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Who can speak of a mother without emotion or feeling? Who can live without pondering over her love and sacrifice that builds a home? Whoever can fail to think of the moments she stood by when all others chose to desert? Who can forget her affection and care?

I know there are moments i fail to reflect on my mother’s love, fail to appreciate her life of sacrifice, fail to acknowledge that i owe my life to her whom the Maker gave for my own….but then as a mother i understand. I now appreciate her existence and the poem below is a tribute for the one who gave up her all to bring out my best..I love you mummy…

A heart that bleeds,

Bleeds forever,

Yet no one notices,

Words that stab,

Deeds that bruise,

The throb of this heart.

Years of sacrifice,

And selfless love given,

The heart bleeds,

Unheeded in its distress.

Uncared for, ignored,

Hurt and abused.

Careless words,

Increase the pain,

Works of love,

Taken for granted;

Thanklessness greets,

This bleeding heart.

Amidst its pain,

It continues to beat,

Its bloody wounds,

Find no relief,

Yet this heart goes on,

Its love to share.

How long will you

Abuse, insult and reject?

Can you overlook?

and ignore the stains,

That built your life,

From a bleeding heart?

-Written for my beloved mummy who has given her all to build my life

Tear Apart

(This post is based on a real life experience. All names used are fictional. This post is dedicated to all mothers who strive to give the best for their children)

It was yet another field work day at the Adoption Agency where I was placed as a student of Social Work. My Supervisor was busy as usual and there were several clients waiting for an appointment. I was doing some pending paper work when a lady stepped in with a two year old boy clinging to her sari. She spoke briefly to my Supervisor before I was called in. “You need to record this lady’s case”, my Superior told me. Soon I led the woman and her son to a nearby desk and began to interview her. I learnt that Sumathy was a recent widow. Her husband, a driver met with a fatal accident that killed him just few months ago. Sumathy had two girls as well and both of them were in middle school. She had been a housewife all along and ever since her husband passed away, she had been struggling to find a way to make money. Being uneducated and with no other skills, Sumathy had taken up job as a household help. Her income was paltry and meeting family needs, a constant battle. I soon assumed that she must have come to ask for sponsorship for her children at school since that was also one of the functions of our Agency. However I was in for a shock when she told me that she actually came to surrender her little son, Babu for adoption even as the unwary boy continued to cling to her sari. I tried to persuade her to try for sponsorship instead. But Sumathy had made up her mind. Apparently this was not an overnight decision but a well thought one. I tried to reason further saying that surrendering her child could not be reversed even if she wanted to later on. Despite the tears rolling down her cheeks, Sumathy stuck to her choice. There seemed nothing to do but process the papers and this is exactly what I did. Even as I prepared her case file, I continued to remain baffled at Sumathy’s eccentric decision.  Could a mother let go of her child, that too a two year old? All the other surrendered children I had seen so far were just bed babies who knew nothing of a mother or her love.

I was not around when Sumathy came and left her little Babu with the Agency. When I did go to the Foster Home a few days later, I found him right at the gate crying inconsolably, the only words coming from his mouth “amma’’. He clung to the grill on the gate, longing for his mother’s sari that always gave him refuge. I have never experienced more agony than at that time when I witnessed the grief of this young child. I tried to take him in my arms and distract him to play with the other children or the many toys that were around. But Babu would not budge. He continued to wail and mourn, clutching the grills. Soon the caretaker of the home came along and told me that nothing could be done and that he would become alright with time. I did not share her optimism but I realized that I was of no help to little Babu. He continued to call ‘’amma’’ all through the time I was at the Home. I felt a deep pang in my heart as I left the Home that day. I found it hard to accept that Sumathy had really surrendered her son.

The memory of Babu wailing for his mother haunted me for several days and has always been imprinted on my mind.  It was years later when I became a mother myself that I understood the reason for Sumathy’s hard choice. When for the first time I dropped my little girl at school and returned, the silence at home, the absence of her voice and the endless clanging of toys engulfed me and I remembered Sumathy. How did she feel to leave Babu that day at the Foster Home, knowing that she will never see him again? A few hours away from my precious daughter were agonizing. How was it for Sumathy who would not see her Babu even years later? Was she a heartless mother? I knew she was hardly that. Her sudden widowhood throwing all family burdens on her frail shoulders, her lack of education and inability to engage in any steady income generating venture and her own insecurities were huge handicaps she struggled with. She did not want any of her children to suffer because she certainly loved them all. She knew that three mouths to feed and educate was well beyond her means. She was also unable to work with her little boy demanding much attention. So she made her choice, drowning her feelings and allowing reason to take the throne, she surrendered little Babu to one of the best Adoption Agencies she could find. She knew that he would have adoptive parents to provide for him things she could only dream of and also lavish him with love. She knew that this was best for her precious Babu and so she chose to tear apart the little one who clung to her sari.

