Wednesday, November 13, 2013


People say when babies start to speak they start with addressing their mother first which is usually "aaee" , "mammi", "maa" etc. I had said "aaee". But there was one more person I used to call for along with aaee , that was "maaee", my GRANNY.
Maaee's name was Hirabai, but no one addressed her by that name. She was called Kalyaan( her maiden name)  by all her cousins, "Kalyan aakka " by her cousin’s children. I still remember her very clearly. Maaee was  very short in height, about 4 ft. I guess , dusky skin color , broad round face , broad black framed spectacles , oiled hair tightly combed back into a bun with a middle partition  . She used to wear cotton sarees in  light shades. Although she had dusky skin color , after having bath she used to go to kitchen , get some cream which is formed on milk, apply that to face as moisturizer and then put ponds powder :). She used to actually look very fair and her cheeks used to become so soft after that. 
I actually don’t remember spending much time with my parents when I was a kid. Most of the times I used to be with "Maaee". Not because my parents were busy , but because she was my favorite in the family. I got my first lessons of education from her. She was the one who taught me to write.  श्री  was the first letter she taught me to write on a slate. And then the entire devnagari varnamala , numbers from 1 to 20, small Sanskrit slokaas to say every evening etc.  So when I went to school I knew how to read letters. She was not highly educated. She had studied till 4th or 5th standard  and was not able to complete her education due to her family's poor financial conditions. But she knew the value of education.
When she was in her 30s or so she used to write small scripts or short dramas which are called "naatkules" in Konkani. These dramas were then presented by her on radio on Goa Aakashwani :)
I used to love the palms of her hand. They were extremely soft. She used to feed me lunch , by mixing rice properly with daal and making small balls of them. I used to then select the ball I want to eat and tell her what topping I wanted with it , piece of fish or salad or vegetable. And every day there used to be some fictional story or she used to tell me real life stories of her brothers, of goan freedom movement or her childhood stories. I used to tell her to feed me even when I was in 9th standard. I can’t tell you how the simple rice tasted yummy when she used to feed. I have tried mixing rice and daal the way she used to do. I can’t replicate that taste.

She used to wear soft cotton sarees at home. I used to love to sleep inside her pallu. You won’t find such a soft pillow in this entire universe. After washing hands , I and my dad used to fight  for wiping our hands using her pallu . It was dad who started it. He used to say "jo kon maaeelya padraaak haath payli pusta taaaji maaaee "( maaee loves the person more who wipes his/her hands to her pallu first  ) and then whoever wins used to tease the other saying "maeee fakt mhaji ... maaee fakt mhaji" (maaee is only mine :) ) And I have cried a 100 times when dad used to tease me like that.

She not only pampered me but also corrected  me when I made mistakes. She used to never beat me. She used to first warn me .But her real strategy to get me on track was not to talk to me or if it’s an severe mistake then threaten me to put onion in my eyes.  Although she used to go to kitchen to get an onion, usually I used to get scared so the need for really putting it in my eyes never arose.

I admire her courage when my father tells  me her stories. Our family’s financial conditions were not good at that time. So when they all shifted to Margao from Panjim when dad was in 7th std or so it was tough time for them. Although she was housewife , she tried raising the financial condition of the family so that her children can get good food and education, mainly education. She started with a small grocery shop in one of the rooms of the house. But this type of business did not suit her inner nature. She used to feel pity for poor people who sometimes used to come with their children , and she used to give them grocery items required on credit. And many times it happened that they never returned money back. So that was loss again. Then she started business of making stamp ! It was not and it is not an easy task. She learnt the technique of how to create fonts . My dad used to go to different banks and office and get orders. I feel this what she did alone during those times is commendable. She was an entrepreneur. :)
Now maaee is not with me, but her stories are... her blessings are!


  1. I guess you inherited your entrepreneurship skills from maeee. She surely will be happy for you.

  2. I guess you inherited your entrepreneurship skills from maeee. She surely will be happy for you.