Monday, March 08, 2010

The 3 Ladies of my life

(Disclaimer / Warning: Sentiment Attack in the offing!)

On the occasion of International Women’s day, I want to pay my tributes to the 3 women who have so painstakingly and meticulously made me what I am today - in an ungrudging manner. At times, it gets so ridiculous that I ask myself, ‘What did I ever do in my previous birth that I deserve this magical treatment from these 3 souls?’… I guess I am not the only one having this particular string of thoughts. Probably, a good part of ‘man’kind has similar thoughts too. And not for no reason…

God has created this remarkable woman race that way - to bring in patience, compassion and selfless love into this otherwise crude and aggressive world of men. Those grandmothers who pray and toil for the education of their grand kids… Those moms who multi-task more than the brightest of CEOs to take care of husband, kids and in-laws… Those wives who continue the tradition of the moms and grand-moms and compromise and sacrifice their career dreams, and put your baby to sleep so that you can continue your rise up the corporate ladder…

And these are the 3 great ladies in my life too…

Let us start off with the oldest of the lot, my paternal grandmom. ‘Keetha’ is what I named her when I was aged 3. Her actual name was Seetha and my not-so-legible diction created the name that I called her as! She was a renowned radio singer and had retired from active singing around the time I was born. I was the eldest grandson and the darling of the entire household. And more so for Keetha paati... She would always hold me and be around wherever I went. Keetha paati had a super stress on education given that was our only way to success in life as a poor family, and that sort of set the trend for my entire student life. Though she had probably never gone beyond her 10th Std. in school, she was my tutor for all subjects. If I had to be woken up at 4 am to do some last minute studying, she would ensure that I wake up with a cup of coffee to start the day with. She had the pride in her eyes when I got first in class even in a small assignment.

She had to take care of the entire household – from cooking, to managing the accounts, to running the household activities. Despite all the pressures and day-to-day difficulties that a typical lower middle class family had to endure, she always had a smile to cheer everyone up. The only time I saw her cry was when I stood first in school in my 10th Std. When I came running in to see her reaction, she was inside the puja room. I could see her sobbing softly in front of the deity. Those cries were of happiness, of an achievement that she felt was more than any of her own. I did reciprocate the tears many years later when she passed away after a prolonged fight against Parkinsons. It had pained me no end to see the hyper-active lady lying on the bed without being able to do much activity for many of her final years. When God took her away, I felt that he probably needed her compassion and energy to help the deprived people up there…

The same compassion and energy is visible in my mom too. She has to be the craziest person inhabiting this earth. She has this undying faith and love for her kids. Managing the triple role of daughter in law, wife and mom, she feels that her life revolves around making the people around her happy. Managing my 90 year-old granddad in a way only she understands... Managing the household tasks through the entire day, 365 days in a year, with a not so cooperative maid servant... Managing my over-worked dad's spiritual trips... All, while being away from her sons for the most part of the year is a tremendous achievement.

For her, the whole world comes to a standstill when her sons are around. Her ears become deaf to any request from us to stop doing anything for us. Suddenly from nowhere, food items will land around us. The AC would be on automatically when we come anywhere near the house. Her chronic back pain suddenly vanishes and she is able to effortlessly accomplish a million tasks at one go. To see such a lady smile for two days in a month is the least that the career focused guys of this generation can do. Whenever we get a chance, my brother and myself go to Chennai to just see the happiness in her face. The happiness that would not arise if you gave her a crore rupees, or make her live like a queen in Chennai, away from her sons. The mom she is, she understands the career aspirations of the so-called 'educated' class of this generation and keeps her feelings to herself... Luckily, she does have two very good daughters-in-law whom she can share her feelings with...

