My “Vishukani” – Remembering a special Woman

The Marking of Auspicious beginnings in a new year starts with a Vishu Kani. On the day of Vishu every year there is an early wake up call, as early as 3 or 4 in the morning. As a young boy, I could never have my regular hours of sleep the night before Vishu. I lay on bed fantasising the morning Kani, Kaineettam and fire crackers. The first kaineettam of the day is received from the elder most member of the family, after getting a blind escort with the support of a thooku vilakku (Hanging Lamp) to the neatly arranged Kani in your pooja room.

Vishu Kani – Marking the beginning of a New Year

As a kid, through the gaps of those wrinkled old fingers which covered my eyes, I make a naughty peep through to have the glimpse of her; through the light shades of the Thooku Vilakku, even before she could get me to the pooja room. Her smell refuses to go off my nostrils; or may be the feel of her from me or may be her existence in me.

A typical Thooku Villaku - When lit and carried in the dark - its a different feel
A typical Thooku Villaku – When lit and carried in the dark – its a different feel

Earliest memoirs of my grandmother go back to one such Vishu day; the time and visual frozen in the neural networks of my brain, making her the one; “My Vishukani”. The Vishukani marks the beginning of a new year, but for me it marked the beginning of a new life which indeed was gifted by her; in a way.

Having mothered eight; 4 boys and 4 girls; she survived 87 dark long years amongst all other odds. The prayer spoken as part of Eulogy:

“In sure and certain hope of the resurrection to eternal life through our Lord Jesus Christ, we commend to Almighty God: (C Madhavi). We commit her body to the ground; earth to earth; ashes to ashes, dust to dust. The Lord bless her and keep her, the Lord maketh his face to shine upon her and be gracious unto her and give her peace. Amen.”

The fire in the cremation pyre has gone away and the cooking at home resumed. After 3 days the ashes are still hot. Among them was an artificial hip metal ball which was introduced in her body when she had broken her hip. Among the ashes was another piece of steel which was inserted in one of her hands when she had broken her hand. That eulogy prayer, written long ago – how true; the almighty refused to accept metal as her body parts. Let the visuals of those ashes die with me, powerful to keep you awake the whole night and scribe these lines.

She had undergone surgery for throat cancer thrice.  All the times, she fought brave for life and she indeed succeeded. Survived by eight children; today they need her legacy to be partitioned.

On the bed, I lay

Remembering those forgone days,

Her lullabies reverberating in my sensual ears;

Loud sound of those fire crackers; burst during Vishu.

On the other side, I hear a shameful fight for; the legacy of a mom.

Obituary that appeared in the vernacular News Paper

But the real legacy has been “My Vishukani”. She passed away on the 26th February, 2014(Aged: 87).This is a Tribute to C Madhavi Amma; my grandmother one of the bravest woman I have known on the occasion of this women’s day.