The Last of the Maamis

As a rule I’m not too fond of the maamis. The ones that insist on being madi*, the ones that fret over rahu kaalam** and yama kandam**, the ones that don’t enter the kitchen during their period, the ones that insist that other women in the house follow these rules at the same time cutting the men slack, the ones that think that a woman’s place is in the kitchen, the ones that gossip when a couple does not have a child after a year of being married, the ones that flaunt their Reebok shoes and their thick ropes masquerading as thaalis# during their morning walks, the ones that sport incongruous “Penn State” bumper stickers on their Maruti 800 cars.

I’ve been very happy that my grandmom is extremely un maami like for her generation and my mom tends more towards non maami except the odd instance here and there when her maami traits do show through . And me? Nah, after years of careful cultivation I’m practically non maami.

Yesterday I received a gift from a colleague.  A “Horlicks bottle” full of mavadu##. Homemade by his mother.

Needless to say I was thrilled and was trying to come to terms with how much mavadu she must have made to offer non family so much. I sent up a silent cheer to her and stopped in my tracks. Now this was a maami trait I appreciated quite a bit! My grandma did make mavadu, but now her health does not really allow too much of work. My mother was never a pickle – vadam person. My mother does supply me with my sambar podi and rasam podi and she makes her own idly maavu. With assorted members of the family having been afflicted with high BP, high cholestrol, diabetes etc, the bhakshanam@ being made has completely dwindled. We were never a family of sweet eaters – so sweets are a no show again. And who do we have to take this rich legacy forward in the family?  Me.

Maamis are facing extinction. And are being replaced by Grand Sweets. Not a very comforting thought that.

* Madi: Being pure, a requisite to perform pujas etc

** Rahu kaalam and yama kandam: Inauspicious time in a day

# Thaali: Mangalsutra

## Mavadu: A kind of pickled raw mango

@ Bhakshanam: Snacks and sweets made for a festival or occasion