Grandma Tales – Of Food & Coffee

“Ranjini! It is time for food!”, my Ammamma (Grandma) would call out.

I’ll either have lots to write or lots to study. I’ll say okay and continue with my work. She’ll call again after a gap and again 3-4 times, until I go have food. The problem with my studies is that I just can’t abandon it midway and so it takes time for me to have food. Sometimes, even after 12 am and I wouldn’t have had my food.

She would come to my room and softly ask,

“Why haven’t you eaten yet? You’ll have to eat alone. Call me when you do.”

“I’ll eat Ma, I have got some more work to do. You sleep. I don’t need company.”

When I finally go to the kitchen, she’ll hear the sounds in the kitchen and come sit with me. Sometimes, if I persuade her, she goes to sleep. But mostly, she sits with me until I finish eating, ensures that I have my fill and only then does she return to her room. She wouldn’t call me or come to my room after that. Her hunger is satiated once I eat. Her heart is at peace.

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There was a time when my sister and I used to study overnight for our exams. She had her boards and I had CA exams. One night, it was around 2 am. We were sitting in the dining room, preparing for our exams. Suddenly we heard music from Ammamma’s room. She was humming an old song.

Uthhara Swayamvaram kathakali kanuvan…

She always told me that it was her brother’s favorite song and that he used to sing it very well and so very often. This conversation repeats itself very frequently. And so, every time she listens to, or sings, this song, I know she misses her brother a lot. He passed away around twenty years back and she keeps reminiscing their childhood days.

That night, when I heard her sing, I knew she was missing him. My sister and I decided to go and sit with her for a while. She looked upset as expected. We spoke for some time and soon we were sitting in her room, studying. After a while,

“Do you want coffee?”

“No Ammamma. We chorused.”, we both are coffee lovers. And who wouldn’t want a cup of coffee while working or studying overnight? But we didn’t want to trouble her.

“It’s okay. I’ll make some. It won’t take much time.”

“No. We don’t want it.”

“You have been studying a lot. A cup wouldn’t hurt!”

We again denied it and then,

“If you say yes, I can also have some.”

Now, we were in a fix.

“I’ll make some”, she said and went to the kitchen.

In another fifteen minutes, the three of us were sipping hot black coffee and chatting at an unearthly hour, when half the world was asleep.

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A Grandma, two grand-daughters and some black coffee ❤

You can read the stories about Ammamma under the Category ‘Grandma Tales’ which you’ll find on the right side of this page. (Scroll down! Scroll down!😀 ) If you don’t find it, just leave a comment and I’ll get back to you. If you love my ‘Grandma Tales’, again please leave a comment and I’ll be grinning ear to ear and replying!🙂

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Potatoes, Pickles & Grandma-Fairy dust

On some days, the moment I enter the gate of our apartments the aroma of food wafts in. Especially if it is lunch time. I can easily spot the Aroma from our kitchen because, well, I have known it for 27 years! My, until-then-quiet-&-happy stomach would start grumbling and the tap of my salivary gland would pop open.

My pace increases and I’ll ring the bell. When she opens the door, I’ll ask with excitement;

“What is on the stove? Is that Kaarakuttan?”

She’ll give a smile torn between astonishment, mischief & pride.

“Your nose is an evil thing!”

“It isn’t my nose! It is your gifted hands! I could get the smell from the gates!”

“Shut up! That must be from some other place.” she would pretend to not be affected by my compliments. 😛

I’d go straight to the kitchen, open the lid and inhale all the steam from the dish and Ammamma would smile, “Stop dipping your nose into the dish! Even your cousins have this habit.”

I’ll smile sheepishly and show my stomach the way to bliss 😀


We always say,

“Ammamma should go for all these cookery shows & competitions and she’ll be first everywhere.”

On second thoughts, I’d say,

“No! I don’t want anyone judging her! No one has the right to. No one is good enough to judge her! She is the best and there is no need to prove it. I do not like anyone telling her the food she makes has flaws because the flaw is in their taste buds. Ammamma’s cooking is just perfect!”


Ammamma’s Potato Curry


And that brings me to her Potato curry which is my all time favorite and tops my list. There are distant relatives who reminisce her potato curry and keep telling how yummy it was when they had it years back. She also makes this tangy Vendakka Pachhadi and Mulakoottal. I am a sucker for her Kaarakoottan; again so tangy and spicy that I finish almost half the quantity made for the entire family. Oh! And the avial! She makes cheera avial and the traditional Kerala Avial which I eat for lunch, snacks and dinner. Ya! She makes it in a pressure cooker up to the brim! She has spoilt our taste buds by cooking such yummy food that I just CANNOT have Vegan food from outside. There are always something so many things amiss when the Vegan food is made by someone else. And hence I restrict myself to Paneer in Vegan restaurants. Always a safe bet.


