Those of you, who have seen the Vanitha women's magazine, must be familiar with the last page cartoon strip about a pompous house-wife called Mrs. Nair. This post however, has nothing to do with that character. This post is my tribute to two ladies who make my 'Sun'days in an otherwise bleak Raipur.
I'm talking about Srikant's and Shrijith's mother's. They are the silver linings in clouds of home-sickness that form around me while I'm in Raipur. They are my stomach's hope when it rumbles in protest against the food served at the HNLU Mess. They are the closest I get to a mother, quite like my own, despite being in Raipur.
I am at my jolly best when I'm on a visit to any one of the Nair homes. They happen to be my favourite hangouts in Raipur. I start cracking my best jokes the moment any of these houses come into sight. A smile takes over the major part of my otherwise gloomy face. My mouth waters at the thought of the good Kerala style food that would be awaiting me at the Nair home. Cloud Nine never felt this great.
I step in there and greet the Lady of the House with a smile, enquiring whether everything's fine. They smile back and enquire the same of me, in that infinitely concerned tone which God seems to have specially given to mothers. I am hugely comforted by those smiles. It is the closest thing to Mummy that I'll experience before my paroles, once in every six months. Then I sit down to conversation with the Mr. Nair, while Mrs. Nair goes to the kitchen to finish the preparation she's made, I'd like to think, especially for me. Though she be not in the room, the absence is covered by the aroma that emanates from the kitchen.
In about 5 minutes, I am only just keeping the saliva form dripping. Then she re-enters, inviting me to the dining room and to the feast she's prepared for me. Again the motherliness of the whole thing deeply comforts me. An expectant me enters the dining room to the sight of steaming rice on plaintain leaves set on the table, frilled on the sides with the varied Pachdi's and Kichdi's, Erisseries and Pulisseries, Aviyals and Theeyals and all those sadya mandatories. I forget washing my hands and fail hopelessly in trying not to be in a hurry. But Mrs. Nair understands all this, and starts serving.
The feast begins! This could be heaven for all I know! She urges me to eat more. Motherly intuition tells her its time for more sambhar or pappadam. She asks me whether the food is good. I reply incomprehensibly, owing to the enormous amount of choru mixed with sambhar, moru and pulisseri and pappadam in my mouth. In about 15 mins, my stomach is a balloon. Mrs. Nair brings on the Payasam. Do I say no? No! I take extra helpings with renewed vigour!
I would thank Shrijith and Srikant for selflessly introducing these wonderful ladies to me. I would pay my tribute to the two Mrs. Nairs for being what they have been to me. With them around, it's Onam everyday!