Sunder Mama


I always called him Sunder mama ever since I can remember. Sometimes my cousin Supriya would call him Athimber or Raji Athai would refer to him as my Athimber, but I called him Sunder mama.

I remember I learnt the ‘jo-jo’ song from him. When I was very young, he would use it to rock me to sleep. Even now, I sometimes use it on my cat, Chotu, although it doesn’t really succeed in putting her to sleep quite as well as it did for me.

Every time he saw me as a teenager, he would call me by a whole lot of names (never my own) in his booming voice: Hello Miss Dia-bolical or Hello Miss Wicked or Hello Bandicoot! The last name in particular used to highly amuse me. I remember going into peals of laughter whenever he called me that.

We have been on many holidays together and have had good times. One of my favourites was when my family and Raji Atthai and Sunder mama went to Bangkok and Cambodia. We all had a wonderful time.

It is difficult to imagine that I will not be seeing him again.

[Prabha is my sister-in-law, my brother Babu/Subbu’s wife, and Daya is their daughter. Sunder never failed to visit them on his trips to Madras. His last days, before he went into hospital, were spent in their house, under Prabha’s loving care.]