I have tagged my fellow bloggers Sheena , Sameena and Deepak to participate in the Indus Ladies Women’s day blogging contest.

Danushkodi…..

“You live so close to Danushkodi now. You must make a trip and see the remains of the post office where granny’s dad worked…” my dad told me a few weeks after we moved into quaint Ramanathapuram. I was enthused to know that my great grand dad’s town was so close and yet I knew that there would be nothing left for me to see there in remembrance of him or of the post office where he worked. Danushkodi was entirely devoured by a furious cyclone that struck in 1964, claiming almost 1800 lives and totally ruining the town’s well developed infrastructure. Yet I believed that a visit to see the ruined structures would be worthwhile and so we chose a weekend to see Danushkodi which is mostly referred to as ‘Ghost Town’. Due to the dangerous topography of this once while prominent town, the Government declared it as unfit for habitation and so Danushkodi was never rebuilt after the cyclone. Even access to this forgotten land is tough due to sand dunes that stretch across the entire route and lack of proper road or rail transport. With all these setbacks, did Danushkodi fade from memory? Apparently not!  Due to the religious significance of ‘Arichalmunai’ in Danushkodi where the Indian Ocean and the Bay of Bengal meet, thousands of pilgrims stop by all through the year for a dip in the sea. Consequently several private operators ply special jeeps with guides to move people.

I browsed to find out more about Danushkodi before the trip and the pictures of the ruins along with the accounts ofSand dunes and huts of fisher folk residing in Danushkodi those who had been there before lured me. In many ways Danushkodi was much better than what I expected and in many ways it was a disappointment. The sand dunes, bumpy ride in a four wheel drive jeep, the buried rail and road links, the ruins and the windy shore offering refuge to so many different migratory birds captivated me. Yet the litter and garbage strewn across this vast expanse which was once a flourishing town with people striving hard to make a living was certainly disappointing. ‘Arichalmunai’ derived from two Tamil words meaning ‘erode’ and ‘tip’ lives up to its name and one can feel sand tickling the feet while standing on this cape to gaze at the perfect blend of two oceans, one calm and peaceful and the other boisterous and rough. Complementing this irony is the enormous number of liquor bottles along with trash left over by pilgrims performing sacred rites. From this point Sri Lanka is just 18 km away and this was the biggest natural asset that accelerated the growth of Danushkodi during its glory days.

The remains of the entrance to the post office in DanushkodiI walked through each ruined building and took time to pause and ponder about the history of the site, the people who had built and lived in it and its sad status now. An immense sense of loss seemed to engulf me with each dilapidated structure I happened to gaze upon. The post office was very special. As I climbed up the stairs that remained in memory of this huge building, I could not but think of my great grand pa and his work here. I never had a chance to meet him and yet seeing this ruined structure brought out visions in my mind about his daily chores. I was immensely curious to know where his house was but I had no clue.  I returned, content that it was somewhere beyond, buried in the sand.

There are residents in Danushkodi now and most of them are fisher folk and small tradesmen who attract tourists and pilgrims with souvenirs. Danushkodi will never be rebuilt. The ordinary buildings which once housed simple citizens and local establishments are now a relic. Even if these leftovers of nature’s fury bury in time, memories of loved ones who lived and worked in this scenic city will never die down in posterity.

Homework Factory

A seemingly harmless factory operates in our home every evening. This is when my four year old daughter Dami and I set out to do homework. In the hours that follow the home work machinery is set into motion. While on certain exceptional days we manage to deliver good output much ahead of schedule by completing worksheets in a jiffy, this is not the general rule. On most days, our production is slow and this is when mixed and contradicting emotions surge in me.  On the one hand I feel extremely sorry to see those tiny fingers struggle to take a firm grip of the pencil and those tired pleading eyes. Yet the next instant I flare up in fury when after taking a ton of effort to teach an alphabet, I notice my little girl singing to herself or looking distantly at the toys in the shelf. I often get flustered over the excessive demand placed on our small factory which results in piles of homework and a lack of resources, meaning a weary and disinterested girl with no eagerness to get through with those daunting worksheets.

