Twenty Questions for Amma
1.What is the name of the book where we would first meet you?
Shiva’s Arms by Cheryl Snell. I come back in Bombay Trilogy.
2.What do you think of the author? You can tell us the truth.
She is soft like Alice, my daughter-in-law, but she is like me also. We know what is best for our children.
3.Tell us a little about yourself. How would you describe your appearance? That's more than just really cute or drop dead gorgeous. Give us enough detail to get a clear idea of how you look.
I am not yet five feet tall. My hair is half as tall. It is gray with my years. I wear the widow’s white sari only, for my husband’s sake.
4. What character are you in the book? Are you the hero, the best friend, the side kick, the hero and heroine's child or someone else?
We are always the hero in our own stories, correct? Correct!
I am the mother of Ramesh. He went after a love match, shame, shame! What can I do but teach his girl our ways?
5.Is there a specific reason why you're in the story? Don't give us any story spoilers, but you can share some teasers if you want.
I am in for Alice’s conflict. I fight for Ramesh. He must not become too Americanized.
6.How did you convince your author to put you in this book? For example, did you visit a dream or make yourself known some other way?
Oh, like how the goddess came to the mathematician to scribe formulas on his tongue? No. I stand in the center of the book. Others swirl around me. Alice thinks it is her story only, ha!
7. What time period do you live in?
8. Where are you from?
9. Do you live in the same place now?
No, I live with my son Ramesh and the wife Alice. Joint-family is honorable tradition, not like you Americans, keeping the old people in old people homes!
10. Tell us about your hometown and your current home.
I was raised in Kerala in Appa’s big stone house. When I was a girl, I shot the dacoits to defend family only. I married with Sambashivan at fifteen, and we escaped his mother, that blue-eyed devil, to Bombay. We raised many children. Since my husband died, I am staying with each son for some time. Then I come to America, for American tour only. Now I stay.
11.Tell us how your hometown or your current home affects you, the things you do and how you feel about life?
Once I stayed in Ramesh’s room only, but now those two are keeping me in the basement, in-law apartment, kitchenette included. There is shrine also, to teach my grandson Sam the pujas. I am the namesake of Shiva, god of Creation and Destruction, and he must know.
12. What special skills or abilities do you have?
I make dosa.
13. How do those affect your part in the story?
Friends come from all over to eat some. Indians are hospitable. Alice can stay in her room.
14. Are you happy with the story?
It was not yet time for my ticket. I am alive after stroke, and nice and sweet. Family gathers for my sake. Author is making me love Alice like family. Story is good.
15. Is there anything in your story you wish you had not done? Why?
I should not have fought fists with my daughter-in-law. Such excitement gave me stroke.
16. Tell us about your past. Can you share one really good experience and/or one really bad experience? I know that bad experience can be tough, but it would tell us more about what you've been through.
My daughter Nela disgraced me. Then we mended the fence, at last.
17. Who is the most important person in your life? Tell us about them.
Grandson Sam. He is good boy and loves his grandmother. When he was a baby, he slept with his little hand on my cheek all night.
18.Is that person in the story we're talking about?
19. How does that person impact you and your life?
He brings Nela to me in hospital. He sings to me, and I recover.
20. Do you think your author is going to write another story about you? Or, are you part of a series?
Yes, author is working! Nela is main character this time. I make the cameo. Author should have me be main character only. Title is Shiva’s Arms! I am Shiva, not Alice. My arms embrace and push away. My footfalls heard across continents.
It’s been great to talk with you. If you want to tell us anything else, feel free. Also, tell us about a website where we can learn more about you and where we can buy the book.
Thank you also. I am here