Sunday, December 9, 2007

Shatasamvatsaram Deerghamayuhu

When we were very young, there use to be puja at home every month. After the pooja, the priest used to give few things in my father's hands that include flowers, a coconut, betel leaves, a bunch of bananas, and some akshathas (rice mixed with kumkum) and would chant ashirvada mantra. I was curious to understand the meaning of mantras. The ashirvada mantra goes like this "Dhanam, dhanyam, pashum, bahuputralabham, shatha samvatsaram dirghamayuhu". It means, have wealth, plenty of food, cattle, many sons, and live for 100 years.

How relevant is this ashirvada mantra today?

First is dhanam, meaning wealth. Everyone want wealth, like wealth and tries to get as much wealth as possible. Material wealth is necessary to make a living. But it makes people fight with each other and as people get more material wealth they forget humanity, and becomes more selfish. Thus more Dhanam is a real problem.

As days pass, prices of every item increases, and it becomes difficult for many people to make a living with their income. Now cultivation of paddy, wheat etc. is going into lo, ass and we hear farmers suicide s they are finding it difficult to pay of their loans and take care of their family. Changes in weather also affects agriculture. So price of food items increase. Thus getting required Dhanyam becomes problematic.

The third one is cattle. Rarely we see cattle these days even in villages. In towns and cities, we don't see cattle at all, except in diary farms. Maintaining cattle is a real problem these days compared to olden days. It is really not possible for small families to have and maintain cattle. So people just go to shops and buy mils in plastic covers. Many times, the milk is adulterated; we take it without knowing that. Thus cattle is really not there with people these days.

The next item is 'bahu putra labham'. Many children. These are the days where many prefer atomic family with just one kid or at the most two. It is not that easy these days to bring up kids by giving right education and other facilities. More money is required to bring even one or two kids up. Thus bahuputra labham is an impossible.

The fifth one is dirghmayuhu... 100 years long life. Who wish to live 100 years these days? Human life is more of problems these days. Though everyone wishes for peace, but life is full of uncertainities and new problems appear every now and then in life. Many families find it difficult to run household with their salary. If children are weak in studies, they need tuition. Then medical expenses, etc. etc. Managing life becomes difficult, then who would like to live for 100 years?

One enjoys childhood under their parents love. School days are joyful, but have to work hard to beat competition and to meet goals. When one starts family life, age is already close to 30 and parents are close to 60. I think, none would like to live for another 40 years afther that. If there is no health problem, one can live for another 15 to 20 years.

Lifestyles are changing very fast. Food culture is becoming different. Genration gap in thinking between father, son and grand son are widening, and that poses many problems at home. To live peacefully, there is only one medium, that is love. Love makes one to adapt and adjust.

After seventy, our organs becomes our enemy. In early days people lived in forests by eating leaves, fuits etc. Now doctors advise to eat salads, fruits, and leafy vegetables, which is very similar to that kind of food. As age increase, sugar, pressure etc. becomes our companions. We are forced to eat sugar-less, oil-less, salt-less, chilli-less food. Many of us have to use stick as support for walking, need specs as support for reading, and sometimes hearing aids to hear. Some of us start forgetting things. How many would like to live like that?

We have to change the meaning of the ashirvada mantra. It should be change or we should interpret it as: Wealth, food to live healthy, drinking diary milk to improve health, one or two children who will give love worth of many many children and care the parents, and a life that gives happiness of a 100 years of life. I think, everyone likes a life till they can do their own work and strength to support their children.

So, let us interpert the ashirvada mantra this way.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Mothers's Mind

When I look back in my blog postings, I know there is no literature in my language. I don't have education to write well in english, but I believe, I am just able to communicate what comes to my mind through limited english language knowledge I have. I couldn't continue studies beyond 7th standard. In this post I am trying to express a mother's feelings from my own experience.

Few days back I spoke to my grand daughter who is staying in America with her husband and two little boys. She is fully involved with the boys. I heard my great grand children's voice through computer, and my grand daughter is trying to control them. My mind filled with joy. I found a mother's love in her passionate voice. Then my mind got into a thinking mood, analyzing a mother's mind. In her childhood she gets love from parents. After marriage it is from husband and parents in law. When she realizes that a little one is growing in her womb, she forgets everything else. She begins to dream about her child, along with her husband. It starts right from searching a KG school to their future profession. She gets no time for anything else and mind fully occupies with the child. thats how the attachment between the mother and child starts.