Sometimes, I’ll be sitting with her and she’ll start narrating how certain dishes were made during ‘those days’. As she hops from one dish to another, she’ll describe the preparation of Lemon pickles. Listening to her description, my salivary glands salivate like broken taps!

“They soak these lemons in hot water so that the juice within loosens. They then dry all of them using a towel and make a cut through the centre in such a way that the pieces don’t fully detach. They grind Asafoetida, Fenugreek and dry red chillies; add salt and turmeric powder to the mixture. This mixture is then stuffed well inside these half cut lemons.”

“They then arrange these lemons inside huge Bharani (Ceramic jars used to store pickle). They arrange them tightly together. Now, they heat Gingelly oil and wait for it too cool down a bit. This is poured into the jar in such a way that the oil fully soaks the lemons. They seal the mouth of the jar using wax and leave it in the Garret for 10-15 days. Once in a while, someone would go up and stir the pickle.”

As I sit there imagining tantalising Lemons emerging from orangish-red pickle mixture dripping with oil, my tongue drowning in my saliva, she concludes;

“One tiny piece of this pickle would suffice for a meal!”

Pickle in a Bharani. Image Courtesy: Framed Recipes

When the coffee we make do not come in par with hers, we’d say,

“Ammamma please tell us the last ingredient you use. You definitely do something else that you don’t tell us.”

“I don’t. This is all I do.”

And then, my sister & I discuss.

“Well, then we know what it is. It is her Kaipunyam (Similar to Gifted hands). It is as though there is this taste enhancer oozing from her palm.”

“I know! Maybe she just dips her finger inside the coffee, the taste enhancer enhances it.  That must be it! There is no other explanation!”

Yeah! There is no other explanation! 😀

You can read the stories about Ammamma under the Category ‘Grandma Tales’ which you’ll find on the right side of this page. (Scroll down! Scroll down!😀 ) If you don’t find it, just leave a comment and I’ll get back to you. If you love my ‘Grandma Tales’, again please leave a comment and I’ll be grinning ear to ear and replying!🙂

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Grandma Tales


“Whom do you like the most? Your father or your mother?”

This was (and is I guess) a cliched question people asked children. When they used to ask me, I used to think just for a moment and say,

“My Ammamma.”

That is what I call my Grandma. I had been thinking of starting a section on my Grandma in my blog for a long time. But I just didn’t know where to begin. The other day, I posted something relating to her on Facebook and my friends Neetu and Smisha requested me the same thing.

This was the very same day when the Bloggers’ friend Blogchatter announced the #MyFriendAlexa campaign and I was looking for a theme for the campaign. The requests and the campaign were well timed and it seemed like an opportunity to make my wish come true; Starting a section on Ammamma. And so, here I begin The Grandma Tales section!


Grandmothers are visible angels with invisible wings, silver hair, and oodles of cuteness. Have you noticed how stories with Grandmothers are always heart warming?

Ammamma is this adorable surprise package with stories galore! She is funny, smart, hardworking, charming, lovable & a cleanliness freak!!! Ahh… She is much more. She has a painful past, yet the twinkle in her eyes never fades. She has been a strong woman and even in her old age, she stands tall and fights her back pains away! It goes something like,

“Ammamma, stop doing all these unnnecessary chores!”, I’d say. She has to keep doing some job all the time. She can’t sit still.

“I don’t like seeing things like this!”, she’d point at a pretty well arranged cupboard in the kitchen.”

“I am the one doing it. What is your problem? You go study!”, she would shoot.

And that is how she fights her pains 😀

As far as my memory goes, she has been a silver-haired, huggable angel always smelling of Vicco turmeric, Mysore Sandal soap, Ponds talc and home. She is this fuzzy feeling you get when you see babies, puppies and everything loving, nice & cute.

My Tranquilizer

When I am with her, I forget all my worries and I know I am alright. She is like a walking tranquilizer. One hug and there is peace. It is as though she has the power to ward off all my inner turmoils.