The sympathy and anger that grips me are the harmful pollutants that our factory ejects and these certainly need treatment before release into the atmosphere, which is the peace and quiet of our home. To handle these deadly emotions before any one takes the upper hand is in no way easy and I can relate from experience that I struggle to do this. Yet I have understood that unless properly and adequately treated, lethal consequences can be expected. So I get to the task of balancing emotions and this is a daily battle for me. Sometimes I shudder to think of the long term work plan of our factory. With each year, our factory will no doubt have to expand and take up additional load. Will Dami and I be up to this task? I still do wonder and in the mean time, I try my best to master my effluent treatment process as this alone seems to hold the key to the success of our rapidly growing homework factory.

Hi!

Like this post? Do drop your comments here and share similar experiences from your life where you have gone through mixed emotions. Take a moment more to share these on Close up’s facebook page http://www.facebook.com/closeupindia

Thanks a ton!

Preena

Ramnad Times

Welcome to Ramnad equals welcome to semi rural living. I was sort of prepared for this and my social work backing helped me stay realistic and not hope for too much. Yet I cannot deny the shock and surprise at living in this poorly developed district. The open drainage and green water logged plots with several black piggy residents was something I had not bargained for. The bumpy roads, erratic power supply, hot summers and staring eyes I was prepared for. But certainly not open drains! The monsoon season helped me witness the worst times here in Ramnad. In spite of the inflow of water into several houses, people still seemed to carry on as usual and were surprised when I happened to share that such things are not too common back home.

The people of Ramnad are traditional. Most of them are warm and cordial and few are exceptionally hospitable like our house owners. Most of the men lead a relaxed life, operating business and boozing while the women relish gossip and cooking. Sadly, women are suppressed with many young girls getting married without a right to education. Equality of the sexes is an alien concept here in Ramnad.

The only regular outing we have is the visit to the market. Ignoring the curious stares of fellow shoppers, we manage to shop with caution now after several experiences of getting duped. There are a few well stocked super markets. The place is completely stripped of branded goods. Prices of daily essentials like vegetables are hiked at the look of outsiders like us. A large number of bakers can be seen all through the town and “Mummy” is the most auspicious name for these crowded stalls. The market has a variety of king mummy, new mummy, best mummy…bakeries.

Women here attire in sarees while young girls sport salwar. Not many married women wear salwar kameez and in respect of the local dressing preference I restricted myself to salwars allowing my jeans and tees to gather dust in the cupboard. The only time I did wear jeans was to dine in a local restaurant. After the meal, the waiter was too eager to know where Deepak worked and started a small conversation and then he brought out his pressing query, “To which country do you belong?” We certainly don’t look western or eastern and after controlling a desire to guffaw, Deepak replied that we were pure Tamil Indians.

In Spite of all the snags and setbacks, I have somehow gotten used to life in this semi rural district and though I cannot say I love the place, I can confidently say, I live the place!

Tender Moments….

My little daughter’s innocence and love has never ceased to amaze and enthrall me. Just as she can make me as mad as a hatter, she can make me laugh like a hyena and cry like an infant. On the whole she has managed to evoke some of the deepest feelings I have ever felt. I guess that’s what daughters are all about.

Some time back, I decided to teach little Dami about money and so I started off by giving her few 10 rupee notes and some coins. She dutifully put these in a small purse and I often found her keeping her  treasure in a safe spot on the dresser. I told her if she collected enough money, she could buy herself a toy and this was why she safeguarded her loot. One day, while Deepak and I were discussing finances and the difficulty in getting through with monthly expenses, little Dami came running into the room with her precious purse and offered all her savings. She told Deepak there was enough money for everything and we need not worry. Both Deepak and I were taken by our sweet daughter’s affection. I was so stunned to see her sacrifice that special toy she could have bought by giving her money to us. We did not go on to take her money though she gave it with love. It was too less an amount to meet our needs and yet it was that act of love that clings on to the mind, making an appearance now and then to remind us of the little angel we love as our daughter.

Babe from Heaven

When you left Heaven that day,

Your tiny head in a manger to lay,

You knew what was ahead;

Yet came to fulfill what Scripture said.

 

Your first guest and gifts were chosen,

From the wise to the meek and broken.

Your family poor yet godly,

All this your choice in humanity.

 

You lived to be loved and despised,

Your words were life, men realized.

You healed and taught and cared,

As none before ever had.

 

In God’s time you did not refuse,

The cross with agony profuse.

Your death to save lost mankind,

Untold sufferings you did not mind.

 

In hope you rose from the dead to live,

Through time new life to people give.

How blessed to think of that day,

Your tiny head in a manger lay.

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