Ammachi and Chakki

The house had a beautiful veranda. Open on all three sides with a low parapet wall to sit on. Ammachi came out of the kitchen, wiping her hands on the end of her mundu (sarong).She walked to the veranda and scanned the main road looking for us.
She asked Chakki, her maid” Edi Chakki, Did your hear the bus stopping at the junction?”
Chakki lifted her head as if to concentrate and replied“ No Ammachi, I haven’t heard the bus sound”
Ammachi sat on the parapet wall of the veranda with her back to the pillar. All the while having her eyes focussed on the main road. It was a hot day and she used and old Vanitha magazine and fanned herself. She said to herself, it is almost midday and why are they late?
Chakki was in the kitchen getting the ingredients ready for the chicken curry. Ammachi had slaughtered the hen that morning and both of them worked together and cleaned the chicken. Chakki placed the coconut and chillies on the grinding stone and started to grind moving the smooth cylindrical stone back and forth. After grinding the coconut chilli mixture in to a fine paste. Chakki used the base of the palm leaf and scooped up the mixture from the stone and placed in bowl.
“Edi Chakki, have you lighted the fire?”
“Ammachi, I have just finished grinding the masala. I will do it now”. She went to the small shed behind the kitchen. Chakki opened the door carefully, and the Karumban started to bark ferociously. Ammachi keeps the dog inside the shed and during the day. So he won’t kill the hens.
Chakki stared straight in to the dog’s eyes and hissed
“Keep quiet, you stupid ungrateful dog. Don’t I feed you everyday?” The dog continued to bark and Chakki picked a small log from the floor and threatened the dog.
“if you don’t stop barking, I will hit you.”
Soon the dog went to the corner and lied down, still panting and looking at Chakki. She collected few pieces of firewood and as she was leaving she waved the log at Karumban and warned him not to move. Chakki closed the shed door.
She placed the firewood neatly inside the stove. Big ones at the bottom and the small ones at the top. She took some paper and scrunched it and lit it using a matchstick. She placed the lit newspaper inside the stove and soon the kitchen was full of smoke. Ammachi called out from the veranda
“Edi Chakki, why don’t you use the tube and blow in to the fire? Do I have to tell you how to light the fire each time?
Chakki mumbled to herself softly, blowing and blowing like this, soon my lungs would come out.
Ammachi could hear Chakki mumbling and asked her ”Did you say something Chakki?”
Chakki shook her head and replied “No Ammachi, I didn’t say a word”

3 thoughts on “Ammachi and Chakki

  1. it takes me back to my Amma’s home where my Ammachi(thats what we call in central travancore…glad to see one more person calling like that…some how ammooomma is not my word) used to wait for me like that when I am late or something… thats all gone with the mobiles…no one gets outtof the home…98xxxx hello…

  2. when i was angry with her I would call her”thangammooo” and drove her nuts!!! It was fun standing on one side of the field and shouting her name knowing very well that she couldn’t chase me around!!!

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