Monday, January 09, 2012
A different kind of a reunion: a few minutes with "Nallamma"
"Really? She has a cell now?" I asked with utter amazement.
Nallamma and her husband, Seenivasan, were a couple we had known from our Neyveli days.
Every year, some time after mid-January--after "Pongal"--they would set up camp in our backyard. For the next six months, they would bid to harvest mangoes and tamarind and jack fruit and cashew all over town. Then, sell those to wholesalers in Panruti and beyond.
Over the years, Seenivasan and Nallamma became standard fixtures in our lives, and we in theirs.
Her son and daughter and grandchildren have all been college educated. One granddaughter has just about wrapped up her nursing program. Nallamma, who continues to live in the village, uses a cell phone to connect with her family.
Seenivasan died a couple of years ago. Until then, they almost always visited as a couple. Now, she comes by herself, and has suddenly aged a lot.
Apparently she had come by a couple of months ago, and she was informed at that time that we two brothers would be here at this time. To enable this reunion was why dad tried her cell phone number a few days ago.
But, her cell phone had been switched off. It was off for a good reason--the battery had no charge, and there was no way to re-charge it because electricity was off in the village thanks to Hurricane Thane!
Nallamma, however, hadn't forgotten about the dates that we would be here in Chennai. And thus she showed up.
We recalled old stories. There is something wonderful when a person who knew us when we were kids wishes us nothing but the best. There is simply no doubt that she means every word of it.
The cyclone, Nallamma said, destroyed all the mangoes and jack and cashew in Neyveli and Panruti. She and Seenivasan always brought us the tastiest jack all our lives, even all the way to Madras. "Nothing this year" she said, because the cyclone blew through just when the young green jacks were beginning to show up on the trees.
That is life--sometimes even the young ones are gone. Am glad Nallamma is around.