At the age of six, she was sent to her uncle’s house coz her parents couldn’t afford to provide for the growing family.
They understood the need for basic education and she was sent to the ‘palli school’ like every other member of the xian community did those days. She was one of those kids who lived alienated from the concept called lunch. The family didn’t expect her to continue her education beyond 4th standard. But, she was good in studies and her uncle made a special request to let her continue her studies to the authorities, even though the family didn’t have a single penny to fund her education. The convent recognized her potential and decided thus, at the age of 10, she was estranged from her parents and siblings. For, her free education she was supposed to take care of the needs of the other younger kids in the convent, who ended up there coz their lives were meant to be that way. Abandoned, orphaned or some who had no idea what fate landed them there.
She managed to complete 10th grade, did reasonably well and an English medium education was unthinkable for people from families like her’s. Just coz she was good at it, they had the kind heart to take care of her education. She couldn’t join the congregation as she didn’t have the money that needed to be given as contribution those days.
She had the option of completing her pre-degree as a private candidate. Without any textbooks, depending on whatever material she managed to get from neighbours and relatives she cleared her PDC exams. And then, a cousin in Bhopal needed someone to take care of her little kids while the cousin went on night duty. Thus, from a small town in central Kerala, at the age of 17 she landed in a totally strange city,to be of service for this particular cousin. The kids grew up, the night duties ended and she had to find another option. The extreme weather conditions started taking its toll on her too.
A clerical job in a book depot was the first step of her career. She saved most of it and sent it to her family, so that the younger siblings could also complete their education. Meanwhile, she managed to complete her graduation as a private candidate again. It was in this job, she discovered her love for literature and writing.
Those days, clearing an exam for a central government job was everybody’s dream. Several attempts and several failures later, she finally got one. And she sticked to it for over 3 decades.
She got married, she started to manage a family, juggled between her job and family duties, compromised a lot. She could have built a strong career but family came first for her. The only reason she continued to work was to supplement her husband’s income and provide the best for her child.
A strong pain in her back, wrong diagnosis and a wrong injection that turned out to be almost lethal, turned her life upside down. But, she has always been a fighter. Even though her health beat her several times, she kept going strong. Her will-power is what I admire in her the most. She fought for 8 years and finally gave up. The surgery was the final blow and now it is time to let go. For what she accomplished so far, she has done much more than what she could do.
Tomorrow, she leaves the organization she worked for, for the past 32 years. And I think this is the ideal time to say the untold story of a woman who is ALMOST everything that I am NOT.
Ma, you deserve a break from this race now. So, this is…wishing you a happy retired life. ( SHE reads my blogs :P)
I don’t know what others would say, but as a working mother you were just perfect.
Rather than trying to make up for the moments you couldn’t give me your attention when I needed it, you made me understand the circumstances that led to it. That was the best thing you could ever do for a daughter.
It was your enthusiasm to write letters to the editor that actually cultivated a habit of reading newspapers in me. Even though I could barely understand what you wrote,just seeing your name in the section made me swell with pride. And, that inspired me to write too.
You taught me, that having a barbie doll or a normal local made doll never made a difference. And you refused to buy me a barbie doll in spite of me making a huge fuss about it. That was the best lesson in self-restraint that you taught me.
You allowed me to have a birthday celebration at home, with friends just once in the past 23 years. But, when you took me to the orphanage on my birthday, you made me realize, how blessed I was.
I was miffed at the restrictions you placed, growing up was a pain and sadly, it took me several years to realize you were just right.
I never really bothered to read or appreciate your poetry until I stepped into my twenties just coz, anything written in 4 lined stanzas repelled me. Today, when I read them I just feel like kicking myself for ignoring them.
YOU ARE THE COOLEST MOM EVER.
(What a relief when I didn’t try to play circus with words here)