She walks up to me and asks me to have lunch. ‘Its late, eat’, she says. I take a deep breath and explain to her for the fourth time that lunch was already served and eaten a half hour ago. She looks bewildered and confused as she shuffles back into her room. I know she will be back in a while asking about lunch again…my mind wanders in search of my Ammamma, the strong, wilful woman who brought us all up with an iron hand, liberally laced with dollops of fierce affection. Who though not very educated made sure that her daughters received the best education. She strode over her domain like a veritable Sheeba, queen of all she surveyed. Her word was law and her food divine. She ruled over a battalion of servants cooking and feeding for her boisterous brood. Wise and far sighted Ammamma took our family leaps and bounds ahead. All of us children, grandchildren and great grand children owe so much to her…and yet today she is like a small child…needing to be cared for and nurtured..she is confused by her own mind…her memory fails her. She gets angry and frustrated as she seeks to make sense of the shifting world she lives in. And as she searches for meaning…we search for her…our darling Ammamma…sometimes we find her hidden in long lost memories which she remembers with clarity…she giggles as she relates tales of yester years…times long past that are more real to her than the present she lives in.
And so I baby her as she once babied me…I sing and coo at her and she smiles back happy…the tables have turned on our relationship without us even being aware of it. She has become the kutti and I the Ammamma.