In the final five years of her life, her mobility had become fairly restricted and so it was mainly just me and appa for her, more so because she was not at all used to the digital world and social networking.
While she had lived with appa for over 50 years (we celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in 2014), they were poles apart in pretty much everything. And he was not as willing to change for her as I was.
My relatives who lived next door mostly minded their own business and had only limited interactions with her. She had telephonic or video discussions with my sister and nieces in the US, but these were fairly brief and infrequent.
I was the only one she could really turn to have a discussion on a daily basis.
I’m hardly a social person. I don’t use Facebook, I was perhaps the last in my extended family to start using WhatsApp – my standard refusal was “If someone really needs me, they will call me”. I’m not on any of the family groups on any digital platform. In fact, I don’t recall anyone that I can call a very close friend.
In a way, I’m glad that I am not much of a social animal, as this gave me a lot more bandwidth to think about and build a fairly deep relationship with amma.
Even for normal, sociable people, studies by researchers suggest that five is perhaps the maximum with whom close relationships are sustainable. 108 For near-sociopaths like me, I think the upper limit for close relationships will likely be much lower – perhaps just 1. That one for me was amma.
While discussions and talking were not my strong points, I did have interesting discussions with her on some days.
Our conversations were almost always short. We used to argue playfully at times, somewhat seriously at others. Given that I’m one of the worst conversationalists even with peers, it’s amazing that we two found common grounds for discussion even the few times we did. 109 I realized, regretfully after her death, that there were some themes I could have discussed with her were about her childhood, early life, schooling, and marriage. I have a feeling that she would have enjoyed talking about these. These will remain regrets.
But during any discussion with amma, I had to have my antennas up all the time. Because, how much ever friendly be the starting point of the discussion, I was fairly certain that the ending most times would not be equally friendly, as she inevitably managed to turn a discussion on any topic towards danger zones – my marriage, my inability to make good money, or some recent trivial omissions on my side.
A son might consider his amma his friend, but to an amma, her son is first a son.
Read Amma the fun way!
Do you know that you can read specific chapters alone of Amma depending on who you are and what interests you? So, we have selected chapters that could be of interest to young, middle-aged and old men & women, to medical and white collar professionals, to those wishing to know specifically about heart problems, blood pressure or leg ailments, medical management of seniors & elders, and even those interested in reading some fun and humour.
We even have a treasure hunt designed for you to ferret out 100+ interesting facts.