Bittergourds and Achacha

April 24, 2017

Bittergourd was one of a regular staples on our dining table in India when Achacha was around.


24 years ago on this day, Achacha passed away.


The love Achacha and Ammama shared can compete with the greatest love stories. When we are intensely in love with someone, parting them becomes unthinkable. Not Ammama!!! She always used to say, it is better Achacha leaves first, as he would never be able to cope without her 😥😢😭😪

Achacha's health was never on the stronger side. He fell ill easily, had a weak stomach and diabetes as well. In 1992 , he began to get progressively weak. His speech started to falter, hands shivered and hospital stays became progressively longer. Ammama never moved from his side. Never did she come home once. But she always smiled , cared for him lovingly.


His illness remained undiagnosed. Achan organised doctors from everywhere to visit him and diagnose his illness. All achan's effort remained futile.


Achan organised physios for him. As soon as the physiotherapist arrived , achacha's expression would fade. He would write angrily (by then his speech was difficult to understand) "tell her to go away". Towards the beginning of 1993, Achacha was diagnosed with the incurable Motor Neuron disease. Here each muscle progressively dies. It could be a slow painful death if you are truly unlucky. Ammama was totally unaware till the eve. She was still smiling and looking after him lovingly.


It was the rudest shock for her when he departed. I still remember that day when Achacha's body was brought home. As per the rites, Achacha was to be placed on the floor.


But Ammama had the final say here. She had their bed moved to the sitting room. She dressed him in his best clothes,sprayed his favourite perfume, watch on his wrist and specs on his nose. She was next to him hugging him. For an outsider, it was a couple in love👩‍❤️‍👨 ....sleeping together...


The day Achacha left was the day Ammama changed. Smiles became rarer, festival quieter and void larger.


The dishes he loved, disappeared from our table. This is one dish I cook, always thinking of him


Presenting Bittergourd curry with Ambazhanga




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