As a child, my fondest and clearest memories have one person in common, my maternal grandmother. My parents were a working couple, so I owe most of my upbringing to her. She often used to tell me how difficult it was to make me eat. She used to carry me on her waist, and show all the amusing things under the sky, so that I could have one morsel of food. Her day would be made if I would ask for a second serving. She had even taken me to the doctor asking whether I had a blockage in my food pipe, in turn to be scolded by the doctor, explaining that I wouldn’t have been alive if I hadn’t got one! She used to wait for me to come back from school, to serve me piping hot food, and then skip her afternoon siesta, so that she could listen to everything I did at school. We would play games at the dining table, so that I don’t feel lonely while eating. She would give me 50 paise or a rupee when I used to go to play, so that I could buy some knick-knacks for myself. As I grew up, she got even closer to my heart. During vacations, I used to plead my parents to let me go and stay at her place. And those few days were best ever! She would tag me along everywhere she used to go. So much that I was called her “tail”, by all the shopkeepers around. I remember both of us relishing ice creams during my summer breaks. I used to have Orange lollies and she loved the Choco-bar. I remember the board games she used to lose, so that I could leap with joy. As a teenager, I made lots of friends and her telephone bill started heaping, all thanks to my long talks over the phone. I guess she knew my need for friends, so she hardly scolded me. My friends used to adore her and she was a sure shot heart winner amongst them. When she was over 50 years, she developed a thyroid problem, and she was advised to lose weight. A health freak she is, she actually lost over 10 Kgs, just by ferociously taking brisk walks. Come rains, she would go for her walk with an umbrella! Thanks to her compulsion, I know how to read, write and speak Malayalam, even after being born and brought up in Delhi. She would make me write letters to her, though she would be sitting in the next room! When I got married, it was as if her life’s achievement. She shared with me the pointers on a successful marriage and happy life. She was there while I was in labour; she literally exhausted herself helping me have a healthy baby. She taught me to bathe my son, feed him and be a mother to him. And when I wanted to leave my full time job, to become a full time mother and a part time teacher, she listened to my heart. She knew what it is like to have someone around. She is true lover of life. She loves to eat ‘chaat’, have her share of ice cream, buy jewellery, sarees (she has lost count of them!) and of course send money to my son on every occasion. She is the one reason for my smile when I think about my childhood. I love u….always Ammumma.