I have no celebration for vaikunta ekadasi today because my Ambi Mama passed away yesterday.. my own eldest maternal uncle, must be more that ninety. I am in Trivandrum and with difficulty to travel I could not go to Coimbatore to see him for tha last time. Must go to see the elderly mami within ten days.
He was a good man ultimately.. people who can do no harm to others apart from just shouting angrily without any rancour in mind can be really termed as good.
He was an employee of Governmentt of Kerala and had lived for more years than his service to draw pension, and now leaves mami to draw family pension also.
But the greatest quality to be given credit is that in spite of being a clerk and superintendent in the Public Works Department, where one can get rewarded even for just simply occupying the seat, the man was surprisingly clean..one can say with absolute conviction that he did not take benefits either in cash or kind for favours done.. Indeed a great achievement for a government servant and a PWD employee.
He was childless..This fact has nagged him for about 56 years of married life.. He adopted a nice girl.. but still..
He was blind for the past twenty years or so. Even earlier right from childhood he was wearing highly negatively powered glasses for short-sight . a family heirloom for at least fifty percent of our family members.
But his lack of vision did not impair his capacity to speak out. Even when he knew that his was an isolated voice, he would shout incessantly if he smelt someone was dirtying the municipal road. The people in the agraharam gave him the title "Public Road" for this quality. But such public heckling never bothered him. He could not sleep without calling a spade a spade, however unpleasant his words were.
I have inherited many of his characteristics, perhaps excepting his stinginess( understandable as he was born in a big poor family of eight siblings) and short-sight . But being the wrong birds of the same feather, we were not at all friendly with each another. When I was a small boy he would shout at me. But when I grew into a postgraduate and a gazetted officer ( he was never destined to be one) he would not face me but shout at me to his heart's content ensuring that I was present somewhere in the earshot.
After migrating to trivandrum, I have not seen him for the past ten years.. Not even talked to him all these years. Still I was conscious of his presence as a Jambavan in our family..
He lost his three immediately following siblings one above and two below earlier. My mother is now the senior-most (at eighty three or four) in the line. That realization adds pace to my heartbeats.
I have no health to run to Coimbatore before the funeral, but my mind feels the void created by the vacancy of my own Ambi Mama, Sekharipuram Vaidyanatha Iyer Vaidyanathan
Take him under your protective Grace, Krishna.