Some nights, I go to her room, climb onto her bed and there is a space on her bed that is mine. I find that space, lie down, curl up and snuggle up to her. She’ll either tousle my hair and tell me how I never tie my hair and how bad that is for my hair or run her palm on my hand, find a rash and admonish me for not applying oil on my body. And those few moments are enough to just flush out the entire day’s stress. I always feel I never do enough of that these days due to my studies.

My Naughty Teddy Bear

Do you know what makes her beautiful? Her wrinkles. They are these lines of perfection that make her, her! I can’t imagine her without them.They are so soft, I can’t resist hugging her and kissing her. Man! She hates that. The moment I’m out of eyeshot, she wipes her cheeks. If I see, she’d say,

“I don’t like that, with a sheepish smile.”

Um… she doesn’t do that anymore, though. Maybe that’s because I kiss her and wipe her cheek for her. 😀

I also pull her cheeks and say “Ammamma kuttyyyy!” in a high-pitched voice. She loves that, but never admits it. She’ll feign pain and say, “Even though you’re thin, you are too strong. My cheek hurts. Stop doing that!” and sure enough, there will be a smile that she’d be trying to hide.

It took us a while to understand that she was in fact secretly enjoying many of the things we did for her, while denying them all. She could be a puzzle sometimes. But that is what makes her, her. All those pranks, pretences, love and the care she gives us. Knowing the value of Grandparents, I’d say go spend some time with them today. I’ll do that too. And for those of you who miss having grandparents, I hope you enjoy these posts and that they fill at least an inch of that space. Until next time;


You can read the stories about Ammamma under the Category ‘Grandma Tales’ which you’ll find on the right side of this page. (Scroll down! Scroll down! 😀 ) If you don’t find it, just leave a comment and I’ll get back to you. If you love my ‘Grandma Tales’, again please leave a comment and I’ll be grinning ear to ear and replying! 🙂

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My Tantrum Girl

“It’s Valentine’s Day tomorrow. Can I be your valentine and take you out for a movie?” I asked in a sing-song soft voice to which anyone could have only said a ‘Yes’.

“What does that mean?”, she asked curiously, ignoring just about everything.

“It’s a day for Love. Mostly couples celebrate though it need not be celebrated by couples alone.”

“Is that the day they had the Kissing Movement?” she asked referring to the Kiss of Love Movement that was held in Kochi.

“No. No.” Erm… how to put it!?

“It’s celebrated on Feb 14th every year. People go out of their way to show love, take some time off to spend with their partners. They go on trips or for movie, give gifts and so on. Since I love you sooo much, let me take you out for a movie tomorrow.”

I hurried with my proposal before anymore questions came up.

“Ah. Let’s see.”

Here I was going all lovey-dovey romantic and she was just pushing me off with so much of attitude! Let’s see, it seems!

“Hello madam! Tomorrow also happens to be a Sunday. I need to book the tickets. Else, the theaters will be full by tomorrow morning.”

“Oh! Then how do we get back home?”, her questions never ended.

“Why what’s wrong? We’ll get a rickshaw or we’ll ride on my motorbike!” 😉

“Me? Sitting on your motorbike? No way! But wouldn’t all the couples take the rickshaws? There won’t be any left for us.”

“Couples like bikes and Cars unlike you. There will be plenty of rickshaws there. Don’t worry.”, I said.

I looked up the movies in the theaters nearby. She preferred Malayalam or Tamil.

“There is Action Hero Biju & then Maheshinte Prathikaram.”

“Who is the Hero?” she asks so many doubts. That is how she has always been. Very inquisitive.

“Fahadh Fasil.”

“Who is that?”

“Fahadh. The guy in Bangalore days. Fasil’s son.”

“Oh. I haven’t seen many of his movies.”

After a while, we were watching TV and munching chips. I thought of giving it another go.

“So, shall I book the tickets?”

“No.” she said sulkily, “I don’t want.”

She was difficult sometimes, but that was okay. My Queen that she was, she had every right to be impossible and throw all those tantrums. Sometimes I did lose my patience, but when things cooled down, I realized that there weren’t many around her with whom she could be herself. Her sorrows, pains, frustrations, loneliness, I understood them all. Beyond all that, her love it was incomparable.

She would enjoy if she goes for a movie. I know that. But, I didn’t want to force her.


Valentine’s Day 2016

By the time it was noon, I walked up to her, “If you had agreed, we’d have been in the theater watching a movie.”

“It’s alright.”, she said.

“Yes. Instead, let us order a Pizza.”

“Will it cost a lot?”

“No. There is a 50% off today.”

