Mother talks quite a bit of her ancestry, her grandfather had a houseboat and he used to go to Thiruvananthapuram via the Allapuzha canals.
My own grandma, who is a domestic goddess extraordinaire, as a young mother would jump into the pond to rescue little kids. I remember her tending to her animals, I think she was self sufficient in her own right. From morning, people would come to buy a few duck eggs, milk, salted mangoes, coconut fronds for fuel. They would come to her verandah, she presided from the kitchen. She used to wear lovely white muslin, mundu, chatta, and thattam. I call her Ummumma.
Delicious and amazing foods would come forth from that kitchen to the dining room. A lot of fish and coconut and rice. Vegetables from her sprawling garden. Mangoes.
She would sit down with her pot of curd, with a lid that had a hole to accommodate a butter churn. My undying love of butter probably stems forth from this memory.
When it is deep summer, coconut leaves would be cut down. My mother and her one sister in law would sit out, making brooms out of the sticks. Fresh green sticks would dry out to become brown broomsticks.
Grandma now sits in my aunt’s air conditioned room, I think she has much less energy after grandpa passed away. She looks at me and my children via the phone. I never know what to ask her.