Translated by Vamanan
We had gone to a conference in Mallasamudram which was in the Tiruchengode taluk of Salem district. The members of the reception committee had quickly engaged themselves in cooking food for us. But Naicker could not bear to wait. ‘‘Let us wander round the place,’’ he said.
As we wandered together, we found a woman who was cooking ‘puttu’ on a street pyol. Naicker entered the place swiftly and bought the stuff from her. Both of us ate the puttu to own heart’s content. When we were about to wash our hands, the members of the reception committee who had searched for us all over the place found us to their astonishment.
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Nagammal was Naicker’s first wife. She was a very beautiful woman. Her qualities matched her beauty. Her perpetual smile indicated her happy temperament. Naicker was famous for his stinginess. She was exactly the opposite. She derived great happiness from serving guests. No visitor could leave without being treated to a meal.
She had immense affection for me. She knew the things I liked. The moment she saw me coming, she would call out to the servant boy, Hey you, Rama, and send him to the market to buy the things she needed to cook for me. One day when I was having my food along with Naicker, he turned to me and said, ‘‘Why the hell don’t you turn up here every day!’’
‘‘Why do you say so? Does the railway pay for my ticket for me to come here every day?’’ I replied.
‘‘But only when you come here I get some tasty food.’’ said Naicker. He was so jealous of me! The point is, he was damn angry at the expense!
(From Kovai Ayyamuthu’s Naan Kanda Periyar)