Well Paati mean grandmother in Tamil. I never called my grandmother Paati. I use to call her Badava. It is actually a adjective used to describe a rascal. They say ‘Badava Rascal’. That is how she actually calls me when i was a kid. When i was small i was bought up by my grandmother. My brother was born immediately after me and my mom could not take care of both of us. So i was bought up by my grandmother and my aunties (My mother’s sisters).
Being the only male in that house after my grandfather i was pampered to the best possible by all the 3 ladies in the house. When i was 2 or 3 years old, i use call my aunty by her name and she use to chase and catch me for not calling her with respect. My grand mother started asking me “‘Badava Rascal’ how can you call me daughters by name?” so named her Badava. I use to call her like that until i was 10-12 years old. I once her called her ‘Badava’ in front of a big crowd of relatives and and there was laughter all over. Only then i realised the meaning of the word and i then i started addressing her properly.
She is one hell of a lady. She will be kind when she has to be and she will be very strict when the need be. I still remember the day when i got the traditional punishment of the house. I did not behave one day, she smashed the onions and rub the juice on my eyes. Then I was locked inside the store room. The store room is the most darkest room of the house without any window. You cannot see what is near you. Everyone is the house fear to go to that room in the night. This punishment has been given to everyone in the house except my grandfather.
She is the first lady in our family to learn Hindi and Yoga. When i was a kid, i have seen her doing lots of ashanas. Because of the Yoga, she still looks young. She is 70 years old and you cannot estimate her age to be more than 50+. During my marriage when i had gone to see the girl, the girls parents thought that she was my mother and my mother was her younger sister. Even my colleagues’ who had visited my house for the marriage never believed that she was my grandmother and she has 7 grandchildren. I still remember how she felt shy that day. She is also the first and the only person who can read, write and talk Hindi. She learnt it when her 7th Grandchild was born. I was in my 8th grade and i have seen her preparing for her exams and she cleared all the exams in the first attempt.
How can there be a grandmother without telling any stories? Yes, she does tell story. She has told one specific story as many times that i even remember it word by word. In school, i was the most studious and my brother never use to study. It is a real story that she keeps telling my brother. She actually tells the story to motivate him for his studies. The story goes like this
“in 1970s, There use to be 2 brothers near her house. The eldest was very good in studies and the youngest one was just the opposite. Their father was the dean of a medical college in Chennai. The eldest always gets 100/100 but the youngest does not even know how to write a 100. But the youngest started studying as the years passed and became the most successful dental surgeon in my district but the eldest even though he studied hard could not make it big, is helping his younger brother manage his property and wealth.”
She has told this story some 100s of times, so that my brother would start studying but i am not sure what my brother got from the story but this was strong in my mind, that studying alone is not important being successful in life is also important.
My grand mother being born to the most richest man in Madurai, had lost her mother when she was young. She and her brother was raised by her step mother. She has never told her feeling to anyone about losing her mother. Once i was with my grandmother in the house and we were watching a tamil movie. There was a scene where a small girl gets angry seeing a lady wearing her dead mother’s saree. She tries to pull the saree crying and shouting “you are not my mother, remove the saree”. I accidently happened to turn towards the side where my grandmother was seated, i saw tears running down her cheeks. I did not realise what was happening. I though, she being old, she is having pain somewhere and she is crying. She told me later it was because of the movie scene. We all would have watched scenes like this and we just watch it like yet another movie only the affected feels the pain.