Saturday, April 14, 2007

Happy Birthday!

Like most mothers of true blue achayan boys my ammachi (grandma) was also a very jovial woman. (When you can’t beat them join 'em in the mischief was her motto). She had nothing to complain. Her kids were religious, did not trouble her chickens too much and were good in studies ( though she never understood why studies were so important anyways). She also managed to change her morose achayan husband after a few years of living together as man and wife and half a dozen sons.

Her eldest son (yours truly's dad) surprised her and her hubby by getting into some godforsaken college called IIT is some godforsaken land ( Definition of godforsaken land - land with no churches).She never understood why he couldn’t join the really nice neighbourhood Arts and Commerce College, (besides the priests were so nice too.) When her eldest son’s eldest son too went his father’s way she clucked her tongue in disapproval. And then when her eldest sons second son too joined some Management Institute her disapproval was complete. Too bad she didn’t live to see her only granddaughter go to a “proper college” unlike her brothers who went to some stupid “institute”.( I know she would have been proud of me had she been alive).

The second Thomaskutty was a maths whiz ( heh heh he is my Godfather too :p) and wanted to do some really blasphemous stuff like *gasp* "further studies" on a scholarship in the US. Ammachi put her foot down saying. "You wanted to study and we let you, you wanted to study further and we humoured you again, but there should be a limit to your greed. You are not going anywhere!!!”

The third a really really phlegmatic and extremely handsome achayan, Kurien ,who is known to speak only if someone holds a gun to his head and says "Speak" or during extremely grave crisis that necessitates communication like "My glass is empty, pass the bottle" is the reason I am a bird lover and a blogger today. Now how can a man who rarely speaks and a girl who does not know how to shut up get along together? Well like a house on fire, literally. The uncle niece relationship blossomed over the years due to the simple fact that my uncle was too phlegmatic to say "Shut up for Gods sake!!!" If I ever went missing all my grandma had to do was to yell "Kuriacho!!" and Kuriachen would appear from somewhere ( as he never verbally answered anyones call) and I would be right behind him. Kuriachende vaalu or Kurian’s tail was my other nickname. Our relationship was/is unique:

Uncle: *pointing to a bird*
Me: That is a crow isnt it?
Uncle: *pained expression on the face*
Me: Egret?
Uncle: *look of absolute horror*
Me: uppan?(coucal)
Uncle: *smile*

(He once wanted to join Communication Classes but could not convince the interviewer that he wasn’t a piece of furniture!)

It was due to this Uncle that a young girl seated on a gentleman’s lap in a kallu shaap (toddy shop) became a not so unique sight in my village. In fact they even had a special menu for me namely, less spicy fish fry, less spicy beef fry and less spicy other fries generally found in the kallu shaaps. It was also due to this uncle’s popularity that my dad never found out my err... trysts and the reason why toothless sweet old men smiled at me in the church and at the market. (I was an elite member of the kallu shaap club at the tender age of three!)

My ammachi like most mothers just knew what her son wanted even if he rarely opened his mouth.

Uncle: *sitting at the dinner table*
Ammachi: What do you mean, you don’t want dinner today? Absolutely not possible, you got to eat something!
Uncle: *silence*
Ammachi: Fine, if you want mango chutney I will make some for you.
Uncle: *silence*
Ammaachi: Ok ok I wont force you have my cabbage thoran *grumble* What have you got against it anyway?!!!

Even the other five brothers just had to look at him to know what he was thinking:

My Dad: I say we buy a 100 Pipers this weekend.
Uncle: *inscrutable look*
Second Uncle: Kuriacha for gods sake not Bagpiper, I can’t stand it’s smell.
Uncle: *inscrutable look*
My Dad: *sigh* if Kuriachan insists we will get his Bagpiper but the rest of us stick to 100 Pipers.
Uncle: *inscrutable look*
Third Uncle: What did you say? You think 100 Pipers is no good? Blasphemous!!
My Dad: Stop arguing both of you!!!!!