“They should give us more discount since all the couples would order today and they’ll have huge sales.”, she said with a triumphant glint in her eyes. She was clearly impressed with her discovery.

“50% off is more than enough for us. I’ll order one asap.” I brought the laptop to the living room.

“Do you want coke?”, I asked.

“No. Do you?”

“Do you want anything else?”

“I don’t know. Just order what you want.”

I placed the order and after a while, we were opening the Pizza gleefully.

As she was eating, I said “Happy Valentine’s Day Ammamma. I really wanted to take you out.”

“We’ll go to that cafe nearby, today evening.”, she said and I knew it wasn’t going to happen.

“Okay. Now you smile while I take a picture.”

“I wouldn’t look beautiful if I smile.”, she said.

I took a couple of pictures and said, “You always say that. You look like a ghost in this, without smiling.”

“Show me!”, I showed the pic.

“Is this how ghosts look?”, she asked with a naughty smile.

“Those eyes are round, beady and scary. Smile maa!” I said. She smiled. I clicked.

“This is what I am saying. Now you look beautiful.”

She looked at the image and smiled broadly. I took that for an affirmation. Yet, the next time we take a picture she’ll say, “I won’t smile. I don’t look good if I smile.”


That’s my girl. She loves like no other and runs to my rescue no matter what. She NEVER lets me sleep without having food. No one can throw tantrums like her and then, she blames me for throwing tantrums. When I say she does the same, she says, “I am old and withered. You wouldn’t understand.” Kids eh! 😉

Grandmothers are such sweethearts and it is such a joy watching them do certain things. Shakespeare rightly said about the Second childhood. The best part about her is the toothy smile when we give her chocolates & sweets. God! I just love to watch that smile. ❤

The Women in My Life

I have been wondering for a while as to why do we have a separate day to celebrate womanhood and why did that happen to be on March 8th. I have heard people raise such questions on many occasion. I saw some rants in FB saying everyday is a day of love, why celebrate it on Feb 14th? Similarly, I see questions on Mothers Day, Friendship Day, Father’s Day etc. I see memes that say

I don’t have to post on FB to let my mom know that I love her.

I found my answers to all those questions and today, I found my answer to Women’s Day too. It is this; In every turn in my life, a woman has been there to support me and walk me through. You might have heard of incarnations of God. I would say these women were the incarnation of Goddesses. And I had to let them know how important they are to me. I am sure they know it. But saying it makes them feel more special. I wouldn’t have written this post, if not for Women’s Day. 🙂 So here is to all the beautiful women in my life:

  1. My Ammamma (Grandmother) – Where do I begin? I have been writing a post about her. But it becomes way too lengthy and jumps from topic to topic that I keep it aside for modification. I am her favorite grand daughter. She has been taking care of me since I was a baby. She used to feed me, bathe me, take me to school, I used to show my marks to her first. I used to tell her first about all the prizes I won. She used to shield me when Mom hit me. She knows when I am sad, she knows when I have not eaten. She can’t sleep if we don’t have food.She is the fairy with the wand and fairy dust that I have read about in books. She has silver hair, beautiful wrinkles and a few fallen teeth. She is my home. 🙂 ❤
  2. My Amma – Oh the famed Supermom who finds everything, knows everything, flies around and saves the day. From my childhood, I have had this notion that Mom could solve everything.For instance –
    Image courtesy:

    This is the story of my life :o. Not once, not twice, but forever. My sister and I are hopeful that we would get that super power sometime soon.

    She could solve almost everything. If my sister and I can’t correct something, we say, “Let Mom get back. She will be able to do it.”
    If we don’t know a location, we say, “Let Mom get back. She will definitely know.”
    If we have a decision to make, “We will ask Mom. She will tell which is best.”
    If we have a pain on our neck, “Let Mom come. She would cure it in a jiffy.”
    And finally when Mom gets back, we run to the door, “Ammmmmaaaaa…!”

