Friday, July 22, 2005

Aamoi

Mom was unwell. I got to know when she was recovering. When I called she was sleeping so didn't want to disturb. Next day, she called me and I knew she was feeling better. A little breathlessness due to weakness, but otherwise cheerful enough.

During this time mom's little helper was in charge. He cooked (with some help from dad) and cleaned and ordered mom to eat. "You are not going to recover otherwise", he made it clear to her. Mom, stifling her grin, nodded in all seriousness.

Aamoi then landed up and cooked some tasty and strength regaining food for mom and she felt really good, she said. I was surprised. Aamoi wasn't well herself. The last I heard both her kidneys were damaged and she herself didn't think she would live very long. Not too long back, she had come over, in her weak state, to eat her favourite but advised-against dish. Mom made it and she quickly licked her plate clean before her husband came to pick her up.

Aamoi is mom's friend. It's not her name. We just call her that. I don't know why we didn't call her "aunty" like mom's other friends. They were together in college and in the hostel. In fact, they share the same name too. Except for a couple of years when my parents moved to some strange place after marriage, mom and Aamoi have even been living in the same town. When they were in different states, I guess they kept in touch somehow.

Aamoi's husband managed a tea estate and I remember countless parties we had. Mostly at their bungalow. They changed a couple of houses but each time it would be a sprawling wooden bungalow on stilts. Below, the cars would be parked and there were rooms called 'servant quarters' in those days. The wide wooden stairs lead to grand living quarters. There was an open patio followed by cozy carpeted rooms with fireplaces. Lot of plants around. There was also a glass walled patio where parties in winter were enjoyed without the biting cold. And in summer, you could get lost in the huge gardens. Only laughter and music were heard.

Aamoi was an excellent host. She looked like an actress, so beautiful with her short hair that turned outwards. She had 3 cooks whipping up the most delectable dishes, but for us kids she often cooked herself. Delicious treats that children so love. Her elder son was a special child, disabled. He's still one of my favourite people. Such innocence on a 30 year old face! The daughter and my bro fought like cats and dogs but still played together. And there was a youngest son too.

Some years back, Aamoi's daughter was murdered. By the son-in-law. It caused a lot of sensation and, instead of a husband-murdering-wife case, blew out of proportion and got ugly. Aamoi and her husband never recovered. After that, they lost their balance. Not mentally, but somehow they aged and looked like they had given up on life.

"Why is she not picking up the pieces and getting on?" I asked mom, unable to bear seeing her like that. And one day, mom trusted me enough to tell me, "It's not easy. Aamoi has never found much happiness in life. Her husband had an affair with her own sister."

I was dumb founded. Her handsome husband, Taawoi, (yes, we call him that, maybe to match Aamoi!!) wasn't what he seemed to be? All my childhood memories got distorted. I remembered him dancing with Aamoi, pulling mom to dance too. He looked and behaved like an actor and always smelt good. We kids loved him so much. Then why? I guess I will never know any more.

I have asked Aamoi to come to Bombay, promising to take her to the best doctor who will cure her of everything. She laughed and I saw her eyes light up for an instant as she looked at me fondly. "Did you hear what she said? Go to Bombay with her! I will. I will."

I am suddenly glad Aamoi has mom close to her. And mom has her. I am glad of a friendship that has lived with them. I am glad they have each other to pour out their hearts to. In times, good and bad, I think they have proved the friendship adage true.

22 Comments:

Blogger hope and love said...

touching.. actual life is so diffrent from what it appears from the outside..
sad..

1:45 PM  
Blogger Rat said...

No family is really how it seems to the outside world is it !! Ammoi sounds like a lovely person and its tragic she had to endure all this.

1:46 PM  
Blogger sanguine said...

with her own sister. thats really sad.
lots of prayers for Aamoi . n ya bring her to mumbai , we will meet her too.
what does aamoi mean ? maasi ?

lovely post, as usual.

2:18 PM  
Anonymous subs said...

Am glad Ammoi and your mom are such good friends. Nobody knows you better than friends :)

2:44 PM  
Anonymous radhika said...

I am suddenly glad Aamoi has mom close to her. And mom has her.

and i am glad they have you :-)
very touching indeed. here's wishing the best for all the three of you :-x

2:46 PM  
Blogger gulnaz said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

5:15 PM  
Blogger gulnaz said...

you write so sweetly and poignantly, i love reading your posts!
i hope your mum is better now. her freindship with amoi is priceless!

one just never knows all the things people have to hide. most of the times we get through without letting anybody know but just sometimes we come undone. its good she has your mum to support her.

