What is the height of adventure? For some people it is jumping from a plane...for some it is bungee jumping or scaling a steep cliff. The thrill and the adrenalin rush it gives you is a heady feeling. For me the ultimate adrenalin rush comes with flirting with grave danger a.k.a calling my mother “edi leelamme.” The thrill it gives will beat sky diving with an umbrella any day!!!
I come from a family where calling elders by name is forbidden even if the elder is elder by a couple of months only! If you were to ask me what my grandfather’s youngest brother’s name is I wouldn't know and he is my favorite grand uncle too! He is called Kunjitappan (Kunju + chittappan). His eldest brother is called Perappan and the guy after him Chittappan. The wives also follow the same naming logic and that is 8 pairs of names that we kids memorized by habit by the time we were 6 or 7 years old. I have to call both my elder brothers "chetan" even though one doesn't deserve it at all :p Even cousin brothers who are elder have to be addressed as “chetan” and cousin sisters are “chechi.” It is more or less a habit now and as a kid I amused elders by calling cousin brothers close to my age as “eda cheta”
Luckily for us we are allowed to call my Dad’s five brother as “uncles”. However there was a hitch. Every person in my family both from my mother’s side and father’s side has a nick name…sigh. And remembering my uncles nicks was really tough. My Dad is called Kunjunju, the next Kunjooty and so on. We could never tell them apart and to the usual question as to which of the brothers kids were, we usually messed up royally :p My family is 500 strong so you can imagine the number of names we had to know. It came naturally as we have heard them being addressed with their nick since we were lil kids. But there is a hitch here too. We do not know their “real names” It was very recently that I came to know that two close friends and cousins called “Kunjumon” and “Ciby” were Mathew and Sebastian respectively and the revelation came when they came here for their interviews and my Dad was going over their papers. For the past 21-22 years I had never known that they were Mathew and Sebastian!!!
So this Saturday I sat down and got my mom to tell me the “real” names of people I know so well except for their ‘real’ names of course. And out tumbled the Antony’s and Abrahams and Korahs and Thomases out of the family closet. I just couldn’t believe that these people had normal names! :-O
What is more surprising and somewhat miraculous is that my Mom and Dad married into almost identical families as far as nomenclature traditions are concerned! Else they are as different as chalk and cheese :p
Coming to the height of adventure….now you can imagine the grave peril I subject my life and limbs to when I dare to call my mom “edi leelamme”. And it is the absolute faith in my ability to outrun my mom and stay out of sight till she cools down that makes me take the chance! :|