From then, the mother's mind (I think, there is nothing in the world to beat it in size) enjoys the motherhood. When the child comes out, feeding and caring the child gives her immense satisfaction. She understands each and every need of the child from its little actions and tantrums. With love, advise, cajoling, and at times beging stern (saamam, daanam, bhedam, and dandam), she leads the children to right path, as she feels it.

My Children

Shae cares for their health, education, and whatever is possible within her reach. She
understands their habbits and way of thinking very well. When they grow and become youth, they start thinking about their own family. Parents are ready to assist them in selecting a life partner.

Finally her family tree begins to sprout.
Now the children have their own family and their parents impatiently wait for grand child. The size of mother's mind grows to think about grand children also. Her prayer gets extended as the members in her family tree grows.

Me with my husband and all our Grandchildren

After her children's separation her responsibility starts decreasing. But her mind is anxious about each and every menmber of her family tree. She feels happiness in their happiness, and each and every problems in their life worries her. She starts feeling lucky when all the children in her family tree expresses their love towards her. When her grand children also make their own family, her mind grows again.... she becomes great grand mother... and their responsibilities keeps decreasing... her health keeps deteriorating... Not many things to do other than pray for everyone who loves her... Till last breath, she will pray for all her children, grand children and great grand children.

My Great Grand Children

Whichever child needs help, her mind always goes with that child. All children of a mother may not be doing well physically and financially. Sometimes her mind will cry more and pray more for the suffering child. A mother's love is like water. It flows to lower level. It is like a wheel in our life. When it rotates, the lower part comes to top and the top goes to bottom. That is the way of life and mother's mind follows.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

My Papa

At this age, when I think of my childdhood, many different thoughts come to my mind, and I become emotional at times. My papa, was very much concerned about we growing up with moral values. He made us strong enough to face problems of life. His advices helped me to take decisions in crisis and difficulties, which I have faced enough. He did not get his parent's love, because his father died when he was just 7. His mother didn't know how to love or express love to her only son. His father was fond of him. My grandfather's only wish was to make my father educated. After death of my grand father, his elder bothers came and took my papa and grandmother. My grand father had a grocery shop and had some land too. The elder two brothers of grandpa has grabbed al lthe land and the shop. One great thing they did was to educate my papa with B.A.L.T. and R.B.V (Rashtra Bhasha Visharad). He became a high school teacher, and with his mother he started life.

My amma also was grown up without getting love from mother, as her mother passed away very early. Her life was restless at her step mother's hand. My papa married her when she was 14. Only thereafter my mother knew whats love. She loved and cared papa very much. Our grandmother spend rest of her life with my parents. Papa gave us limitless love. There are so many events of my childhood keep coming to my mind; I recall them for my own satisfaction.

I am the eldest of my parents 5 children. We all born in alternate years. In my village house, there was one big room , two small rooms and a small kitchen. Grandma used one small room and all of us use to sleep in the big one. Papa sleep on the cot. Amma and all children on a mat spread on the floor. After one sleep, we one by one in turn will go and sleep by the side of papa. In the morning, when amma wants to go to kitchen she would give the smallest one in his hands. All of us had a short sleep in his loving shelter.

When we grew further, he wakes up us early in the morning, and take us in the courtyard garden. He explains us the beauty of nature and daily use to give us some knowledge about things such as flys, plants, flowers, sun, moon etc. He loved nature and spoke to us long about nature and why we should love nature. Sometimes he told us moral stories, some of them from mythology. Such early morning interaction was preparing us to judge whats is good and bad in the need. Papa was fond of Bhagavat Geeta and kept telling us about the essense of geeta. I have not myself read the great epics Ramanayana or Mahabharata, but i know most of the stories in them.

Papa wanted to make us good human beings. So he gave us not only love but once in a while gave punishments too. He believed in the superpower that controls the world. He asked us to be kind to every human being irrespective of cast, religion, or money. He taught us to love our motherland and mother tongue. We learnt a lot from him.

