While growing up, she used to comb and clean my hair and while doing this job, I will insist that she should tell me stories. She told me cinema stories which she had seen. In those days we did not have any cinema theatres in our village and she had seen a few when she had the tailoring training in a nearby city and she will narrate all these stories to me. She often came to our house to sleep over and helped my mother in many ways. Both of them will sit together to design and stitch our dresses all the time sharing some stories.
She came with us to pluck the ripe tamarinds from the trees. We will climb up the trees through the lower branches of the trees and we will jump on these branches making the tamarinds to fall. In spite of her tailoring job she used to spend most of the time with us. In my childhood Annathai Akka was a central figure. My future plans at that time included her. When my mother became very ill when we were young, she took care of us and my mother and in appreciation of this help, I remember my parents presenting her a saree . She was a great support to my mother always. When my mother died at the age of 81, Annathai akka was there to give the final bath and dressing.
She had a uniquely designed pair of ear studs which I liked. In her twenties or so, she joined our Christian religious group in which people do not wear jewels. She was good looking and she was a tailor by profession and so many marriage proposals came for her. But she refused them for some reason or other. May be she waited for a better person. She remains single. Now, when I think of it, I wonder why my parents did not compel her to marry someone of their choice since they had much influence over her.
After I got married, whenever I went to my parents house there will be an invariable visit to see Annathai akka to taste her simple village food. She is a prayer warrior and her prayers for me and my children support us much. Once I was sick for a few days and my mother came to see me with Annathai akka and I was very happy to taste the food prepared by her. For a few months my husband arranged for a fasting prayer in our house, on second Saturdays. Annathai akka travelled about 150 km to support my husband in these meetings. She will arrive early morning with another sister and immediately start cleaning the house and the campus to keep it ready for the meeting.
Even now I sometimes long for her company and feel like going over to spend a few days with her. Recently she came and stayed with me for 3 days; but she was in a hurry to go back to water her plants. Her love for my mother, me, my children is unconditional. It is our duty to pass on this love to others with whom we come into contact.