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Ratnam Mama

My interaction with my mama was mostly in my school days, till they shifted to New Delhi. There were many names by which we used to refer him …….. firstly, he was Neyveli mama to us; later just mama or as Pedda Mama sometimes; then he became Delhi mama and then Bangalore Mama!!

One incident from my childhood days, I remember vividly.

There is a small village near Neyveli, called Vadalur. There used be a temple fair every year there. We all, means my family, Lalitha Atha & family and Atha & family used to go on a day-trip every year for this fair. We children (5 + Chinni + Sujatha) would get allotted to any one of the 6 adults; we were supposed to hold his / her finger and not leave it, come what may! In one such trip, I was with mama. While going through the various shops, I saw a shop selling Coca-Cola and I told mama I want it. He said, no these are chemicals, not good for health and took me away / further in the fair / market. Like any other small kid, I got diverted, totally forgot about Coca-Cola and got back to enjoying the rare outing. On the return journey, I got into mama’s car and said I will go to Atha’s house and play with Chinni, as I do often. While we were playing in the garden, Atha called us and gave 1 full glass of freshly squeezed lime juice! She even placed 1 ice cube in it!! Getting ice cube was a great privilege for us. Much later, at the end of the day as I was lying on my bed, I remembered the Coca-Cola that mama did not get me and also the lovely lime juice Atha gave.

I can say Mama is one person who was always affectionate and sincere with us children, never cheats on kids. Apparently, he told Atha about my asking for Coca-Cola and fulfilled my forgotten wish with lime juice!!

Incidentally, Coca-Cola was later on banned in India. It was allowed again after several years.

That it is a chemical, strongly embedded in my mind. I never touch any of these aerated soft drinks, right from my school days. Same thing I have told to my children and never bought these for them. We go a step forward, spend a few rupees more and buy fruit juices only, even now.

We learnt a few life lessons. He will always live in our hearts and guide us through our

journey of life .

Thank you Shoba Vadina for giving me an opportunity to be a part of Ratnam Bawa’s

Centenary website.

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