I still remember a punishment from papa, when I was two years old. He used to take me with him during his evening walks in the neighbourhood. Sometimes I would insist to carry me during the walk. One evening he took me to the temple. While returning papa had shoulder pain. It was a bit dark. He placed me down on the ground near the gate and asked me to walk to the house. I said no. I wanted him to carry me inside. He told me sternly "If you come in by walk you can, otherwise you stay here". I stayed there like a statue. He waited for 2 minutes and then closed the gate. I waited for some more time. It is getting darker and darker. I called papa in trembling voice. Within a moment he opened the door, holding my hand walked to the house. He taught us to be obedient, humble, loving and helping humans.

When i was three years old, he sent me to a nearby school. At that time, there was no age bar for joining school. It was 11 years of school then. 1st to 4th standard, Malayalam medium lower primary; then one year preparatory class (we use to call it as four and half class) then starts the 1st form... and 6th form is the SSLC.
Papa was not just a teacher to his student. He treated all his students as his children. He sue to keep an eye on the students behaviour and overall growth, in addition to academics. He use to advice and counsel students. If any student has to stop education because they cant afford fees (which was very very low at that time), he would help them by paying their fees. In those days of British rule, only primary school gave free education.

I reached 4th form, i.e., 7th standard. At that time my grandmother died, and my mother gave birth to the last of my siblings. After grand mother's death, Amma fell into depression. Papa took one month leave. My brothers and sister were very small kids. No relative came forward to help us. I completed 8 years of my studies. Papa had no other way but to ask me stop my studies and take care of household, mother who is in depression and all my young brothers and sister. Papa gave me elementary lessons of cooking; making simple curries, rice, and other things. I had no clue of how much chilly powder to put or how much salt. He asked me to check with him before I put salt and chilly into the curry. Thats the way I started my learning of managing home, at the age of 11. At that time papa taught me biology, mathematics etc. at home, to satisfy my academic hunger. He also arranged a master to teach me classical music. He got books from library and gave me, so I started reading from there, and even today i love to read, and do read, whatever i get.

Papa lived till he was 54, not that old. Many incidents come to my mind when I think of Papa. It will take many such blogs to write them. Will stop this here, and will continue later. The love and care that we got from him will always live in my mind.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Village Mantharas

First let me thank my grand daughter Nandita for giving me the award "Rockin' Girl Blogger". Am I the only grand mother who can boast of such a privilege? I am also thanking all those who read my postings and put comments.

In this post, I am presenting my experiences during early days of married life. As told in the previous post, with great difficulty we reached my husband's house for marriage on the eve of the marriage day. My marriage had four day long rituals. In those days, people celebrated marriage for 7 days also. Later it became shorter and shorter and now it is just two to three hours. For my marriage, the relatives in my husband's house came a week before and I heard that they will leave only one week after the marriage. My husband is the eldest son in the house and it is the first marriage held there. After the marriage, some expert relatives stayed long to take some study classes to my mother-in-law.

On fifth day my father took both of us to our house for two days. After we returned I started hearing murmuring dialogs from the corners of the house. It was all to my mother in law. One says "Don't keep her on your head, if you do so, she will control you afterwards". Another one said "How much you suffered when you were young. Now it is your turn to give back". I thought, what is my fault in this? Another one said "You send your maid servant and make your daughter in law do all work at home, otherwise she will sit idle"... Another one "Don't give her good food, she is anyway from poor family". It went on like that. Those relatives did their work very well before they returned. I realized that it will not be easy for me to live there. It is a type of ragging. Some relatives also told me against my mother-in-law. They left, but the village had its own mantharas. Manthara is a very well known figure in Ramayana, who has habbit of ill-advising people.

In those days, husbands also find it difficult to openly support wives, else their life would also become miserable in the village. I was just a 16 year old girl and after hearing this my mind filled with fear. But I knew, my mother-in-law is kind hearted. She liked me. In the village, the houses are in the middle of large farm lands. The elder women of these houses meet in one house. The mother-in-laws of newly married brides can not attend these meetings. Most of the afternoons such meetings took place and the main topic of discussion is generating ideas on how they can make the mother in laws and daughter in laws fight and make daughter in law's life miserable.

After my marriage, they decided to start meeting at our house, as my mother in law never attend such meetings. But she was not interested in all that. They know, she will not join them easily. So they decided to use my husband's siblings for this purpose. They knew my mother in law's weakness. She will not speak anything against her children. The mantharas started succeeding in their work.

