Two most memorable characters in my life are “Kuttan Annan aka Kuttayannan” and His son who runs a tea stall nearby my ancestral home. At a very young age of about 3 – 4 years old, I used to climb on top of a tall gate to check on whether my mother had returned from college. She brought Banana Chips from East Fort twice a week without fail and sometimes she would surprise me Pompsy (A brand of Cheese balls) which I would eat without sharing. After retirement from the job in Singapore as the Estate Manager, Gampa (My Grandfather) returned back to Trivandrum, India and started a Private Banking Business and hence people in my old neighborhood called me “Banker De Cherumakal – Puchakanni” which means “Granddaughter of the Banker who has green eyes”. We lived in a traditional mansion where the gates remained closed at all times and the compound walls were built very high in order to maintain privacy. The only option for junior me to see the outside world was to climb on top of these particular tall gate.
(Gamapa and Me)
I was familiar with most of my old neighbors and yet was never allowed to go to anyone’s houses other than my Cousin Sharon’s unless accompanied by my care takers (Selvi, Rani or Jehovah) who worked in shifts. After I somehow manage to get on top of the gate, I would put my legs on both the sides, lean on a mango tree and wave my hands at the familiar face that I see passing by. By the time mom would have returned, I would have gathered a mob submerged in their talks forgetting the fact that I would be still sitting on top of the gate outside. As a gesture of courtesy my mother would be forced to either invite them home or someone would have slid me over the gate to the “Kuttan Annan’s Tea Stall”. Everyday someone would get me Cup of Coffee and Vazakka Appam (banana dipped in dough and fried) from Kuttan Annan’s Tea Stall and my mother would have to send a maid to the tea stall to carry me home.
(Mom & Me)
Later Gampa (my grandfather) forbade me from going to the tea stall as he found it a shame that his grandchild eats for free from a totally unhygienic place. We had 5 servants at home and no matter what they made, I would act fussy and eat well from Kuttan Annan’s Tea Stall. Though my mother insisted Kuttan Annan to take money for what I ate and drank, he would neit
My grandfather, mother and father instructed the servants to make everything I like at home and yet I wouldn’t give up on eating from Kuttan Annan’s Tea stall. Finally they cooked up a story that Kuttan Annan has a disease where the skin on his hands would peel off from time to time which was a symptom of leprosy. He does mix the dough for all the items in the menu with such hands and thus ended my tea stall fun.
(Jehovah’s mother Mary Akka a month back, when i went to give her my 1st Salary all happy to hear that I was gonna write about her)
I was also put under the supervision of a full time babysitter (Jehovah) who would take me to my Cousin Sharon’s house to watch cartoons at the time when I would climb the gate.