Shakti in our lives

She came into the family as a 4th child after 11 months in the womb, born in August a year after the independence, a child not planned, her eldest sister was married by the time she arrived, two brothers, the youngest being 11 years older to her. Due to late birth she was born with a deformity, one hand short that got entangled in the intestines in her mother’s womb.

It was in 1948, her birth year her dad started a business which went on to become so successful that in those days they became the richest in their town.

Her parents didn’t want her to continue college after school but the eldest brother, a bit of a rebel fought the family and got her into college in nearby city and even an admission in hostel.

In her days in college is when she realized her true self,  that she existed, that she had a life. Not only did she complete her graduation but also got a B.ed degree to make her the first double graduate of the business minded gujarati family.

When she graduated, this girl, daughter of a multi millionaire family had to be married off, she didn’t want to marry but when the eldest brother talked her into it she agreed.

She knew since she didn’t have a hand, an alliance wasn’t going to come so soon and if it would come it would be because of her family’s financial status and not her. Still it was this brother who fought for her, she felt she had to listen to him. The younger brother wanted her to not marry but the elder brother too strong, too dominant and too much respected wanted her to.

She did have a few emotions for a couple of guys in college but her handicap would ensure she would never feel comfortable or at ease with them.

Alliance and alliance would go by nothing would work because of her deformity. She was sure she wouldn’t marry someone who was marrying her for her money or family status. Eventually my dad, a diploma holder in commercial art and a relatively very poor man who literally lived in a hut agreed. He was impressed by her snooty attitude that mom used to put on to put off guys. Eventually Mom realized he was too poor to take care of her.

When she questioned it was told that her parents would buy her a flat, everything she needed and dad would be helped. He was a young commercial designer from a big city college, qualified but poor.

Eventually the marriage took place; the flat was bought for them in a suburb near to the eldest brother’s house far from where dad lived. Despite dad not wanting it they wanted to protect the sister from dad’s 2 younger brothers who were also in the same poor boat, qualified but poor they would use the house if they stayed in the same vicinity.

Soon they had a son, although the mother and the father both had longed for a girl even thought of a name of a girl, it was a boy they would have to make do with. Another set of twin boy’s tip-toed in their life thanks to their aspirations of a daughter!!!

For a while things were ok. Her mother in law was a very good lady however she didn’t like the idea of staying with the son in his wife’s house so often would go back to the hut of the two younger brothers of Dad. Dad was mighty attached with his mom and he didn’t like this. This all was affecting him slowly. Dad separated from his friends, who would also taunt him about marrying a very rich girl, about toeing her.

All this humiliation was tough on him. He couldn’t work, couldn’t identify, would fight with mom, got violent a couple of times, left the eldest kid at a bus-stop in a big city, miraculously he was found. He was even sent to a mental asylum where he was given electric shocks too, eventually he was diagnosed with mental depression and Schizophrenia.

It was at this stage a relative, an uncle of mum, told her to get out of the big city, away from the relatives, the eldest brother agreed. She with three kids in a week’s time when she was not sure what to do and what not she left for a small town for a job in a hostel run by that uncle for the girls of their community.

She went away, her husband not knowing where the kids and his wife were. For four years she lived in tatters although the girls in the hostel were to become her best friends. She always though, was not sure what was happening. Finally one day, Dad found her out and came to meet us. This was when the youngest of us three brothers just spelt out, Mom can’t we all stay together?? I cursed my brother for that because I hated Dad and felt sorry for Mom. Eventually Dad would again lose it. But Mom somehow gathered the courage and put her foot down for the first time over her elder brother and told him that Dad was staying with us. She herself also had encountered a few males trying to get friendly with this woman who had no husband around. She decided to go back to her home town where no one knew of our past, about dad’s past most importantly. She thought she could revive everything.

Once in the small town she sold her big city flat in Mumbai’s posh locality  and built a bungalow where we still live. Probably living 4 years away from the influence of relatives had made her think, independently at that. This time she was clear in her mind. She started tuitions as she didn’t want to leave the house to dad. She stayed home, did tuitions from 7 in the morning at our house to 11, cooked and would again get back to tuitions from 2 to 7 in the evening again cook. The three kids would keep eating piles of rotis and this lady with one hand would cook and make rotis for everyone including her husband. Also taking up the responsibility of earning and providing education to us three kids and setting us up for our lives.

Dad mellowed down but was never able to work. He would assist in the kitchen and in the tuitions but he would have a spell or too when he would lose once in a while in a year or so. Eventually the three sons graduated, Mom exhausted all her savings of the flat of big city in raising these kids. In the nick of time I started contributing and so followed the two little ones a few years later. Life today is a lot better, with Dad almost having a bad spell once in 4-5 years. Mom is happy that her three kids have all settled and married and more importantly are able to stand on their own feet and did not become like their Dad, her biggest fear of life.

Our mother raised us with little support from a dad who was suffering mental depression. In a way it proved to be a blessing in disguise, I guess. We realized that mom was by no means a lady inferior to men; she earned all her life and raised three unbelievably mischievous kids alone almost. If this wouldn’t teach me that a woman is equal to a man I don’t know what would.

In my life there is no great hero. I have the greatest heroine, it is my Mom. For us three kids it was always Mom and nobody else. When my son was born, I told mom, that she would perhaps have to wait a little longer for a granddaughter, my Mom shrugged it off saying we 3 brothers have already given her 3 daughters and she is as satisfied as she ever could be.

Mom early in the morning preparing notes for kids whom she teaches

Mom early in the morning preparing notes for kids whom she teaches

~~

Had earlier posted this on No Gender Inequality Blog under anonymity, somehow I now don’t think I need to keep this story anonymous anymore. This post is submitted under the theme Overcoming Adversities in a contest to get published on Richa’s blog. 