I felt helpless. Thought only god can save me. What can an 16 years old girl do? I remembered my father's advise. He told me before the marriage. "Don't fight with anyone. If you fight with them, what is the difference between you and them? We believe in moral values. Love is the only way to get love from them. It will take some time for you to win their hearts. I am sure you can do it".

I started doing whatever i was asked to do. I use to make snacks for the eveneing tea for all. Even though the mantharas advised my mother in law, my mother in law never showed difference in giving me food etc, and also her eyes said, she likes me. That gave me satisfaction. I ignored all bad things that happen to me. The mantharas waited to see big fight in our house. But the wait was of no use. In our neighbour's house also came a daughter in law. That gave a relief to me as the manthara's concentration moved there. I became free. I was tense for two to three years, because their poisonous words and continuous advises drifted the minds of my husband's siblings and others at home to some extent.

But my parents in law were different. They liked me. I liked their personality. Though illiterate, my mother in law, practiced values. They accepted me as a daughter. Now they are not in this world. I remember them respectfully in my heart like my parents.

Now I also have a daughter in law. Love is the foundation of everything at out home. I am very happy with my daughter in law, who considers me more than her mother, and is there by my side in everything. I am sure, one can get love only by giving love. Even these days there are mantharas all over. But they can't break the wall of love.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

An Unforgettable Journey

This is about a journey, that took place 60 years back, which can never go out of my mind, but keep popping up once in a while. Let me go back to that day and take you through that unforgettable journey of my life.

My father was not rich in money, but was very rich in moral values. He was a respectable school teacher. Getting daughters married is a big thing in life. My father set out with proposal to get me married. His first visit itself was fruitful and my would be father-in-law said ok at first instance, and he had no demand for anything. No horoscope matching, no demand for any jewellery and no demand of any sorts. My would be father-in-law said "It is your daughter and whatever you give her is fine with us. We are looking forward to your daughter coming to our house". He wanted the marriage to be celebrated at his house (which is not common those days, and even now). At that time I was 16 and my would be husband was 19.

None from their house came to see me or my house. My mind was worrying about it. How is going to be my would be husband? Will he like me? How will be his parents? Will they like me? How will be his siblings? I have heard that it is a big joint family, and from a small family I am going to a big joint family. Will all they accept me with open mind? A fear was growing in my mind, and the fear kept coming up and down like waves in the sea. The marriage day was fixed.

Our houses were almost 30 miles away. We have to travel that much distance to reach their house, where the marriage will take place the next day. My father arranged a bus for us from the state transport department. Two people came from their house to take us there. That place was an interior village, where there are no good road and no electricity. We have to get down from the road and walk for about 30 minutes to reach their house.

Our house was near the main road and also very close to sea. My parents, my four siblings, neighbours and relatives, all are waiting for bus. Finally the bus arraived from the nearby town bus-stand, which is moer than 10 miles away. As the bus came late, we are already late to start. The driver was taking reverse to position the bus in the opposite direction, so that we can all board. The rear wheel of the bus got down in the loose sea sand, and it was not coming out. Half an hour they tried their best, but in no vain. Then they send a person to the nearby town bus-stand to inform the matter and for getting another bus. After one and hour, another bus came and we started our journey, a very important journey of my life.

We were helpless that we could not inform anybody at my husband's house, as those days there was no telephone facility in nearby areas. We knew that they would be very much worried. On the way we picked up flowers for the marriage. Also picked up my elder sister and family.

We reached the place at 12 midnight. With two petromax lamps (many young people these days would not have heard about such lamps) some people were waiting for us at roadside. It was January month. Outside was very cool, but my mind was filled with tension. Everyone is looking at me only. My mother put her hands on my shoulder and kept me close to her during our 30 minute walk in the middle of the night, that too on the eve of my marriage. We walked slowly. When we reached the house, we felt the tension of everybody there. On seeing us everyone got relaxed. Every one who came to attend the marriage came to see me, but except my husband. Of course, those days are not like today, where bride and groom spend lot of time together and understand before marriage.

