Thursday, August 20, 2009

Remembering Ammai

I haven’t made any posts on my blog since August 7. On that night there was a call from Kerala saying that my eldest ammai (aunt) and godmother, Elikutty (wife of late Jose A. Kallivayalil), had died. I caught a flight to attend the funeral and returned to Chennai only yesterday.

Ammai was 96 years old. She had no health problems except dementia for the last two years. On 7th afternoon she suddenly took ill and died the same night in a private hospital at Cochin. She did not suffer and did not make others suffer.

Ammai was almost like a mother to me and she leaves behind so many happy memories. Some thing remarkable about her funeral was that a number of the old plantation crowd who are still alive, and the children of those who have passed on, attended the burial. She was so well respected.

Uncle Jose (Jose A. Kallivayalil) was a prominent planter. He was also involved in promoting several companies. In fact he was one of the original promoters of Apollo Tyres Ltd. His public life started at a young age with a visit to Bikaner when Sardar KM Panikker was the Dewan of that State.

From then on, he moved with Maharajas, bigwigs in Delhi, diplomats, Governors and so on. But his greatest achievement was resettling hundreds of families from Palai area in Kottayam District to Malabar, the northern part of Kerala during the late 1930s – early 1940s. They were people who did not have enough land to cultivate.

This was something akin to what his father, KC Abraham (Kallivayalil-Konduparambil) had done twenty years earlier. (Remembering grandfather) And these settlers changed the face of Malabar which was then under direct British rule.

Ammai was the strength behind uncle. She was the one who organized the lavish parties he held at home (see Heron’s Pool: A town, a house, a book and a ship). She could move with British nobility and the local village folks with equal ease.

Each death leaves a vacuum that cannot be filled. The void created by Ammai passing on hangs heavily in my mind. What do I remember most about her? Often I used to be tense about presenting serious matters to uncle; he had a formidable personality. So I would tell Ammai and she would handle the problem.

May her soul rest in peace.

[I took this photo of Ammai last year.]


islandgal246 said...

My condolences to you and your family. It is sad to loose a loved one however the good memories will live forever.

Abraham Tharakan said...

islandgal246, thank you very much for the condolence.

Anand Antony said...

Dear Abrahahm,
Please accept my condolences. Nevertheless it is relieving to know that she did not suffer.

Murali RamaVarma said...

Hearty condolences, AT Sir. Hers was a full life and let's pray Almighty for her soul to rest in peace!

I am reminded of my grand Ammayi(my mom's maternal aunt)who is past 96 and with memoirs of a century!

They are lofty souls!

Kind regards,

ER Ramachandran said...

Heartfelt condolences to all of you. Ammai's memory will spread the warmth around helping your own travel thro' the bylanes life.


Kamini said...

My condolences. You have paid her a lovely tribute, from which it is obvious that she lived a very full life. Mercifully, the end was peaceful.

Kariyachan said...

Dear AT Sir;

Its is a sad loss when some one so dear and near to you passes away.

But the positive influence she probably exerted in your life and persona, imparting much prized wisdom of the old days are invaluable.

My sincere condolences. Let's pray to God for her eternal peace.

Ashvin said...

Mr.T, my condolences, heard about it from Nebu. Sorry we couldnt meet this summer, hope to see you in Chennai or Kerala next year.


So sorry to hear about your loss. My sincerest condolences to you and your family

meerasworld said...

she looks a lot like my velyammachi.sorry to hear about your understand the pain of losing a loved one ,one needs to go through that path,which i did 8 yrs back.its not easy.take care.