Wednesday, July 05, 2006
She said that it is called ‘Champaykka’
She taught me that in her language (mine too) which I couldn’t speak well at that time.
She was an extremely tall woman.
She was my Grandma!
At first I thought that she is from Africa like my Mom, but when she turned to look at me, I saw her features more clearly.
Her very short hair was that which mislead me to think that she is from Africa, which was due to the cropping of her hair by a recent typhoid fever attack as my Dad said.
Her eyes were very large and long and it emitted radiance.
She looked at me with a surprise when I called her ‘Valiammachy! (Grandmother in her tongue) as Celina miss taught me to.
She has no way to know about Celina miss who was my mom’s friend.
Celina miss was a school teacher from India who has married a Nigerian lawyer.
She was coaching me to face my Grandma, who doesn’t know any other language other than her own.
I already knew that she dislike my Mom, and for that matter my dad too, for marrying a Kappiri( a colloquial name for people from Africa) as she call my Mom.
When she heard the word ‘Valiammachy’ she turned and looked at my dad who was smiling at her.
She walked slowly towards me and told me that I was not a Kappiri at all.
But I knew better.
I was not like my dad who was tall and fair skinned like a Brit.
My problem was different, as I wanted to be coloured black, like my Mom but ended up with a fair skin which made me different where ever I went, except in the Gulf and in India, for I had a brownish skin with a tinge of black with it.
My Grandma walked around like a kid that day.
She never used any support though she was 84 years old.
When she walks around where there are steps, she uses her hands to support some one.
It was the second day that she asked me if I want to walk around with her. I was pleased and followed her ike a shadow.
She took me to the river bank where she sat in a rock with difficulty and told me that the river belongs to us as it flows through her property.
She showed me an old cashew tree with full of yellow and purple fruits with raw cashew nuts projecting down, with its branches leaning sideways almost touching the water.
She told me that my dad used to climb that tree and do double and triple flips in to the river like a hunting harpoon when he was small.
We sat there almost an hour and she kept talking to me in her sing song voice.
I did understand only a part of it, though I nodded my head frequently in approval.
When she wanted to get up she looked down in to my small eyes and called me a ‘kappiri’… this time with love, and asked me to help her get up.
She took me all round her property and told me that it is all mine too.
She stopped near a tree… a tree close by that was full of glistening pink fruits. I haven’t seen anything like that before. The tree was completely covered with fruits and small white flowers too. She told me that the name is Champaykka.
She plucked some with her hands and gave them to me to eat. They were ripe and delicious. While I was eating she was looking at me curiously with a smile.
She looked around to make sure none can hear us and told me that she like my Kappiri Mom too. That surprised me but the next moment she added not to tell that to my Dad… with out a smile.
She was the only one I met ever, who talks with a sing song, musical tone.
I saw her looking at me and my dad with out batting an eyelid when we waved and got inside the waiting taxi in front of her house.
That was my memorable 8th day
It seemed that she knew that we will never meet again
My grandma passed away after one year.
Now I have two trees in my backyard with full of pinkish pearls most of the year.
I have it there so that I will always remember her.
Take a look at this kappiri’s pink Champaykka evolution.