A lady with a fantastic mix of the traditional and the modern - my wife is the most beautiful lady on this earth. She is a lot more educated than women of the previous generation, so her career is certainly important to her. But it is certainly not as important as seeing me happy. Sometimes it pains me that she cannot pursue her banking interests sitting in Bangalore. She has accompanied me wherever my job has taken me to, so Bangalore it is, currently. She has adjusted her work interests to ensure we stay in the same city. For her, this world is me. And I know that she loves me a lot. And I love her a lot too...

As a modern woman, she has a mature mind for her age. She likes planning for the future. For a good life ahead. And has inculcated the Finance 101 lessons in a carefree person like me to help us save up for a bright time to look forward to. At the same time, there is still a small child inside her. I know that when we are ready to start a family, she has to bear and take care of one herself. And that is probably going to drain her energy even more than taking care of the household with me around (I am assuming our kid will certainly have some of my lazy qualities!). Whatever support I give her, which I will, she is going to physically and mentally be the center of the child’s ecosystem. And to continue running the household and taking care of the kid while having a successful corporate career - she needs to have abundant energy and will power to win... She certainly is the modern day embodiment of what my grand-mom and my mom were...

Three ladies… Many generations… Tons of compassion and will power... Mentally and emotionally the center of our lives…

I am sure that you all will be able to relate to some, if not all of the above characters in your lives too. If you have also been lucky enough, then take a moment off to thank them for that. If you have not, it is high time that you go out into the real world and find your true love at least…

(P.S: It feels good to have written this article finally. To single out one day in a year for celebrating the greatness of women is not fair to the impact they have on our lives. However, it does help in poking the lazy bums like me to at least write something on that one day. And probably poke some other lazy bums in passing a long pending bill in the Parliament…)

(P.S 2: There are a lot more ladies that have had a great impact on my life and I am thankful to every one of them. My grandma from my mom side, my aunts from both dad and mom side, my cousin sisters and bro's wife, my wife's mom and sis, tons of my friends and friends' spouses, colleagues, blog followers etc. The 3 that I have called out in this article are the ones that I have had the longest association with...)

15 comments:

nelson said...

touching :-)

Padma Iyenghar said...

A very good one :) How many folks on earth acknowledge this after all?

IMHO said...

Very right. Behind the success of almost any person, there are these unsung heroes who go about doing their 'karma'(job would be a deprecating word to use). Truly, there's something unique in the DNA of moms of the world. Maybe bcos' God cant be everywhere he created such souls.

Great post. Deeply touching.

vijaya said...

fantastic no words to expres my feelings tears were rolling down when iam writing this.GOD BLESS U

lakshmi said...

thanks for not excluding anybody. good one.sudha chitti

Rajiv Srivatsa said...

@nelson, @padma, @IMHO - thanks! @amma, @sudha chithi - :) thx!

TK said...

I love it! Very true and my humble hats off to these three ladies as well who inspired you to pen down an accolade of gratitude for a job well done. (Manju from Tk's account)

VVK said...

we generally tend to take such ppl for granted. It def makes a huge impact to sit back and say a thank you once in a while, on ocassions like this. You ve def poked a few lazy bums!

Rajiv Srivatsa said...

thanks a lot @manju aunty, @vvk...

Vijaya K said...

Nice of you to acknowledge! Very touching...

Rajiv Srivatsa said...

@vijaya k - thanks!

Prateek Sur said...

i really liked ur post..ur a pretty old blogger..i'm comparatively new..it would be gr8 if u could check out my blog and comment on the posts so that someday i might be able to reach the heights u've reached..if u like them do follow me..
www.HeadacheAndTension.blogspot.com

Prateek Sur said...

i really liked ur post..ur a pretty old blogger..i'm comparatively new..it would be gr8 if u could check out my blog and comment on the posts so that someday i might be able to reach the heights u've reached..if u like them do follow me..
www.HeadacheAndTension.blogspot.com

Caffeine said...

Great post Rajiv! I am glad I came across this.

Rajiv Srivatsa said...

@prateek - i am new too :) your template is nice, write whatever you enjoy writing about, and that's it! @caffeine - thanks a lot!

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