    Ohh! There is nothing like Mom getting home from work. And there is nothing like a Sunday when Mom doesn’t have to work. 😀

  3. My Sweet Sweet Sister – She is a whole package of elder sister, younger sister, best friend and Mom(sometimes). We have this radar with which, we simply know things without saying them. In movies or in life, when someone says something awkward, our eyes just meet on time. If someone belittles, one of us, the other one is up to the rescue. When I am down, she tells exactly what I need to hear. She takes me out when I’m down and cheers me up. She tells me when I look ridiculous. she tells me when I look beautiful. She is as weird and crazy as I am. And though I never tell her this, I love how she idolizes me at times. Most importantly, even if I buy her a tiny chocolate, she looks at me as though I gave her some treasure. We do have our differences (and our wardrobe fights), but that is what makes us, US.
  4. My twin sister – As someone put it, best friends are siblings you never had. She definitely falls in that category. Many times people have asked if we were sisters and we said ‘Yes’. We weren’t constantly in touch, but we could easily pick up from where we left it as though we just met yesterday. There is so much of effortlessness in our friendship and she is the only one with whom I have got that kind of bonding.
    She is an example of classy, strong and independent woman. I have seen her grow, I have seen her learn, I have seen her change and I have seen her turn from a timid little girl to this charming lady she is today.
    The best part is, everyone at home loves her and my sister adores her. 🙂
  5. The Guardian Angel – I haven’t written about her before. She is like a second Mother. There were many phases in my life. She was the star that showed me the way. She was responsible for a certain beautiful phase in my life. For a while, when I got stuck in my life, she was the one who gave me that tiny push that I needed. She was my guru. Probably she had taught me all that I had to learn. Or maybe her part in my life was over. Like a passenger who boarded from a station, she walked into my life and one fine day, unexpectedly, she decided to leave. Well, the almighty is selfish that way. He wants all the good people around him.I never cried when she left. The pain remains there like an open wound. I refuse to accept that she is no more. She is around, somewhere next to me. If she could read this, I just want her to know that I love her a lot, I think of her often and though I never said it to her, I am very grateful for showing me the right path.
  6. My Teachers –LKG – Pushpa Ma’am for simply being my first class teacher. She liked me a lot and still remembers me.UKG – When I was often teased by children because of my complexion, I used to feel so low. There was a class goon and she was supposed to be the ‘best child’ in class because all feared her. The only good memory I have is about one lunch time. Someone asked our class teacher who the best student was. She said that all were good. When they insisted, she asked them to guess. After many wild guesses, after around half the class was named, someone said my name. Our teacher nodded, pointed at me and I froze. I never saw Ambika ma’am after that. But I never forgot her either.Sanskrit teacher – Manjusha ma’am for sowing the seed of love for the language. I don’t apply my mind for any other subject. But that wasn’t it for Sanskrit. The language has so much depth and beauty and she helped me unveil it step by step. I still love the subject and intend to learn further.Bharti Ma’am – For all the love she gave us. She taught us social studies. The subject is very boring as you all know but I love that teacher. Whenever I go back to school, she doesn’t make me feel like any other student. She is genuinely happy to see me and her eyes twinkle. The kind of twinkle I see in very few teachers’ eyes. I go to school just to see her expression.
  7. My friends from GJA – I could never forget the three years of article-ship that I completed. Thank you for keeping it united. There are a bunch of lovely ladies that made my stay memorable. For all the jokes cracked by Lays and Jenny, for Soathy & Lakshmi for being the partners in crime, for Niki’s share in all the madness, and for every beautiful girl there who is a part of ‘Ribbons and Tiaras’ 😉 Happy Women’s Day. 

Thanking you all isn’t necessary. I am glad that you constitute a part in my story. Each one of you make a difference to me.

I wouldn’t ask why we celebrate a particular day for love, for mother or for father. In this busy rat race, some reminders are necessary. Admit it. I don’t express feelings like this everyday. If we don’t have a particular day, many of us will never express these feelings. I love every woman I have mentioned here. But I don’t tell them that often. Now, they will know because of this day. 🙂

Last but not the least, my dear blogging friends, Kokila, Maniparna, Ritika, Parul, Rumadak, Nimmi, Nandini, Sruthi, Brunda, Preeti and anyone I might have missed out, Happy Women’s Day to you all 🙂

PS – Oops! Belated 😛

Heaven is here – find yours.

Heaven is the familiar sweet smell of your mother
when you lie on her lap
and she hugs you.


Heaven is when your stomach grumbles,
your grand-mom conjures up her handmade food
without your asking for it. 🙂

Your grumbling tummy automatically texts her. 😀


Heaven is when you successfully fight back your tears,
your sister comes, takes one look at you & says,
‘You were crying, weren’t you?’


Heaven is when a  friend says,
‘Don’t switch off your phone the day results’re out.
You will be one of the first persons I’d want to tell’ 🙂


Or when you cut all contacts & feel lonely
 a close friend texts you, ‘Where are you?’
You say ‘I’m home.’ & she says, 
‘Just asking. ‘


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