It is International Women’s Day today. And I wish to celebrate two women with whom I have gone on an extremely long journey with. Covering close to 64 years; my dearest mother Saratha Devi, and my sister Ragini.
I come from a family of primarily women. Out of six of us, four are women. My mother, myself the eldest child and eldest daughter and two sisters. My late father and brother being the males in the family.
This year in particular, I wish to celebrate my 91+ year old mother and my sister Ragini. For the effort and determination they were both jointly engaged in as mother became mentally stimulated these past three years. Since July 2015, my sister Ragini and I have been the primary caregivers of my parents. (However from 2012, sister Ragini and I took over the management of our elderly parents home and their general well being. My brother focussed on their medical care).
Amma, my mother had been a full time mother and homemaker all her married life. She had to stop schooling during World War 2, but unfortunately did not return to school after the war; her parents, my grandparents had not seen the need. As such Amma, although very intelligent and spirited (she scored A’s in her algebra at school, was somewhat active in sports, even winning a prize, performed in dramas and studied some music) was soon relegated to housework and needlework, the usual preoccupation felt befitting of many girls and women in those days - the first half of the 20th century.
As I grew up, I remember Amma vividly telling, that I (and my sisters) must have an education, and go on to university and work! She would often say she had missed all that. i think she yearned to complete her education and to study further, but somehow it was not her lot in life to pursue that even after marriage. She was too devoted a mother, wife and daughter in law. Everyone else’s need was more important to her than hers!
Sister Ragini too, was aware of Amma’s deep wish to have studied. When we took over as primary care givers, one of the first things Ragini did for Amma, was to introduce her to word search, then to simple sudoko. The week that Ragini is on duty, she comes armed with sheets of word searches for Amma. Amma in turn looks forward to the different topics of the word searches. Amma gave up though on sudoko after a while, finding it difficult.
So at 88 years of age, Amma began to work at word searches and sudoko (for a while) as part of her daily morning and afternoon routine. Alternating that with reading and writing. And occasionally playing scrabble with my late father and me. Tasks that she never could make the time to do, only because she kept on daily serving others and enjoying it, well into her 80’s.
Today, Amma at 91years, looks forward to the dawn of each day, seated at her desk working diligently at these word searches. Challenged by some of them, breezing through others.
Two women - mother and daughter (my sister) each contributing to their karmic journey with and for each other.
Amma wants to be reborn in her next life, into a poor family and be a teacher in a school in rural India.
The 4th photo in the gallery below is Amma in her early twenties.