Amma was my first best friend. Had to be, when one hangs out nursing for as long as this one did (2+ years, if folklore is to believed. Eeeeek! I hope there’s a little exaggeration there. I really do.).
As a little kid, I remember feeling very territorial about Amma. Every evening, I would wait at the front gate starting at 5 pm watching for Amma to arrive from work. Sometimes, I would make Paati carry me (poor Paati!), so that I could comfortably watch from my perch for Amma to arrive. As soon as I would spot Amma turn the street corner, I would jump off of Paati, run and climb on Amma, and not let go of her for the next hour or so. At parties, I would sit on Amma’s lap and keep trying to hold conversations with her, rather than let her mingle with the adults (yes, just a littttle bit clingy). I remember being distraught (at age 10), when Amma had to go away for a field trip for her work for a few days, and spending that time shopping for sarees for Amma with Appa (hmmmm…. did he miss her too?).
I loved visiting Amma’s office on early school closing days. I would keep enquiring every half hour if it was lunch or snack time yet, would play endlessly with the calculator at her desk (a novelty at that time!), and would walk with Amma around the office campus buying kadalai urundais from the street vendors. My favorite memories of paatu class include not only varnams and keerthanais, but also images of Amma (sometimes) carrying me to class. All this hanging around Amma, when other kids my age were running in the opposite direction from their parents, rightfully earned me the title of “Amma Kondu” (loosely translated as Mama’s Girl). Thinking back, I am amazed at how patient Amma was with “cling-on” me. I hope that I have at least a fraction of her patience with my own cuddlebugs.
Amma, here’s wishing you the best Mother’s Day ever! 🙂