Amazing Women - Ep.10 - Wonder Women
At school, there are classes where we sit enraptured, mainly because it is taught by our favorite teacher, and some subjects where we force ourselves to sit and focus because they are deemed necessary for the future. And there are classes where we study mildly fascinating subjects that catch our attention for a few chapters but eventually fade away as they get complex. For me, that subject was biology. One of the experiments that caught my attention was a plant's lifecycle and a phenomenon called “Phototropism!”
It is the process where a plant reaches out and bends toward the direction of sunlight, and the standard example is when they have a potted plant lying down horizontally. The plant would bend ninety degrees to grow towards the sunshine, and that little plant is etched in memory.
As I sit here, penning down my last article of the series, that plant returned to my memory. Aren’t we all like that plant? Leaning and bending towards people, who shower us with unconditional love, are the undepletable source of our positivity and give us immense joy every time we seek them. One of them invariably ends up being our mother. In my case, I am doubly blessed as I have my mother-in-law on that list too. And this entire series is a tribute to these two truly inspiring women. Let’s start the tale with my mother, shall we?
Like many little girls, growing up, I was daddy’s little princess, and he used to call me Princess Diana as I totted her hair cut, which was all the rage back then. I did everything with my father, and my brother was closer to my mother. All I had in my mind about my mom was that she was a strict woman who wouldn’t hesitate to box my ears if I slipped in my marks. Slowly blossoming into womanhood, every one of those moments I hated her came back painted in a different view, in a zoomed-out view of the microscope, finally showing me the bigger picture. I wouldn’t be the woman I am today if my mom hadn’t been who she was. She was, like many middle-class women in our society, who barely slept, who took care of her children, who made sure there were meals on the table three times a day, who took care of every house chore one could imagine single-handedly, who would turn up in all the parents-teachers meet, who did a personal background check of her children’s friends, their bags and their diaries, who could sniff anything even slightly off with the member of the family and do it all while also running a shop part-time.
To be so many things at once, to be the sun the family revolves around, one must be immensely brave. And my all that and more. Ever imagine taking up a full-time job during the age and time when people finally decide to settle down calmly and retire? My mom, for the most part, was a stay-at-home woman who looked after our shop from 11 AM to 6 PM while my dad went out for his office work. She stopped after a while when my father decided to take up the shop full-time. A few years back, our whole world came crashing on us when we learned about our financial situation and our many debts. That moment she took on to wear a mantle that I would admire for the rest of my life. She took up a full-time job, working under someone after a gap of twenty years. She never complained about the cruel twist of fate but started looking at solutions and trying to make us all move on and past that. It was one of the most challenging phases of my life, but her silent strength and long breath of acceptance every morning inspired me to work hard toward life in general and not give up. My mom is not big on advice; she taught me a lot by example. I owe it all to her, for she is a fantastic gift to be loved, honored, cherished, and celebrated for the rest of my life!
The Other Mother:
I remember meeting my husband’s mother ten years back. She had such a cheerful and welcoming smile that I think I fell in love with her even before I did with her wonderful son. She works as a librarian in the Income Tax Department’s office in Chennai, and I have never seen such a committed woman who respects and loves her job as she does. She is a person who has been affected by Cerebral Palsy from birth which has affected her motor nerves making her legs progressively worse over the years. She cannot walk short distances without someone helping her or leaning on a wall. Going to work is a challenge, as she must get out of her van (which she climbs into with much effort every day) and walk to her office building by crossing the ever-busy Nungambakkam road. But I have never heard a sigh or had a dull moment while she gets ready for work. For she’s been doing it religiously for twenty-five years now, her finish line is close, and she has a couple more years to complete her service and retire. But she has no intention of stopping there. She wants to teach at a daycare center after retirement, wanting to teach and care for children with special needs as she had done in the early stages of her career before she signed up to serve as a Government employee. She loves traveling and meeting people and is always ready for an enjoyable bike ride with her beloved husband. For example, she taught me to laugh at my difficulties and enjoy the minor things in life with all the zeal I could feel. She’s an instant mood lifter with her ever-cheerful smile that tactically hides the grit of iron and that ferocious streak of tenacity. She is taciturn regarding her pains (and I have seen her go through a lot of them) and asks with a hopeful smile if you have eaten something, even if she’s lying in her hospital bed. She is strong, determined, empowered, cheerful, lovely, and so much more.
As I finish this ode, I can only pray a few more healthy and happy years to share and cherish these amazing ladies of my life. I started this series to practice writing more, but from the first ever episode, this has been a rather intense and life-changing experience for me. In the last forty odd days, I’ve learned to laugh more, to live full, to work hard, to play harder, to love deeply and to be more! And I hope this had been a pleasant experience for you too!
It’s time to call a wrap on this series, but don’t fret; there’s plenty more coming your way; until then, this is Krupa signing off!