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
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
From then on, he moved with Maharajas, bigwigs in
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.]