Summary of Appa-Mam and its Questions and Answers

Summary of Appa-Mam and its Questions and Answers 1

Summary of Appa-Mam and its Questions and Answers

SUMMARY OF APPA-MAM

Appa-mam is a short story written by Padma Hejmadi. The word ‘mam’ has been taken from Tamil which means Uncle. This is a humorous story that deals with a man who claims to be a sanyasi although he enjoys his living. Later he turns out to be a cheat.

Appamam is an uncle to the younger members and elders called him Appa. As elders called him Appa and he was an uncle, the younger of the family started calling him Appamam. Apart from this epithet, he was labeled with other epithets as ‘Shameless Rascal’ and ‘Old Burnt Face’.However, he took these epithets as titles or decorations. The narrator met Appamam for the first time when her mother took them to Madras to stay with her grandparents. They found Appamam seated in grandfathers chair wearing grandfathers dhoti and smoking bidi. His head cleans shaved and forehead coated with ashes, busy studying newspaper. Whenever asked about his whereabouts he always added that he is doing meditation wherein he had renounced worldly joys in search of spiritual knowledge but his behavior nullified everything.Later, Appamam announced that he was going on foot to the temple at Tirukazhukunram, and he would return by nightfall. Late in the evening, he came back after the day’s pilgrimage being dead tired. To his experience, he added that a few days of soft living had spoiled him. As a result, it was not possible for him to undergo even a single day’s starvation so, he didn’t eat the food packed in the container but gave to other pilgrimage and had been without food for two days.

Appamam was teased every time. When the younger uncle pretended to adjust his halo, he would say that it was always a little in the wrong position.

He discussed his nightmare that had become the part of family legend. He returned after three years during night time. The boys were away at college and the writer’s grandparents had gone to bed early. Suddenly a dark figure appeared at the gate calling “Premavati Premavati”. Grandmother woke up and got frightened for a moment waking up Grandfather as well who asked him where the ‘old burnt face’ had been. Actually, he had returned and brought back 25 rupees he had taken from the Grandfather’s desk which made Uncles decide that this virtuous act had brought on the nightmare. Later Grandfather woke up at midnight finding Appa man shouting some nonsense and dancing like a dervish around his bed. Grandfather stopped him and felt astonished to see that he had been sleeping all the time.

One day to the utter surprise of Grandfather, Appamam’s disciples paid a visit as they wanted a darshan and get blessings for he had been practicing meditation for years near North Indian village. Everybody made a critical remark that hardly mattered for Appamam. He gave a damn to everything, finished his breakfast, sat cross-legged under the neem tree and saw them one by one. Such an act surprised the members of the family who had never thought that Appamam could give blessings to others proving himself to be a real Sanyasi.

Later the story ends with a twist where two days later the earings of the writer’s aunt were missing with a remark that even Appamam was also not seen for days altogether. Appamam’s disappearance jolted the writer in her opinion about him.

Read Also: Attitude

CHARACTER SKETCH OF APPA-MAM

The character is portrayed as a lethargic, prodigal, lazy bone conman who is filled with confidence. Appamam was an ascetic or sanyasi. He was an easy going man, quiet lazy, funny and intriguing. Besides this he was unreliable. He lived with a comfort doing nothing useful himself or to others. As a result, it was assumed that he was a charlatan. He was fond of stealing things from the house and giving them to others. Newspapers and chairs were the only source of interest for him. Although he claimed to be a sanyasi there was nothing spiritual about him. As elders called him Appa and he was an uncle, the younger of the family started calling him Appamam. Apart from this epithet, he was labeled with other epithets as ‘Shameless Rascal’ and ‘Old Burnt Face’. However, he took these epithets as titles or decorations. He was as cheerful as ever. He had the art of saying different things to different people. He had a creative mind. He had a different story for each person depending on what he thought of their individual taste and appreciation. Appamam enjoyed smoking. He used to tell unbelievable stories . He would sit in the sun and sleep in the shade. He played cricket with the writer,s cousins and helped them with their algebra. He was rather lazy. The writer humorously says that he enjoyed life more than anyone else.

JUSTIFICATION ABOUT APPA MAM’S BEING A SANYASI OR NOT

Appamam’sway of being a sanyasi was unpredictable. It could not be correctly defined. There was no transparency. Appamam claims to be sanyasi but he leads a good life without caring for the opinion of others, follows his own lifestyle. Sometimes he would disappear from the house for many days without any explanation. Then he would reappear on the doorstep one morning unshaven and dressed in his saffron clothes and carrying his begging bowl. But he was as cheerful as ever. He had the art of saying different things to different people. He had a creative mind. He had a different story for each person depending on what he thought of their individual taste and appreciation. When he disappeared he took grandfather’s cuff links with him. On another occasion, he took ten rupees from Grandmother’s money which made members of the family lock up their belongings.

It was later found that as an ascetic he did not believe in worldly possessions, having nothing of his own. The writer’s mothers always defended Appamam saying everybody talk of his taking things but no one mentioned how easily he gave those things to the poor and needy.

When his disciples come to see him, the members of his own family feel amazed. Later the earings of the writer’s aunt were missing with a remark that even Appamam was also not seen for days altogether. Appamam’s disappearance jolted the writer in her opinion about him.

APPA MAAM’S DISCIPLES AND REACTION EVOKED IN THE FAMILY

Appamaam’s visit to different parts of the country and practicing meditation attracted different kind of people as his disciples including a mother with her baby, children, an old farmer, a cripple and a young couple. To the utter surprise of Grandfather, Appamam’s disciples paid a visit as they wanted a darshan and get blessings. Everybody made a critical remark that hardly mattered for Appamam. He said firmly that they should not laugh at him in the presence of his disciples. He wanted them to respect the faith which his disciples had in him which shut their mouth and they stopped laughing. However, he gave a damn to everything, finished his breakfast, sat cross-legged under the neem tree and saw them one by one. Such an act surprised the members of the family who had never thought that Appamam could give blessings to others proving himself to be a real Sanyasi.


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