“What payasam are you going to make Akkachi?”
“What would you like to have?”
“pal payasam , just like the Ambalapuzha palpayasam.” I replied
“When did you drink Ambalapuzha palpayasam?”
“Ammachi gets it for me. Whenever Prakashchettan(his house is next door to Chackochan’s) goes to the temple, he will inform Ammachi and she gives him money to buy the payasam. “
“Aha, like that ah!.. I thought your grandmother is a proud suriani kristiani! then how come she buys the offering from the temple?”
I tried to think of a good reason why Ammachi buys the payasam.
“I don’t know Akkachi, I don’t think I will go to hell, just because I had payasam from the temple. Akkachi, Do you think it is a sin to drink payasam from the temple? “
Akkachi looked at me with a twinkle in her eyes
“Aiyyo Kochumaharani, I was just trying to tease you. I was hoping to hear one of your fiery responses. There is nothing wrong with drinking the payasam from the temple.”
“Go Akkachi, you always tease me.”
I sat on top of the gas cylinder and watched Akkachi making the payasam. As soon as she took the pot off the fire, I grabbed my bowl and held it on top of the pot, so Akkachi would notice me and give me the payasam.
“It is hot Nina, wait a little while”. Akkachi pushed my hand away and continued to stir the payasam
“No, I want it now.” I pushed Akkachi’s hand away and held the bowl above the pot.
“Oh Nina, patience is certainly not your virtue!. Bhagavathi(goddess Bhagavathy) I feel sorry for the guy who is going to marry this child. His is sure going to suffer!”
“That is his destiny. Remember, God drew on his head when he was born that he is going to marry Nina Thomas, grand daughter of Methran Thampi, and there is nothing you can do about it. So you don’t have to waste your energy worrying about that. Do you understand that Akkachi maharani?”
I pretended to be angry. Unfortunately my lips didn’t listen to me and slowly a smile started to form in the corner of my mouth and I quickly tried to close my mouth and bite my lips.
“Nalla kapishinte montha!(you resemble kapish the monkey!), did you by any chance go near the printing press and showed your face? They must have copied your face, when they drew the monkey for the cartoon!”
“I am not a monkey.”
“Oh yes you are”.
“If I am a monkey, then you are a senior monkey. Akkachi monkey! One monkey can easily spot another monkey. Aha!”
“What is going on here?”. Akkachi and I turned around to see Amma standing in the kitchen. We didn’t even hear her enter the house.
“Nothing Chechy, I was just making some payasam.”
“payasam? for what?”
Akkachi looked at me, silently asking me to help. I knew she can’t lie.
“Amma, It is Akkachi’s birthday today, so I suggested we will make some payasam”
Amma didn’t look too happy. She came to inspect the pot.
“Why did you have to make palpayasam? “
I saw Amma looking at the empty milk pot.”You finished all the milk? Do you know how expensive milk is now? How could you do it?” Amma was enraged.
“Amma I asked Akkachi to make payasam. Don’t scream at her. It is her birthday for heaven’s sake!”
“She is older than you Nina, she should use that brain inside her head. She knows milk is expensive, if she wanted to cook payasam then she could have made Semia payasam. Semia requires very little milk.
“Sorry Amma, I didn’t know that”
We heard someone knocking our door and Amma went to open.
I peeped out of the door to see who it was
Aunty Reena and her family has come for a visit.
I could hear Amma, greeting them and asking them to have a seat.
“You came in the nick of time, Akkachi made excellent palpayasam.” Amma told them.
“Akkachi, why don’t you serve the paysam you made. Let Reena’s husband have some tasty payasam. I am sure he won’t get any payasam in Gulf!”
“Never mind Aunty, We only came to give you this. She handed Amma a small plastic bag. “Achachan brought this from Dubai for your children.”We haven’t visited anyone since he came, we have to visit others too, we will come someother day and have a meal here”.
‘Oh Jesus, Oh,Parumala thirumeni, please tell them to go, there is not enough payasam for all of them. Please help me, I don’t want to share my payasam‘ I prayed
“No such thing, you are not leaving till you tasted Akkachi’s payasam” Amma was insistent.
“Akkachi serve the payasam at the table”. Amma ordered
I saw Akkachi opening the shlef and taking the crystal bowls. She poured the payasam in to 6 bowls and placed then on the table.
‘there are only 5 people, so atleast I will get the 6th bowl’ I consoled myself
“Come have some palpayasam.” Amma invited them.
I watched silently as Aunty Reena, her husband, his mother and their daughters eating the payasam that was mine. Amma too joined them, savouring every bit of mine and Akkachi’s payasam. I watched Suma trying to use her finger and wipe the laast bit of payasam from her bowl
“Suma, that is disgusting. Where is your manners? Aunty Reena pulled the bowl from suma’s hands.
Liza and Sally came running inside, they saw everyone drinking payasam.
“Where is our payasam Amma?” They asked
“Go and ask Akkachi”
They ran to the kitchen screaming and asking for payasam
“Where is our payasam Akkachi?”
“Shh” Akkachi tried to hush them. “There is no more payasam“. They finsihed all the payasam. Akkachi pointed her fingers towards the dining room.
“I want payasam.” Liza started to cry. She was making a scene.
“shh..Stop crying, I will give you payasam. “
I wondered from where Akkachi is going to get the payasam, now that the 6th bowl is also gone.
I watched her mixing milk powder to water and pouring that in to the payasam pot. She scrapped the sides of the pot, added more sugar and poured it in to 2 steel glass and gave to my sisters. Akkachi placed the payasam pot in the sink.
I was angry and upset. Because I didn’t get even a drop of the payasam. I looked at Akkachi and told her
“Athey, that line on our head, I think God only drew about making payasam for others and watching them drink it!.”
“What payasam are you going to make Akkachi?”