I do have this annoying habit of going for a walk in my mind. This morning I was walking down the KK road in Kottayam, pass the saw mill ( across the Ascension CSI church). Next to the saw mill there was a two level office/retail block. And in one such office in the 2nd floor was Kochamma’s office.
Now, I don’t know what is Kochamma’s real name. She was always Kochamma, my mom’s buddy. She ran the local “cooking gas agency”
To get to her office, I had to go through this narrow dark and dingy staircase. I was also warned my mother that, I must make sure that Kochamma in the event Kochamma looks completely “zonked” when I approach her, I must then remind her who I am and recite my family geneology history, so she hopefully won’t forget when she recovers from the effect of booze.
In those prehistoric days of my childhood, we only had one cooking gas cylinder, which incidentally had the tendency to stop working just when my mother was in a mood to make something elaborate like fish curry. And I being the family courier/messenger/etc etc was always the one who has to make a mad dash to Kochamma’s office and beg her to send a new Gas cylinder to my house.( the normal wait time was 2 to 3 weeks)
Kochamma’s office was also very dark and dingy. She had this huge metal ( Godrej) table in her office and although I can still see her sitting behind that huge table, I can’t picture her face. I was so afraid of her, not because she was ever mean to me, but because I was judging her through the eyes of everyone who knew her
She was the odd one in the conservative Malayalee community that I inhabited. She lived alone, drove a white fiat car and rumour was that apparently she drank alcohol every evening.
Imagine that !
Her husband was one of 196 that Perished when INS Khukri went down on Dec 9, 1971.
He was a hero according to the Indian Navy.
But I honestly think she was/is the hero.