Blog post by Ranjini Sankar
“Hai kutty! You have grown so much since we met”, she said beaming. I smiled. One reason I fear family functions is that almost all of them would know me while I’ll know only a very few of them. Pretending to know people only works half the time. You never know where you’ll end up if you tell them that you don’t recognize them.
She kept talking to my mother while I racked my brains to match her face with any of the faces in my memories, but no luck.
“Enna pantra ival?”
“Ipo CA pantra. Oru firm ile join panniyirukka.”
I stood there doing the safest thing at this point. Clasping my hands together in front of me, giving my most innocent smile and looking respectfully at them like the chamath kozhanthai I was.
As I thought everything was under control, my fears manifested.
“Naan aaru nu chollu parpom.”
I smiled, looked at my mother for help, then at that mami, again at my mother and then shook my head in negative.
“You forgot? Try remembering.”
I narrowed my eyes and focused them on a cobweb on the ceiling, and pretended to think. I was sure that I had not met her earlier. If I had, I definitely could not remember and no matter how much I tried, I wouldn’t remember. After some time, I again told her I didn’t remember.
“Come on! I had come to your home few years back.”
Now I was positively flabbergasted. I looked at Amma and asked her for help.
“Ah ah! No. You shouldn’t help her. Let her say.”, said Mami confident that I’ll finally remember her.
Amma said, “I don’t think she was at home when you came. It must have been her sister.”
“No. I am sure it was her and we went to have ice cream together.”
My chamath kozhanthai face gone, I looked at her open-mouthed.
“That was her sister.” Amma piped in.
“Nooo! It was definitely her. I am sure. Inga vaa.” she dragged two chairs, sat on one and pointed at the other.
“Sit here. Naan aaru nu chollu & then you can go.”
I have always dreaded this question in every family function. But this! Was new, unexpected and ultimate!
As I sat there looking at her helplessly and trying to make new expressions that would gain her pity, Amma was asked to put kolam. Another Mama who seemed to know Amma & me very well asked me.
“Noku kolam poda theriyumo?”
There is a proverb in Malayalam that roughly translates to ‘Thunder struck the person who was bitten by a snake’. That was me. Mama started mocking me for not knowing how to put kolam and Mami tried to remind me of our ice cream adventure. After about 2 hours, I was released because we had to hurry home.
Till date, I don’t remember Mami coming home or our ice cream adventures because during those times, I was doing my schooling outside Kerala. But Mami is super-sure that I was the one who accompanied her. I learnt the stories of the adventure for the next time though. And from then on, when a Mama or Mami asks me “Naan aaru chollu parpom”, I scoot! 😀
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