For his wedding there was trouble brewing:

Priest: And do you Kuriachen Mathai K take Annama Varkey to be your lawfully wedded wife?
Uncle: *innocent boyish smile*
My Dad: err he does, he does!!
Priest: Do you promise to take care of her in sickness and health, good times and bad times till death do you part?
Uncle: *innocent boyish smile*
Another brother: He does, I swear he does.
Ammachi: *almighty God I will donate an entire coconut bunch at the edapally if this marriage goes through amen*
Bride: *sob*

Infact after his marriage it was my Ammachi and her sons who had to come to the rescue of his new bride.

Bride: I think my husband is dead *sob*
Ammachi: Ente karthave, what happened?
Bride: I took coffee for him but he did not move from the bed!!!
Ammachi: *whew* you scared me Annamme!! It just means you are standing on his slippers!! AND DONT SCARE ME LIKE THAT AGAIN!!!!!

The only time I heard him speak was the day I picked up a dead chameleon by the tail and proudly showed it to him. He looked at me in consternation and said the most profound words ever spoken by him. “Aiyyo!!!”

(And thus having exhausted his quota of speech for six months he never spoke again for the next six months.)

Today when I wished my favourite uncle a very happy birthday I could hear the unspoken *thank you, god bless you* in the silence and the sweet smile.

You are the best uncle on this planet and the gentlest human being and perhaps the most gentlemanly gent on this earth Kurian uncle!!!

Many happy returns of the day!

( p.s I waited till midnight to post this as today is his birthday!)


Thanu said...

Happy B'day Kurian uncle...

we all have uncles and aunts that are special one way or other.

Anonymous said...

wowo.. ur blogs are really hilarious,.. u rock

Anonymous said...

hy did'nt know moderation was there,

anyway were in kochi r u frm??

Padakkam said...

HAHA... u r too funny.. i wish i cud write like u did...
highly educated family members eh? somehow i guess i can identify with that..
and yeah i am approaching 26 now :(

Anonymous said...

poor kuriachen!......oops annamma.
the rest of u can understand his every glance, eh?

ToOothlEss WOndeR! said...

*clank* to kuriacahn

mathew said...

terrific like usual ...I really donno which part of this entry was the post was best coz it was simply a story from the heart!!

happy bday to Kuriachen uncle!!

Amey said...

Thanks a lot :D

Now let me read what the post says :D

Sujith Philipose said...

Weekend morning orange juice, brown bread, bacon,
scrambled eggs, spicy tea and! What a combination :-)

Alexis said...

I wish you a very happy Birthday to your uncle. Nice post.

Amey said...

Aah... say "same pinch" to your uncle...

14th April is a nice b'day to share. :D

silverine said...

thanu: Thank god for these special people in our lives :)

anoop: Thank you, I am not from Kochi but from Pala/Chy area.

binu: Thank you dear and hope you have a blast this birthday! :)

amooma: Yes we can interpret every glance of his!

toothless wonder: Amen :)

mathew: Thank you so much :)

Alexis: Thank you :)

Fleiger: I have already sang myself hoarse at your blog, but here's wishing you many happy returns of the day again :)

anup.777 said...

Do wish ur uncle on my behalf as well and convey a spl thanks for his part in bringing so many smiles to me today ... thanks AJ ... keep up the great work! :)

Tony said...

As always, nice post, silverine...
Happy Birthday, Kuriachan uncle! :)

Brazenhead said...

Really loved it. Fantastic. It had a little bit of a feel of "God of Small Things" but without the morose subtexts of the novel.

Keep writing.

Amey said...

I did cut a vanilla pudding cake while reading your song (and hearing my roomie's)... :D Thanks again...

Your uncle sounds fun. Once upon a time, I too was a silent type.

Ganesh Ranganathan said...

Happy birthday to your uncle...

And you really have a great sense of humour...

accidental diva said...

Your posts are so funny...puts me in a good mood everytime I read it:):)

Cheers n happy bday to Kurien uncle:):)

shruti said...

hey very nice post ..really heartwarming ..its great to share that kind of connection whether an uncle ..or a frd of family ...I remeber my uncle is the one who gave me and my twin our nicknames and how fond he was of us ...for some reasons we could never really spend time together or understand each other ..but then each has his part to play and even for that short time he gave us a share of happiness ...I have however been fortunate to be blessed with wonderful frds ..whom I have shared myself with and it was really warming to read your post today ..

