The year was 1970 when she joined work for a supposedly paltry sum of Rs.100. A big sum during those days. But that was barely enough to manage a family of 10 siblings, none of whom were of the earning age. She could have pursued higher studies if not for shouldering the responsibility of running the household and educating her siblings. It was during those non pizza-burger days where even bare necessities like sambhar were considered a delicacy, thanks to the ‘high’ price of coconut (a whole 15 paisa!).
And thus, 37 years passed by.
A period full of sacrifices and compromises.
And she was thanked with a beLLi taTTe and loTa by her colleagues for being with them 37 years.
Too less a gratitude? Well…... That’s what she has been subjected to all her life. She is not complaining at all.
I wish I could divulge how much ….... just how much she had to strive during those years. To achieve a semblance of respect in the society, she being the sole bread-winner of the family. To face the rejection and disapproval of relatives because she was a class apart in a society which respects only the section where the man of the house is in command. Driven by need and desperation, she dared….(and how) to challenge the norm prevalent in those days. To overcome the stigma of being the only working parent. To make ends meet for a family of eleven. To educate her siblings so that they could enjoy the comforts of life which was denied to her. To bring her up her children in the cocoon of comfort and security which she had dreamt for herself.
People, being people, sneered, jeered, laughed, pointed fingers at her. And she had nothing but her pride to sustain her. And her single-minded devotion…….
And now, here she stands, at this point in her life, satisfied yet embittered, to reap the rewards which she had earlier sown.
It was she who taught me that respect, like money and trust, has to be earned.....the hard way.
Here’s wishing SMV luck….. and the much-desired peace.
Is anyone up there listening to my plea?