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Aththamma’s Story | Diyamanthi Galpoththage | Auckland

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Little Miss & Aththamma

Have you ever woken up to a pitter patter of little rain drops falling on your window. Or watched the purple Jacaranda flowers falling in the rustling wind to form a carpet under the trees . Or listened to a host of house sparrows cheep and chirp on a tree top. The beautiful feeling just opens up your heart making you want to smile. Grand daughter is someone like that for me, opens up a world of love, joy, surprises and transports me back to my carefree childhood days of amazing fairy tales full of fairies, pixies, elves, lady birds, squirrels, rabbits, dwarfs, giants and of course books etc.

Enid Blyton, Sybil Wettasinghe, Lewis Carroll are some of the authors whose writing helped to create my childhood fantasy world.

Our three-year old granddaughter from Brisbane visited us in Auckland a few days back. I have so many sweet adorable memories of her. Some encounters were full of surprises while others were just plain sweet.

One day little Miss walked up to me with a red book in her hand. She held a red pen in the other hand.

Little Miss started to chat with me.

What is your name, Aththamma?

I was taken by surprise, and said ‘My name?’

She said, ‘Yep’

Smiling to myself, I blurted out,’Diyamanthi Aththamma’

‘Yep, I am writing your name in this book with the red pen’

My name is so long so I wanted to simplify it for her. So I tried to separate my long name into syllables, thinking that writing my name for a three year old will be very difficult. (Di-Ya-Man-Thi    Ath- Tham- Ma!)

So I started to say in syllables,’Di’

She said,’Yep’ and started to write in her book.

‘Ya’I said the second syllable loudly.

She said,’Yep’ and continued to write, not bothered by my loud tone.

Then I said, as loudly as possible, ‘Man’

‘Yep,’ she said, continuing to write.

Again I said loudly,’Thi’ (Poor me thinking that Little Miss cannot comprehend)

‘Yep’ She took a while to think, and then began to write again.

‘Ath’ Now my voice has become softer as she is writing very seriously.

‘Yep’ She continued to write.

I  said softly, ‘Tham’

‘Yep’ She said.

‘Ma’ My tone changed as soft as a lullaby.

‘Here you go! I write your name!’Little Miss finally said, jumping up.

Bubbling with enthusiasm, handed over the red book to me with a very broad smile and utmost satisfaction of completing the difficult task of writing Aththamma’s long name.

‘Thank you duwa’I took the book from her and opened the page, not knowing what to expect.

It was full of small vertical lines, circles, dots and just strokes with the red ink. That was my name written by the three year old Little Miss.

The red book became one of my precious gifts from the Little Miss.

The book is yet another addition to my collection of gifts from my granddaughters.  The collection has cards, painted flower pots, leaflets with first attempts to write in Sinhala etc., all precious gifts from two little granddaughters in Auckland and Brisbane to Aththamma, transporting me back to my childhood world of fairy tales!

By Diyamanthi Galpoththage – Auckland

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