Dhanush | ധനുഷ് said...

...but there should be a limit to your greed
Athikam Padikkunnathu Oru athyagraham aanennu prasthaavicha Keralathile Aadyathe Ammachiyaakum Thante ammachi. He he ROTFL

Too good post. Your similies sometimes reminds me of Some Basheer Stories :) Really Good Basheerian Style. You must read him, if you haven't. And Happy Birthday to your Kurienchen Uncle.

Sunita said...

:) Happy birthday to your uncle.

May be its the name "Kurien"
I have a Kurien uncle too and he is pretty much silent too with smiles and grins and looks....He comes visiting and sits on the sofa and will stare around the house, the TV and everything and then look at us and smile ......URGHhhhh. Even my ever-so-talkative father used to sit quietly and stare in his company. I used to go mad initially but now quite used to it and just leave him for my parents to tackle.

shub said...

fantastic post! hilarious writing! :-) Thank God for uncles who merit such posts :)

Neihal said...

belated wishes :)

What would we do without the uncles and aunts.

Mishmash ! said...

Hahahah...that was a terrific post and I enjoyed reading about ur elite membership in 'shappu' and the specials named after u :))ammachi's "kuriacho" was another hit :)


Ashwin Raju said...

happy birthday to kuriachan...
and buy him a bagpiper in my name willya..!!

Arun Jose Francis said...

Wow!!! It is just amazing how well you can write hilarious posts so frequently!!! keep it going!!

Gomes said...

The best post so far. A very Alcott touch to your writing in this one. I love such from-the-heart in-family pieces :)

Sachin R K said...

Hilarious :)))

Kuriachhan uncle sounds a character.

fob said...

This is, in my opinion, one of your best entries.

silverine said...

Anup: I did wish him from all your side and thank you for popping up now and then here :)

Annie: You must meet him when he is down in Blr. He is such a sweetheart :)

tonius: Thanks buddy! :)

brazenhead: Thank you :)

fleiger: Hope you enjoyed ur special day.

ganesh ranganathan: Or shall I call you cute devil? :) Thank you!

accidental diva: Thanks for that sweet comment :)

shruti: Your uncle sounds so sweet. You can still make up by renewing old ties :)

dhanush:Thank you and now you have made me curious about Basheer :)

Sunitha: He sounds exactly like my uncle, except that my uncle wont sit still in a place :)

shub: Thank you so much :)

neihal: Yes indeed, life would be so colorless without them!! :)

mishmash: Thank you and welcome here :)

bleak: He is a spoilt brat, his bros will get him anything, even though he is not the youngest, he is treated as such. But thanks for that sweet offer :)

arun jose: Thank you :)

gomes: Thank you! Thats a lovely compliment indeed though I dont deserve the comparison :)

sachin: He is!! :p

fobbin: Thank you, that means a lot!

VMJ said...

sounds so much like my own ammachi. she so wanted me to go to st. thomas college, pala so that i'd stay with her.
such posts should be preserved and shown to the next generation who would never know the atmospheres of kallu shops and eating mangoes while still sitting on trees and having ammachis who are more jovial than the hottest DJ in town.
It will be our own way to stick our tongue out at those farex babies out there.

silverine said...

VMJ: I just realised that what you say is so true. Perhaps we are the last generation to have such ammachi's and such a life!

crispus said...

silverine, silverine, how i refrained from commenting ..ur think pad and now poomanam..i am in tears..pls accept this tears and wide smiles of this Silverine fan..i read ur postsa ardently and words fail..u get the idea..of awestrcuk fans...speechless and all smiles and tears..thats me..ur ur fan from long ago. Silverine ki jay!
zindabad silverine! :) :-D

Anonymous said...

sooooo chweeeet

silverine said...

Karen: *HUGS* :) So sweet!!

Anon: Thanks dear :)

ggop said...

This is hilarious! I'm catching up on all the archives. Keep posting :-)