In Loving Memory Of Ajji

(Ajji in her mid 20's)
My grandmother (Ajji) passed away three days ago. Ajji will always be remembered as a very major part of my growing up years. In this post, I would like to recollect some of the events and incidents related to her.

To start with, I would like to share a very interesting story of how Ajji “found” a name for herself. When she was born, her parents did not name her, instead they called her “Akku” (Which is more of a pet name). As she grew up, kids teased her for having a weird name. Akku, in our language means, “Its okay.” So kids teased her by asking- “Akku ninge Akka?” (Akku is this ok for you?) This sounds funny in our language (A dialect of Kannada spoken by Kota Brahmins of South Canara.). So my grandmother would cry & complain to her father about this. And that was when he named her “Kamala”.

As a child one of my favorite pass times was to hear Ajji’s stories. She would tell me stories from her past, how she was the most loved one for being the youngest child at home and many more such stories.

During Dasar holidays (major 10 day festival in India), my cousins Anupama, Krishna and I would accompany Ajji to Yakshaganas. Yakshagana is a form of folk dance popular in south canara, where the artists enact events from the Purana or other mythological stories. (Yakshaganas normally started at 7 or 8 pm and went on till morning.) Ajji loved to watch them. And we would sit next to her waiting for her to fall asleep because we knew Ajji would be snoring in no time. And that was when we would start our tour around the place, go to the shops, buy groundnuts, eat chats (All the junk food that was available at the place.) and even watch the Yakshagana performed in another temple nearby. We would run into the “Chowki” (The artist's makeup room) and guess who was next to go on stage. After all this fun we would return back to Ajji, to find her still snoring happily. Next morning if we asked her how the play was, she would happily answer that it was excellent and also claim that she did not sleep even for a second.

After returning from school, I would ask her to cook “Bella pakka” for me (A sweet dish made of jaggery) and also my favorite “Hesaru Belle Payasa” (A sweet dish made of Dhal). During my exams, I would wake up early in the morning; at around 3:00 AM. Ajji would wake up too and prepare tea for me and then go back to sleep. She liked me the most and one could easily guess that. And it’s always nice to know that someone cared for you the most. Sometimes when my father scolded me for not studying or for having done some prank, Ajji would stand near the door with a dull and sad face unable to defend me. By looking at her, my father would stop scolding me.

During lonely, boring evenings, her stories were my best companion. For me Ajji was always a friend but I am sad that when I moved to Bangalore for work, I couldn’t spend enough time with her. My trips to home were only for a day or two in 2-3 months and I couldn’t spend a lot of time with her. It’s only now; after she is gone that I realize that she had lost much more than what I have. She had lost her only good friend when I moved to Bangalore.

I can go on like this for ever with thousands of stories. The stories might reappear in many future posts of mine. But this article is in loving memory of my dearest grandmother. Love you Ajji!


  1. AnonymousMay 15, 2006

    Sorry to hear about your grandmother's death.

    Its a good article. One of the best ways to express your feelings towards someone very close.

    Though, I had heard from you about your grandmother slipping away to sound sleep during "Yakshagana", some of the other details were missing and it made the reading interesting. May be you should write more stories about your grandmother.

    It reminds me of my grandmother whom I met just yesterday. I was talking to her and was ashamed of myself when I was in awe at the level of curiosity and jest for life she had at the age of 76.

    Hope we can be half as good as them when we are their age.

    Yours friendly,

  2. My condolences to your grandmother.

    This is a beautiful post. It reminds of my grandmother when she used to give us money to buy chocolates hiding it from my gradfather and father.
    Thanks Ajeya! for cherishing my memories.

  3. Thank u Mahesh.

    Yes..its really wonderful that how important role our grandparents play in our lives in a very unnoticable manner.I recall another incident from this... My grandmother had an habit of using "Nashya" So when she wanted it, she would ask us to run to the shop and get them for her. And as a reward , we go t extra money for some chocolates or "Chikki". :-)

  4. Ajeya, tears is wat i have in my eyes at dis very moment.. u just made me feel my grandmother coming alive to me... thanks to u..
    even i had a same sort of bonding wit my grandma, inspite of being one among 24 grand children she had.. :)


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