What a Life! Salute!

She was born 91 years ago into an affluent and rich family. She was smart, strong and a fast learner. She got married at the age of 14 and by 32 she was a widow with 4 kids to look after ( her eldest kid had settled down by then) and one in her womb. That was only the beginning of a long journey that she had to travel alone. When one is going through the lowest phase in one’s life, there are only two options . Option no. 1: play a victim to the circumstances. Option no.2: look ahead, decide to move on and never look back.

When she sat on the steps of a well to jump in and end her life, she was clearly choosing option No.1. But then the little life within her had its own destiny to live a beautiful life here and perhaps that was the reason she chose not to jump in. Life won over death!

Life henceforth was not easy. But when the going gets tough, the tough gets going!  That is exactly when one learns about one’s hidden strengths. No education system teaches as much as life does. This fifth grade pass learnt everything the hard way and she excelled in everything she did. There were problems. But when one decides to move on, problems are only hurdles which you will anyway jump over.

She gave birth to her sixth child. With the little financial help that she got from her brothers, and her faith in the supreme power, she started off. She made sure her kids were educated, she built a house, she went to the fields to supervise the work there, she took care of the finances, she cooked and cleaned, she nursed her sick kids, she ensured there was enough stock of grains and other provisions at home, she made sure all those who visited the house were taken care of…. She did all this in an orthodox male dominated society. She was playing the role of the father and the mother. She walked with her head high and feet firm on the ground.

She ensured none of these circumstances affected her kids’ education. None of the kids dropped out of school. Even at times when girls dropped out of school by middle school , 4 of her daughters graduated and got jobs. Her son stood by her and helped her in whatever way he could. Educating and making her kids self sufficient was one of her biggest dreams. She got all her kids settled with the right education, respectable careers and supportive life partners.

Strong, Independent, Confident, Focused, Hardworking , the adjectives to describe her can go on and on. And I always thank her for choosing option 2 during the hardest phase of her life. The life within, which gave her the strength to take that decision was my mom and I am so proud to belong to a superwoman like her.. My beloved granny!

We talk a lot about how women are single handedly doing so many things today. She did it all , and did it so well, 58 years ago!

As a kid, I loved coming home to granny’s delicacies. All my memories about her are that of her in action. She would either be cooking, cleaning or reading the religious books. She never missed reading the newspaper. She followed a very strict routine every day. After all the hard work during the day, she still had the energy and enthusiasm to tell us stories at night. We kids loved to see her dentures floating in a jar of water at night and the way she brushed it and slide it back into her mouth was our favorite sight.

Like all grannies, she loved to tell us the stories of her life. We have heard it a thousand times and we still hear it. As small kids, those seemed like stories of heroism. As teenagers they were stories that we were tired of listening to. Now, as adults, those are stories that bring a smile to our face, glad that we have the good fortune of hearing it one more time.

Each time she narrated it to us, we would tell her that this would be a good story to write a book or may be make into a movie. She would laugh out loud and tell everyone that her grandchildren thought her life story could make a good book. I never thought I would be writing this story of hers, feeling proud to belong to her, feeling blessed to still have her with me and feeling nostalgic going through her story in my head.

What a life! Salute!





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