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42 thoughts on “Shakti in our lives

  1. R's Mom says:

    Oh Hitchy..your mom is such an inspiration..I got goosebumps reading this…Here I am cribbing about rains and Mumbai traffic..and look at your mom..such a wonderful wonderful wonderful inspiring person! thank you for sharing this..next time I crib, I will remember a wonderful woman who did so much in her life..wow!

  2. chipmunk says:

    oh my god she is a lady who needs a big big bow from me as well as from others!!! you must be proud 🙂 🙂 🙂 many won’t realize the importance of female and glad that you had the chance and yes look at her sincerity in getting the notes done 🙂 🙂 aunty no harm to say I love you and you proved that you can and stood as a example to other women 🙂 🙂

  3. Rekha says:

    Hats off to this courageous lady. She surely ought to be your Heroine. She’ll be so proud to see all three of you settled down well. Really touching. And yes, there’s no need of anonymity…she deserves to be known to all as an inspiration. God Bless all of you.

    A BIG BIG HUG to her. 🙂 🙂 🙂

  4. Santulan says:

    It is the right thing to do, you din’t have to post this under anonymity. Your family must be proud to have her brought you guys up so well. Kudos

  5. Aathira says:

    Speechless.
    Here I am thinking of the smallest of things and always failing to see the bigger picture. I am sure you are so proud to be the son of such a brave woman.

  6. planētēs astēr says:

    your post made me think & cry for an hour…and then call up my mom. She surely had a panic attack when i called her again 🙂

    I respect my mother above anything in this life and i could feel the depth of your love and respect for her in this words.

    And for her, i am not worthy of saying anything about her amazing feat, but stand up & salute.

  7. Smita says:

    What an inspiring real life story!!! You guys have gone through so much in life! I salute ur mom for being this strong!

  8. vishalbheeroo says:

    Ur mom is an inspiration, a real hero who fought against all odds. It proves that winning the battle of life and being a graduate of life matters most than college education. It’s a real success story. TO UR MOM; I bow to you, aunty:) RESPECT

  9. subzeroricha says:

    Dhiren I can so understand the emotions behind this post. You must be very very proud of your mom. I somehow feels your story has much power for all people alike who feel that problems can deter them from doing better things in life…

    Richa

  10. privytrifles says:

    I had goosebumps as I read and read this many times not because I did not understand it. But because I loved the feel it brought in me.

    This is beautiful beyond words and proud to have heard her story!

  11. Deeps says:

    Oh Hitchy! That had me welling up. Your mom is truly an amazing lady! May God bless her and her lovely family.
    Thank you for sharing your story, Hitchy. Hugs!

  12. Sandhya Kumar says:

    Every family has got skeletons in their cupboards which normally will not be displayed outside. You have got guts to do that…thanks to your mom! She, really, is a hero! I have got some drafts and now you are inspiring me to display them!

  13. Sandhya Kumar says:

    I am still thinking of your mom….she is really an inspiration, Dhiren! She must be a contented lady now with her sons and grand son/children. Pranams to her!

    I respect you too, Dhiren, for writing about her! She has imbibed her good qualities into you too!

  14. Varsh says:

    First I thought this is just a story, but when I realised this is your story, I almost choked. I have no words Dhiren…really. If I’d been in your city I’d probably touch her feet and take her blessings everyday, or as often as I could.
    All jokes apart, I have a newfound respect for you now. Hope we become friends. 🙂

  15. sangeeta khanna says:

    I remember each word from this post when I read it last time. And it has been a couple of years, she is such an inspiration for many. I am sure she has touched many lives already and changed a few mindsets too.

  16. pixie says:

    I remember reading this post on the Gender Inequality blog and I am going to repeat myself by saying that your mom is an awesome human being. She is inspiring and her courage and strength are admirable.
    Yep, she is my hero too…

    You are indeed blessed to have someone with so much strength and courage in your life.

    Hugs Hitchy. This post made me cry back then and made me cry now.. Hugs!

  17. Saritha says:

    I read this post before and once again i am in tears…I take a bow to the wonderful and courages mom….hats of to her determination. I appreciate you for writing this post, my mom too faced much difficulties in bring us up…selfless women…….Give her a tight hug from me and i am terribly missing my mom…

  18. sridevi1974 says:

    Your mother is indeed a remarkable , inspirational woman . I almost had tears reading this . You are indeed blessed 🙂

  19. Diana Pinto says:

    Your Mom is a true symbol of strength. Coping up with three kids all alone wouldn’t have been an easy task. I admire her for fighting with life’s adversities and winning over the painful situation. Hats off to her !

  20. Smitha says:

    Hitchy, your mum is a super hero! How she managed all this, on her own, is amazing, to say the least. Truly, truly inspirational, and definitely not to be kept anonymous! With a role model like her, it is no surprise that youand yyour brothers are so close knit and caring.

    Do pass on my regards to aunty. She is such an amazing person!

  21. Susan Deborah says:

    Wow! This is a wonderful narrative which left me speechless and all teary. Taking care of all of you, managing the house and coping with someone as your dad, words betray me. I’m glad that I read this today – very uplifting and strengthening to the inner spirit. And indeed, she IS the Shakti of your lives! My love to her.

    Joy always,
    Susan

  22. how do we know says:

    Hitchie – for your mother.. RESPECT. And that doesnt even start to cover it. for your ability to understand what she went through – respect too. we dont always see our parents’ struggles until its too late. and in the interim, we say harsh words that hurt so much.

  23. Nancy says:

    Hitchwriter, I don’t what to write here, just glad I didn’t miss this post. Your mothers story is one of courage & never say die attitude. The part where she rolled rotis for 4 men with one hand…..just had me blinking away tears. Thanks for sharing your life-story with us.

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