I know I am growing old and obviously the older generations are not going to be around, but still it comes as a shock when you hear about the people whom you have known for a very long time are gone.
Every time I think of the old timers, I remember pa na the’ appachan.
The same cousin who coined the term ee aa for restaurants that are not doing well (eachey attuva), very lovingly named an Appachan we all knew very well as pa na the’.
Appachan was an Indian expat working for the British and when the British left, he worked for the Malaysian govt. He had a pretty good salary package. Fully furnished accommodation and once a year air ticket back to India for the whole family. None of the Malaysians were eligible for the same deals and there were obviously a lot of discontent.
Appachan didn’t make it any better either.
Appachan’s reason for living was to save money. He was well known for his creativity.
He served watered down tang ( you know it is not plain water because it is slightly orange in colour) in honey jars !! In those times Honey came in jars with handles. The name of the company etched in bright colours on the jar. It has handles, it looks like a cup and Appachan felt it was good enough to be used as a cup/glass! ( enthina ethrem bangiyulla glass veruthey kalayunney, Why waste such beautiful cups)
But that was not why he was named pa na the’.
Appachan loved a bit of thanni !! But he wasn’t going to spend his money to buy alcohol.
He devised a very smart plan.
He took turns to visit other Malayalees. ( No one wanted him to visit, but no one had the guts to tell Appachan not to visit)
My cousin’s house was reserved for Sunday after church. Appachan arrived like clock work every sunday at 2 pm. He timed his visit in such a way that, he was not imposing my cousin at lunch time, at the same time, there will be something to eat !!
Once my cousin went to the extent of going to the malls with his wife and children after the church, just so he and his family won’t be there when Appachan came at 2 pm, only to find that Appachan waiting for them when they returned later.
My cousin was a ‘poor’ govt doctor. ( All doctors have to work in the govt service for few years before they can work in the private sector. In those days, doctors couldn’t even apply for a credit card because the annual govt salary didn’t meet the credit card requirements)
As soon as Appachan arrived, he would suggest
“enna oru small adikkam alle” ( shall we have a small?)
Appachan didn’t stop with one small..
And he got the name pa na the’ ( patti nary thendi)
I don’t know how to translate patti nary thendi to english..( can someone help?)
For the benefit of those who don’t understand Malayalam let us just assume that it means an A$$H@()@..
Appachan never bought any toys for his kids. His explanation was “I didn’t have any toys when I grew up and nothing happened to me” And most of the mallus who knew Appachan felt sorry for his kids and bought them toys for their birthdays, but Alas, his kids were not lucky to even play with them. Appachan confiscated all the gifts they got, so he can recycle the gifts. He didn’t even let his children eat the chocolates given to them as gifts.
Every year before going to India, Appachan bought pant pieces and shirt pieces for his sons and dress materials for his daughters., to stitch them in Kerala (tailoring is cheaper in Kerala). 2 pants, 2 shirts for the boys and 2 dress for the girls.
He had never even been to a Chinese restaurant ( kashakum expensive)
Appachan saved money to the end..
Live well..you only have one life..