Monday, July 10, 2017

Tributes to Mom and Dad.

We were up at 5 to the stroke of the alarm, went about our chores and could get on the road by a 20’ past 7. The traffic had not picked up as the school buses and the IT professionals were yet to throng the roads and within 40’ we’re on the road, skirting the Santhigiri ashram, joining the highway passing through Kollam and the one passing through Kottarakkara. Had dropped Lekha at her sister’s place, wolfed down a hasty breakfast, fueled the Chevy and checked its tyre pressure before heading for the government lower primary school at Kura.

The programme began at a half past 10 and it was a nostalgic trip down memory lane. Prasanna, the School's Headmistress and my sister-in-law was expansive in her speech about me which had quite a few luminaries from the local Panchayat. As I handed over the books - it seemed to be a substantial number as the school had received books for an additional 30% of the Rs.5 grand as commission - there was a standing ovation! The people on the dais had a lot of good things to talk about my mom and it was great to hear them, to know as to how deep she'd feelings for each one of them. 

The buildings that housed her post office have given way to newer constructions but I was sure that the trees and many of the buildings - like that of the school for example - must have remembered that gritty, friendly and outgoing lady who worked among them for 38 years! It gave me great satisfaction that I could rekindle my mom's memories and have decided to make it a recurring event, every year.

Had driven straight to Raj Nivas for a bit of rest but there was a flow of visitors and I didn't have the heart to send them away disappointed, despite the fact that I needed to have my 40 winks. The caretaker, Vijayan and his wife, Syamala fed me a scrumptious lunch. I shall remain obliged to them for this act of kindness.

By 2, I was at the UPS, Thalavoor in time for the second programme where my dad was remembered. Whenever I stand up to speak and face the audience, I invariably try to ascertain as to which of those seats was occupied by my dad when he had studied there. Did he sit towards the front row or was he a perpetual back seater? His father, N Krishna Panicker, had confirmed that his son was a good student and was first in his class but that doesn't reflect his seating preferences!

The dais had a mix of the Panchayat's luminaries and the nearby library's officials. The 'Sanmarga Sandayani Library' was thanks to the combined efforts of NK Panicker and PN Panicker, my paternal and maternal grandfathers, respectively, resulting in my parents' wedding. Great words were spoken by Ms. Lissy Varghese, the Head Mistress, followed by the draping of a shawl around my shoulders by our Ward Member, Ms. Vijayalekshmi Amma for my philanthropic efforts(?) in gifting books to the school's library @ Rs.5 grand since '13, a year after my dad had passed into the mist of time. I was shown the books, bought this year, at the library. 

The inaugural of the 'Junior Red Cross' wing of the school as well as honouring li'l Arya, who'd got through the entrance examination of the Navodaya School were also part of the itinerary. It was an afternoon well spent!

On return, Lekha and I'd called on Pidavoor Amma, who'd a fall a couple of days ago. Thankfully, there has been no injuries except for a superficial concussion around the left hand. She was thrilled to see us and was eager to give something to eat, as usual. We'd waited till her youngest son, Ajith, was back home. And as always, as we drove off into the night, I saw her standing at her doorstep - with folded hands, praying for a safe journey for us - through my rear view mirror! Did I've to worry about anything, then? 


Dinner was what Lekha's sister had prepared for us and it was nice. 

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