but she could not sit in one place for more than a few minutes. The result – if nothing else, she used to empty all the provisions on newspapers, wash all those containers, wipe them clean and rearrange them again.
When Grandma was diagnosed with cancer at 85, none of us could actually accept the fact that she would get weaker or lay confined to bed. But grandma never gave up. She surprised us all by putting up a brave fight. She still did all her chores by herself and offered to help us with ours too. Doctors advised us to have her at home, because hospitals and medicines could anyway do her no good and instead, she could spend more time with her loved ones. She was only given Homeopathy medicines to reduce her pain and suffering, because saving her was almost out of question.
That one morning, she got up, made her coffee like ever before, sat sipping it peacefully on her bed and said she wanted to sleep for some more time. But, she slept longer than before, slept never to wake up again! But that was the quality of life she had! Even on her last day, she passed on being that strong, independent woman she always was. Passed on just within a month of being diagnosed with that dreadful disease. Never in her lifetime had she depended on anyone for anything. She walked straight even at 85, applied Iodex for her back by herself, never allowed us to do ANYTHING for her. All she wanted was for us to listen to her stories. All she wanted was for Mom to leave the kitchen to her and rejoice when we relished her cooking. All she wanted was to live on her own, till her last day! And she succeeded.
I remember how she used to ask me to bring COLA while coming back from college and used to take out some coins from the tied-end of hers saree pallu and give them to me. ‘COLA’ meant ‘POLO’ in her language. She used to love it 🙂 And she would never let me spend something for her from my pocket money 🙂
Why am I saying all this now? This month has been really really hectic! Work has been keeping me busy and I return home on most days way past 10-11. There’s lot of work on the YFS front too and am working on a dream project which am hoping will take shape soon 🙂 Yesterday I reached home at about 9 and that’s really early by my standards now 😛 Su was not yet home. He has been coming late the past few days too. I got dinner ready and then had this strong urge to surprise Su with something nice. I decided upon Gulpavate [a sweet made of wheat atta and jaggery]. When I told Ma late in the night that I had made Gulpavate suddenly, she said this hyper-activity was all in my genes! It came to me from Daddy and ofcourse my Grandma. She added that it was Areyuru roots which made me so! This when, Ma and my maternal grandmother are also epitomes of energy. Ma taught me another lesson by being so humble and so appreciative of her Mother-in-law.
But, more than anything else, she reminded me, like she does time and again, how much the words ‘Areyuru Roots‘ sound like music to my ears now. The same words which I once never liked to utter. Life does come a full circle, eh 🙂