First, I need to explain why the gift is unusual, for that we need to meet kushu ammachi ( fart ammachi).
Kushu Ammachi has been a legend in our family circle and I knew more about her even before meeting her in person. She was my aunt’s mother in law. There was no love lost between the two and every time my aunt came for a visit, we waited to hear the latest exploits of Kushu Ammachi.
Ammachi was a very strong willed woman with very strong opinions. She decided everything and my aunt was very resentful of her mother in law wielding such power. But ammachi was also ‘free of faults’ in the eyes of others. She was a respected figure, she helped the new immigrants to find their way, she loaned money to those who need etc. Everyone loved her.
Ammachi also loved good food and according to my aunt, she ate so much (valichu vari vizhungum) that at night while she was sleeping, she farted non stop and we the family from the other side ( in laws) named her Kushu Ammachi. We waited for my aunt to come for a visit to update us with the new adventures of Kushu Ammachi and we heard over the years how Ammachi never took the plastic cover that was on the car seat when she bought the car, how she kept a plastic sheet on top of the carpet to protect the carpet and then slipped on it, how she wrapped the kitchen hood with saran wrap to protect the hood from grease !
Her entire house was furnished with Singapore Airlines items. All the forks, spoons, glasses, wine glass etc were stolen from the flights ! Even the blankets were from Singapore airlines. Kushu Ammachi had a full set of Royal Albert dinner set, but never used it. If you were an esteemed guest ( like, Achan from the church) in her list, then you got the corelle dinner plates, the rest got Melamine plates. According to my aunt, Kushu Ammachi never wasted anything..she even saved the thread from day old kumbil appam/parippu vada. ( I never got this part.. apparently in the olden times where there were no fridge, after a day or two kumbil appam developed some sort of mycellium growth and you found out if the item was old by breaking it in to half and see if there were mycellium threads of growth. I tried keeping parippuvada outside for days..all it did was to get hard and dry, but no mycellium growth. I don’t know how to make kumbil appam and we don’t get chakka here..so this particular legend is totally hearsay !)
I met Kushu Ammachi in 1994. Her car was an old junk and it still had the original plastic cover on the seats..where ever the plastic was ripped, it was stuck back with duct tape. Her house was a living plastic museum. Everything was wrapped in a layer of plastic to protect it. And I thought what a loser she is.. What is the point of having things if you don’t want to use them?
I had friends over last weekend and as usual the same rules applied. I will only serve alcohol if my friends agreed that if they drank more than the standard serving, then they have to stay the night at my place or take a cab back home or have a designated driver who isn’t drinking. One friend ended up spending the night at my place.
The drama started in the morning about 8 AM. Both Yaya and my son were meeting their friends at 9 and both wanted to take a shower. They were arguing as to who takes the longest time to take a shower and they were practically having the yelling match. If you have had a lot of drinks the night before, you can imagine how my head felt hearing all these yelling..my friend too was in the same boat.
On Monday,my friend very sheepishly gave me a gift telling me ” you need this”
Without further ado, I will let you in the secret. It was a bottle of CLR. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calcium_Lime_Rust). Those from Vancouver would know the annoying CLR tough ad that comes on during late night programs.
My house has 4 bedrooms and 2 bath. In Canada, we lived in a two bedroom basement suite with one bathroom and when we came here, kids and I continued to use the common shower.. I never used the shower in the master bedroom because I didn’t want to clean the glass doors. (If you have OCD, then you know how much time it requires to clean the soap scum from the glass doors..I am never happy till it is totally clean)
And I thought Kushu Ammachi was a loser..Ah the speck in my eyes..