Bee and queen bee

Getting things done – this is amma, all the way.

And what an incredible counterbalance she was to me and appa in this regard!

Imagine a household run by appa and me alone – the former never ever bothering to think about doing anything, and the latter never getting anything done.

Left to just the two of us, our house would have looked worse than a small child’s playroom – and that is how it has been looking since amma died.

Even the baby of the house, my three year old nephew, knew whom to approach when he wanted something from my house. When he wanted something from me, he would go straight to amma and state his demand, knowing fully well that if I did not give it to him within a few minutes, she would raise hell and get him what he wanted.

She might have made a smart manager had she been well educated. She knew the precise strengths and weaknesses of her subordinates – appa and I. She knew where precisely appa would have spilled the oats and the porridge in the morning, and would send me scurrying after him with exact coordinates to look for and clean up, but only after she had told me from where I should pick up the cleaning towel – she knew that if appa was an undisciplined student, I was an absent-minded professor.

Her memory of what things lay where in the house was quite stunning – even factoring in that ours is a small house, and that she had lived in it for over 50 years. On some days, she would ask me to go look for something in a most unlikely place. I would think she was batty – there’s no way it could be there – only to be shocked to find it exactly at the location she suggested. It is possible she was able to do this because she might have put it there in the first place, and besides, she lives in the house all the time. Still, I was amazed at her organized mind.

In 1998, during the dot com rush, I co-founded an online company along with some of my college mates. 35 Our “office” was basically a small mosquito-infested flat not far from my house. For about six months, we worked out of this hole until we received venture funding. My co-founders and a few folks who worked with us used to frequently come home, and amma was absolutely happy preparing food, coffee and anything else we needed, without ever looking tired or ever complaining about the extra work. She was already 60 years old, I had almost tripled her workload on many of these days, and she had no maid to help her at that time, but things got done without a hitch.

Amma drove us to do things, but only those that she could not do herself. Until her final few days at home, she continued to cook. Even when appa and I did this during her final week while she was mostly sleeping, she continued having her watchful eyes on us – whenever she opened them.

I have not seen amma being so meticulous when she travelled elsewhere. But once inside our house – her kingdom – she was as busy as a bee in doing things and as imperious as a queen bee in getting things done by appa and me. 36

Smartness that matters <= Bee and queen bee => Alive = active



35. We started one of India’s early search engines, called AppuOnline. Our company was also one of the first dot coms in India to receive venture capital in the form of seed funding from a private investor.

36. While it is perceived so, the queen bee apparently does not really control a hive. She however plays a vital role in the hive because she is the only female with fully developed ovaries, and thus helps in reproduction by laying lots of eggs, In addition, she produces chemical scents that help regulate the unity of the colony. So, she is really more the co-ordinator than the boss


HOME> LIST OF CONTENTSYou can also read Amma the fun way!



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.

Here’s the guide for a customised reading experience!


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