Amma and Kala Jamuns

Amma and Kala Jamuns


“It is Suman calling”

Sridhar Patel gave the phone to his 60-year-old wife Anu. She came running to the phone and said, “Beta, how are you?”

 “I am good Amma. How is your fever and pain in the knee? I sent some ointments by post. Use them regularly. Your grandson Teju started going to school. I miss your Kala Jamuns a lot, Amma.”

Suman spoke from the other side emotionally. Her eyes were filled with tears for their son, Suman.

“When are you coming, Suman? Two days back I made Kala Jamuns and I felt very bad that I could not send you.”

 “Very soon, I will come and spend time with you Amma. I am planning for a long time, but because of office work, I am not able to come. Last year, I planned the trip with family but Teju fell sick and I could not make it. After that, I went to Germany for six months to start a new branch.”

Suman added, “Amma I am getting another call, we will talk this Saturday again in detail”.

With a promise to come soon and talk soon, Suman ended the call.

Anupama and Patel are spending their retired life peacefully away from their only son Suman. Suman settled in the United States with a high-profile career, in a very important position in his company. Suman is one of the model sons of modern India where most sons and daughters settle down abroad for their careers.

In the early days of their going, they would start with a strong will to take their parents along with them. As life progresses the realities make the children reconcile to the inevitability of separation, with an ever-alluding promise of union, to the ageing parents.

Patel and Anu reconciled for a weekly Video chat with Suman, and his family. Affection, love and many emotions for Suman are packed and presented in the weekly video meeting. Anu breathed and lived for Suman and his well-being. She dedicated herself to him till he left for the USA for his education. Suman also reciprocated the mother’s affection and pampering until he did not flutter for freedom. Since then, it was a balancing act for Suman between emotion-filled parents and fast-paced personal life.

Suman was forced to give priority to fulfilling his career objectives. He progressed so well that he became the prisoner of his ambitions at this time of life. Every time Suman called his mother, she would get a promise from him to come to India. Invariably the promise would get bigger and the scope would increase in the next call and after a few times, the promise would grow so big that it would blow off with its complexity.

First, Suman would plan to take a vacation alone and spend two weeks, next he would include his family in the trip. Next time an office assignment would be planned in the nearby country. Then he would also include a friend’s marriage event. Already the plan would have swelled and grown so wild that it would look cumbersome. And in the next iteration, events like his wife’s cousin's wedding would blow away the complete plan and he would initiate a new schedule with a new hope. This was the way, Amma and Papa got their life well settled with lots of hopes and wishes.

Anu’s unbounded affection for the son often would translate into a wish to give a dish of Kala Jamuns to Suman. And that is the best he would love to have from Amma. Suman would mention in every phone call that he would come and spend days eating only Amma’s food and especially, her Kala Jamuns. Amma would tell a story to all her friends and relations about Suman and his craze for Kala Jamuns,      

Suman finally made his visit to India's dream come true. He declared to his Amma “Our company planned a technical presentation in India. I will try to manage at least four days' stay with you. I will eat at least two dozen Kala Jamuns. Amma please prepare a lot, I will treat my office team with Kala Jamuns”.

Amma and Papa had no bounds for their joy. They planned four days of events and a food menu for four days. They made the required preparations in the house.

A phone call from Suman just a day before “Sorry Amma, we are not able to start as planned. We will just come for two days of meetings. I will have to stay with my boss.” and added further, “We will meet and spend a lot of time. I am booking a room in the hotel near the place where our team is planning to stay. Prepare the Jamuns and bring them in a container. I will serve my team with Jamuns in the lunch.”

Suman sent the details of the Hotel to Amma and Papa.

With curtailed enthusiasm and with shock disappointment, Amma made a lot of Kala Jamuns and packed them into one container to be shared with Suman’s friends. For Suman, she put a few in a separate container to be given to Suman exclusively.

Amma and Papa were ready and were waiting for the next move from Suman. They were ready to receive Suman at any time, instead, there was a phone call from Suman. “Amma I arrived with my team but the plane landed late, we are getting delayed for the meeting with our chairman. Just be ready. As I get free I will join you Amma. I am sorry Amma. I am longing for Jamuns.”

The whole night Amma waited. A short message from Suman “We are still in the meeting. The meeting may continue till midnight. Don’t wait for me. In the morning we have to submit revised documents. I have to work the whole night.”

Amma and Papa did not get sleep. Amma was looking at the Jamuns she wanted to give to Suman. 

There is another message at 10 in the morning. “Come to the Diamond Hall in the Hotel. The address of the hotel is given already. In Diamond Hall, our meeting with the chairman and the chief minister is taking place. I am organizing a security pass for you”. Amma and Papa rushed to the hotel with the box of Jamuns, leaving the big container with Jamuns back in the hotel.

Papa and Amma entered the Hotel, bustled with lots of security people and activity. It looked like Chief Minister and high-ranking people are there at the conference. Papa and Amma were checked for security and asked to keep the Jamun Box away. Amma hesitated and argued but it was in vain.

In the big hall, some small group discussions were happening. Suman was also busy with one group. After waiting an hour Suman came out of the group and took mother and father a few chairs away and spoke with a broad smile on his face. “Amma our company got ten million worth of work orders. I was working for last so many days on that project. Our chairman and directors are also here. They are happy about me.”

Amma interrupted “You have gone so much thin. Are you not having food on time?”

Suman replied “I am fine and healthy, Amma. Today I am going with the team to Singapore. I will come back very soon to spend a lot of time with you.”

Amma continued “There are Jamuns in the box, made for you and got it here. It is there in security.”

Suman pleaded “I will try to pick them up from security write your name and my name on that box” Saying that Suman joined the meeting back. While leaving, Suman touched Amma affectionately. Amma’s eyes filled with tears and she covered her face with Kerchief.

Leaving the box Amma and Papa went to their hotel room and they had their train back home in the evening. After some time there was a message from Suman to collect the sweet box from Security as he had to leave for Airport urgently and he did not have time to pick up the Jamun box.

Amma cried loud in the hotel room and felt that Suman did not have a place for Amma’s feelings. It was not that he did not have time. Amma got dejected and said “Let the Jamuns be dumped in the dust bin”, left the box in security and went away to catch their train.


Mangalampalli Vallinath





  • Vallinath Mangalampalli

    A retired computer professional. I like writing off beat themes. Generally the characters are taken from average, middle class families. I have lot of interest in reading books about cosmos and western philosophers. I belong to Hyderabad, Telengana.

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