5:19 PM  
Anonymous Ash said...

Best wishes to you mom and Ammoi..they are indeed lucky to have each other. There really is no treasure like a best friend :)

8:30 PM  
Blogger Prerona said...

beautiful. sent this to a friend. hope ours lasts like this. ur post reminded me of her :)

9:28 PM  
Blogger shub said...

lovely. tugs at the heart.:)

10:13 PM  
Blogger Parna said...

loss of a daughter and in such a manner. it is definitely not easy to pick up the pieces. life itself is bigger than reel huh?

i sincerely wish Aamoi recovers.

10:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

touchwood!! and am sure that kind of depth in friendship...only they will know and understand!

bips

12:23 AM  
Blogger Nupur said...

......this is so heartfelt.

It is hard to find friends like these and even harder to continue the friendship through the years... with family and work and everything in between tugging you away.

I hope your mother is feeling much better. Get Ammoi to Mumbai.. and may be gave her some beautiful memories she can cherish in the days and years to come.... reading abt the kind of person she is, it seems she deserves so much better than what she has been given.

5:29 AM  
Blogger venkat said...

wonderful post Anumita.I hope Aamoi won't give up on life,come to Mumbai and take the help and take care of her health.Her husband cheating on her with her sister is horrible. Who needs a sister like her sister?

8:49 AM  
Blogger Gangadhar said...

And I'm glad that Aamoi and your Mom close together..Some people are so crafty like Aamoi's husband..I've seen a story in Arundhati's blog in which a husband acts so smart at freinds and misbehaves at his wife privately!!

1:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i hope n wish my relationship with some of my friends last my lifetime just like ur mum's n ammoi's
jo

4:59 PM  
Blogger anumita said...

hope n love: It is indeed.

rat: I am beginning to realise this now. Aamoi is a gem.

sanguine: The sis used to visit them often and stayed for long periods. And Aamoi was busy with her school. She runs a school for children with special needs.
Dont know what it really means. I think, "mother's friend".

subs: They are great pals and laugh so much together.

radhika: Actually I am hardly there but I know Aamoi is pretty fond of me.

gulnaz: Thanks, mom's better now. Reminds me, got to call her.
Yes, they share a great bond. They become a set of giggly girls.

ash: Right. I am really glad for them. It's priceless.

ricer: Thanks. Hope your friend likes reading it. :)

shub: It is. Touches me to think of her.

parna: Losing your only daughter and that too in such a ghastly manner. And a son who can barely use the toilet himself.
But I have lovely memories of her.

bips: You are right. They tell each other rude things, very matter of factly, and never feel bad about it! Best thing is, they have accepted each other for what they are.

nupur: I wish she would come. Just to stay with me for a few days. She's a wonderful person and good fun.
Since she runs a school for special children, she's happy when I buy cards and little things the children make at school.

venkat: Her husband is not really a bad person. He did cheat her. But now they are both sailing in the same boat that seems to be stranded with no shore in sight.

gangadhar: I read arundhati's story. I guess the difference is they are a young yuppie couple in the US. She can make a choice. Aamoi probably didn't have that luxury at that time. And things are complicated when you own little sis is involved.

jo: I know. I wish the same too. Hubby has his childhood buddy close by. So I am happy for him.

12:34 AM  
Blogger Pallavi said...

yeah it must be good to have a friend in your mom and you trying to get her to your place.. she will love it .. Ia m sure... sometimes.. tragedy just changes life but its friends who can help them through and through..

6:05 PM  
Blogger hope and love said...

hmmm.. may her soul rest in peace..
how is ur mom..?

9:38 AM  
Blogger Priyanka Mahanta said...

I'm sorry to hear of your Aamoi. My prayers for her soul to rest in peace. Yes, u are so right. Its so important for all of us to have atleast 1 good friend who we can pour out our heart to. Your ma must be feeling very sad and lonely at the loss of her best friend. Take care, girl.

3:47 PM  
Blogger mommyof2 said...

Very touching! I have tears in my eyes after I read the line about her husband's affair. Some people get the best even thought they don't deserve it. Your Aamoi sound like a wonderful person. I hope she rest in peace & gets the best in her next life.

12:12 AM  
Blogger sanjay jha said...

nameste,
friendship is priceless...
life goes on,cheers.
jhaji.

9:25 AM  

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