Feast for Thought

Not pontificating. Only trying to bat on the side of the environment. And ethics. And simple living. And slowing down. (And trying to learn and practise before preaching or teaching...)

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

My grandmother

"A thousand eyes are needed to behold your cosmic dance, O Nataraja..." This song is symbolic of the ironies in my grandmother's sightless life.
She had lost vision in both the eyes when she married at the age of 12. She mothered seven children, three of whom survived. She was a great cook - the rest of the family needed to ensure that the kitchen goods be left in their designated positions. She sang so well, and I always needed to be tucked into bed by her. The lyrics of "Iyyane un natanam Anandam paarkave...aayiram kangal vendume' resonate in my ears, complete with the exact places where she'd draw breath. (I am still looking for the complete lyrics, though I can comfortably tuck my son in with the right tune and remembered words)
In her younger days, she'd walk to relatives houses through the streets of Coimbatore's town area (wonder why she never used the customary cane). When older, she took care of the grandchildren, and the cooking, and herself.

In the early 80's Sankara Netralaya set up its laser equipment for eye disorders, and she agreed to consult specialists there. She did sit for a couple of sessions, and we mustered hope, hitherto as remote as the light she said she could make out. As fate would have it, the equipment faced some hiccups, and by the time it was ready again, she was undergoing treatment for oesophageal cancer. Perhaps she submitted to this particular affliction so that her husband, known for being partial to tobacco, was spared...
She succumbed on June 27, 1987, but continues to light up the path for the rest of the family.
Salutations to all elders, who give absolute meaning in letter and spirit, to that word!
Thank you, Raji. Your birthday remembrance of your M-I-L inspired me to complete this long-planned entry.

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13 Comments:

Blogger Indrani said...

What a touching story Swarna!
My salutations to her!

25 June, 2008  
Blogger Swarna said...

Indrani
Each such elder merits much more than one blog enrty, I feel inadequate.

25 June, 2008  
Blogger Lakshmi Bharadwaj said...

Such a vivid tale....my!, she must have been one strong woman to have endured so much!

25 June, 2008  
Blogger Abraham Tharakan said...

A very touching story well written. Thank you for letting us share it.

25 June, 2008  
Blogger RAJI MUTHUKRISHNAN said...

Swarna, what a brave lady, and how wonderfully she coped.

Makes me feel ashamed to think how quickly we crib about small afflictions. If only she had had the pleasure of seeing her loved ones before passing away....

A wonderful tribute, and am happy of my own small part in its creation. Thank you.

26 June, 2008  
Blogger Swarna said...

Lakshmi, AT
Thanks for visiting.

26 June, 2008  
Blogger Swarna said...

Raji, thanks for visiting
Eager to find out if you know that particular lyric?

26 June, 2008  
Blogger Pradeep said...

An inspiring account!

26 June, 2008  
Blogger Gardenia said...

Thank you for sharing this beautiful and loving tribute. A great and courageous lady, your grandmother!

26 June, 2008  
Blogger Swarna said...

Pradeep, Gowri, Thanks!

26 June, 2008  
Blogger Deepa Krishnan said...

A very evocative post, Swarna. Thank you for sharing.

14 July, 2008  
Blogger Inner Vision said...

Your post made us emotional. A brave woman she was... Such people do not need any rehabilitation training or orientation it’s all in born.

10 September, 2008  
Blogger RAJI MUTHUKRISHNAN said...

Rereading this made me so much calmer - I had been irritated by some mere trivialities this morning. Your grandmother was indeed a personification of acceptance and mental strength.

15 October, 2012  

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i appreciate that you have some thoughts to share, and are taking the effort to do so.

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