When we were young, my dad used to cut our nails every Sunday. It was like a ritual for him to gather us kids around to trim our nails. I used to bite my nails till I was about 8 or 9 and used to get reprimanded by my dad every week since he would not find any nails on my fingers. I used to get a speech about how biting nails with teeth is not allowed in our house and that it is such a bad and yucky habit.
One night when I was 10, after I got into bed, which was a pai and thalagani because it was super hot in summer and minimum was always preferred, I felt something making its way up my ankle and leg. I shook my leg once and still felt something crawling up. I screamed and jumped out of my position and switched on the light to find out what was crawling up my leg. I was thinking more in the lines of cockroach or ant. What I found instead was a long big yellow and black centipede wriggling away from my pai. My mom quickly got a broom to sweep it away and threw it out of the house. I was trembling the whole time thinking of its size. My mom came back and told me that it was because of my nail biting habit (echai pannarathu) that we are getting all these critters in the house. After that day, I never bit my nails nor do I echai pannify. I will wash my hands immediately even if I have to do so. I still have a vivid memory of that black and yellow centipede. End of digression.
When I went to meet appa in January, I saw that his nails were little longer than he usually allows them to grow. I offered to cut his nails. I have done it for my grandpa and my father-in-law. So I thought he would also let me do it for him. He looked at his nails and said 'I can do it myself. I don't need you to do it for me'. Saying so, he got up and went to his office room where he usually kept his nail cutter and cut his nails. He came back to show me his nails and said 'I am capable of doing my own things. I will ask you when I am unable to do it myself.'
He wanted to do everything by himself and probably asked only my mom for certain things. What was under his control, he wanted to keep it in control and not give it up easily.
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