My First Kiss (no confessions)


My first Kiss

Now Delirious! You can’t ask a nice and nearly 64 year old Madrasi Matron these kind of questions!

But I can tell you a lot about kisses! When we moved to Mauritius, the French custom in use there of bussing cheeks three times was new and not very comfortable. My husband, the conservative TamBram gentleman who was used to handshakes only and had not graduated to even hugs, especially found this a very uncomfortable situation.

My 70+ father-in-law was used to going for long walks. He would stop and talk to absolute strangers and if they were of Tamil origin (5% of the population) they would completely adopt him (and us) as their long-lost relative. One such family had a nonagenarian who firmly believed that he was her little brother whom she had left behind many decades ago in Tamil Nadu. We would visit the old lady once a month or so and she thought that our visiting day was Diwali and Chritmas (Noel) rolled into one. She would sit up, all dressed in a bright sari and each of our six member family had to kiss her much to the discomfiture of my FIL, MIL and husband. This led to the classic statement of my husband Raju, “If she did not insist on kissing me, I would visit her every week”. After one visit to India, we presented her with a red Kashmiri shawl. She would keep it under her pillow and when we visited her, come summer or winter she would drape it around her shoulders. She wept copious tears when we left Mauritius and gave us an overdose of kisses. She had instructed her daughter that the shawl should cover and accompany her in her last journey. Her daughter wrote to us saying that this wish was fulfilled after her passing away.

Another instance was when my FIL was in the hospital for a cataract surgery. The Tamil Nurses were delighted to have him in the hospital. In those days you had to stay many days in the hospital unlike now when you are in and out in a matter of two hours. My FIL’s eye could not be operated because of severe reaction to the anaesthesia with his BP going haywire. So he was just kept under observation. When we went to meet him, he complained that the nurses were demanding kisses in Tamil every few hours or so. “Mutham kudu” meant give a kiss. We were a bit surprised and when we asked the nurse what the matter was, he said, “Sir. He is a diabetic. We need to check his urine regularly!”

The fact was that the nurse had mispronounced the Tamil words…mutham meant kiss; moothram meant urine!!

Well! I find that in the past few decades, in the UK and India giving a hug and bussing has become much more prevalent as a means of greeting. The best and sweetest kisses I have received, even on the phone, have been from my two granddaughters and my grandnephews and grandniece!!

Welcome to the Friday Loose Bloggers Consortium where Anu, Ashok, Conrad, DeliriousGaelikaa,  GrannymarMagpie11Paul, Maria the Silver Fox, Rummuser , Will Knott, Shackman and I write on the same topic. Please do visit the linked blogs to get  different flavours of the same topic.

About padmum

You could call me Dame Quixote! I tilt at windmills. I have an opinion on most matters. What I don't have, my husband Raju has in plenty. Writer and story teller, columnist and contributer of articles, blogs, poems, travelogues and essays to Chennai newspapers, national magazines and websites, I review and edit books for publishers and have specialized as a Culinary Editor and contributed content, edited and collaborated on Cookbooks. My other major interest used to be acting on Tamil and English stage, Indian cinema and TV. I am a wordsmith, a voracious reader, crossword buff and write about India's heritage, culture and traditions. I am interested in Vedanta nowadays. I am now an Armchair traveller/opinionator/busybody!
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5 Responses to My First Kiss (no confessions)

  1. Grannymar says:

    Hugging is very much part of any greeting for me. I have at times returned home after a function with aching arms from all the hugs!


  2. Rummuser says:

    That muttham bit is hilarious! I can picture the old folk totally uneasy with all the kissing!!


  3. Delirious says:

    I’m looking forward to those grandchildren kisses My daughter is marrying in August, and hopefully it won’t be too many years before I have my own little grandchild to kiss!


  4. Maxi says:

    I’m with GM, hugs are very much a part of greeting one another ’round here.
    blessings ~ maxi


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