ammadi thatha and milk bikis

ammadi thatha is so called because he called us all ammadi. he had all great grand daughters and just the one great grand son. but he preferred us girls. called us all ammadi. ammadi thatha was the best. he used to share his mid morning tea with all of us kids – one sip per child and a little for the doggo; leaving him with the most satisfied 2 sips at the last.
he would give us kids milk bikis. 2 per child. in the morning. and one teeny peppermint per child in the evening. he would come back from his evening walk, bringing with him hot snacks – bajji, bonda, murukku wrapped in newspapers. he was tall, majestic and the absolute definition of a man.
he never minded that the whole bunch of us tagged along like a herd of puppies. he enjoyed the attention. he treated his daughters in law so well, was strict with his sons and absolutely adored his grand kids and their kids.
always in a crisp white veshti and shirt, thatha would do his laundry and pressing himself. every morning he would wash his clothes before his bath. then make fresh Santhanam by rubbing the wood against the stone and keep the most perfect round pottu on his forehead.
he always smelled perfect. the undeniable smell of coconut oil, with a whiff of Santhanam and the trailing aroma of the two gold flake lights he allowed himself. he was perfection. ammadi thatha was perfection