How can I forget that journey! That journey was indeed a beginning of many things. Last 60 years of married life... saw difficulties and happiness of life... But we, me and my husband are very happy today to see my children doing well, my grand children doing well and also my great grand children growing well.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Six Roses

It was on my 60th birthday i received a persent. A simple water coloured pencil drawing of six roses. The person who gave the present told me each rose represent my each grand child. These six roses are very close to my heart. Each one better than the other. It was my eldest grand daughter who gave the present. She herself painted it. Each rose is different and has different personality, in the painting and also in reality.

About 7 years back I underwent a major operation. I have seen hospitaies only during my daughter's and daughter-in-law's delivery, and my husband's heart operation. I was afraid for operation. while I was praying and making my mind courageous, they took me to the operation theatre. Then i don't know what happened. When I regain my memory I am in ICU room. I heard my both daughter's voicees. They have come from their places, kerala and chennai. I felt relieved and realized operation over and went to long sleep. In the evening when I was awake, i heard familiar voices. To my surprise, I saw my three grandsons sitting in my room. Eldest one told me "Ammumma, I passed engineering in distinction. I am in hurry to tell you the good news". He said sadly. My second grandson came near me, taking my hand in his, just loooked into my eyes sadly. I felt the third grandson's tears. He could not speak anything. My two grand daughters send their mothers to see me. They took responsibility of their household. They must have felt, I will understand their love towards me through their mothers. The yougest of the six, third grand daughter was just watching me. She could not understand what is happening. My mind filled with love. I can't move, only watch them and feel their love. I thought how lucky I am. My grand children all love each other and my children and their spouses also love each other. As a mother and grand mother what else I need.

I think, a mother's heart is largest. one. When she becomes grand mother, it becomes more broad. All my grand children are equally important for me. Each one has their own loving style, like each rose is different in colour, different in size and has different fragrance. Every day my first job is to pray god that if my children and grandchildren have any problem, then please solve it. I believe their problems are surely solved. And all the six roses will spread fragrances for making everybody's life better.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Invisible Super Power

This is an experience that reinforces my belief that the superpower protects us, when we are helpless. We were living in an interior village in Kerala. Our house was like a farmhouse, in the corner of a 2 acre land of coconut farm. We made beautiful garden around the house. The coconut trees stand straight with hanging coconuts; Mango trees with mangoes during the season; one corner with many banana plants; and some rare trees also were there. Watching these trees and walking between them is enough to get relaxed.

All three of our children were not there at home. Two elder girls are with their husbands and son is away for his studies. Our elder daughter is working. Her first baby girl was with them, and they were managing the baby girl with the help of a maid servant, as both of them were working. Then the second child was born, a boy. We were worried about him, as how can they manage both? How can we leave an infant with servant? We decided to take him with us. We brought him, when he was just 6 months. He became out pet. We enjoyed every moment of his growth, his learning to walk, learning to speak, and all his naughtiness. We, me and my husband got fully engaged with him. We forgot all our sorrows those days. We really felt, the joy of grant parents. He also loved us very much. We cared him very much.

It was just 3 years before the child came home, that we got electricity at home. We were watering the coconut trees, other trees and the plants manually lifting water from a big pond very close to our house. As we got electricity, we bought a pump and fixed it near the pond, with a small cover over it to protect it from rain. We used long tubes to take water to far away trees. On the switchboard of the pump, we had an extra plug to fix an electric bulb. Even in the night, in the moonlight we use to water plants.

On a morning grandpa was watering the trees. He was in opposite corner of the courtyard. He was concentrating in his work. Just about one year old grandson was with me and were plucking flowers from plants in the garden. I was removing an insect from a leaf of one of the flower plants. I was pushing the insect down with a stick. I heard a thundering cry of my grandson... I rushed to him and took him and hugged and tried to console. I found him to be very frightened. Exactly when he started crying, the electricity also has gone. He clinched on to me and stopped crying. I asked him why he is crying? he pointed fingers to the switchboard of the pump. There was no bulb as the one which was there got fused and was taken for replacement.

I was trying to understand what happened. The electricity post from which we get the electricity for house is just near the pond and the pump. When the baby put his fingers in the bulb holder, suddenly the electricity from the post stopped.

I believe, when the boy put his fingers in the bulb holder, the invisible superpower saved us. Thank god. Otherwise? I have no strength to imagine that.