Marriage brings in new relations and relatives, though my family can easily fit in to a 13 seater tempo traveller, my wife's side needs 4 to 5 busses to fit in, and it is obvious that there will be functions which fall almost every week. This week it happened to be a wedding of my wife's cousin brother and there I went to Bhavani, a place near Erode to attend that function, it is the next biggest gathering for my wife's side after our wedding. Life always teaches you lessons and only few lessons reach your heart, in that way, I learnt another important lesson in my life at this wedding.
She was short, thin built, slightly bent, greyish-black curly hair, striking sindoor at her forehead, turmeric coated face, lots of nerves running on her wrinkled hand and always with a smile sticking on to her face. She was acting as the primary consultant in that marriage when it comes to "how-to-do-this-ritual", let it be on how to tie this knot or how to wear this saree or what should we keep on the dais for a particular ritual, she was there all around and she was the most seeked person in that marriage hall. She is an energetic and enthusiastic person at the age of 77. That every lasting smile on her face had a story to tell to this world, and a lesson to teach for my life.
This girl should be in her mid-twenties, thin built (extremely thin), very tall, malnutritioned physic, also weak, both physically and mentally, she always has this "what-am-i-searching-for" looks, and a constant smile on her lips, she mingles with all, does not care if she knows them or not, but every 15 minutes she searches for that 77 year old lady, makes sure that she is around, wanders within the marriage hall, goes to the kitchen occasionally, and does not talk to anyone other than that 77 year old lady. Anyone can easily make-up and conclude that she is mentally disabled and that 77 year old lady is her mom.
That old lady manages this mentally disabled girl all by her own, she takes care of her needs, she showers love and affection on her, never ever she show her anger or frustration on her, she always makes sure that she attends to this girl in spite of her busy and hectic schedule at the marriage. She hand holds that girl to the dining hall and she sits next to that girl and then feeds her the food, occasionally that girl throws tantrums by spitting the food on the floor, not turning to her mom's side to take a feed, but all you get back as a reaction from that old lady is a wide smile, she does not even attempt to show any signs of dis-pleasure to that girl.
One morning, this old lady got up only by 5 as supposed to have got up at 4, and the reason she had for that 1 hour delay is, this girl developed serious fits during the night and she had vomited on herself, this old lady has to clean up the mess, change her new dress and then make sure that her daughter went back to sleep and then she has to go to sleep, this is not something new to that 77 year old lady, she has been doing this ever since her daughter was diagnosed with such mental illness. That morning she continued to be smiling, happy to help others, took part in most of the wedding procedures, at the same time kept an eye on her daughter.
The reception dais was crowded with my wife's family and we were all posing happily for a family snap, and that's when this girl took on to the dais, and without knowing what she is doing, she just came and stood along with us, though she is not directly related to us, but we did not want to shy her away and hence we took her to our side and then she was happily laughing and smiling at all of us, that 77 year old lady stood outside the dais and was constantly instructing her daughter to look at the camera to give a pose, the happiness she got on seeing her daughter on the dais was pretty evident on her face, she sat at the corner of the dais and was admiring her daughter posing for a snap.
Throughout the marriage if there would be one person who stole most of my attention, it would be this 77 year old lady, I just could not take my eyes off her; she inspired me the most and at the same time made me feel ashamed of myself. I told my wife that she is the super hero of my life and I should learn a lot from that old gem. The kind of heaviness she has inside her heart is very hard for me to put it in words, but still she had the guts to smile and that too smile from her heart and not through her lips. She too would have had a dream of her daughter getting married rite? She too would have wanted to see her on that bridal costume rite? But the reality is that, it is not going to happen ever in her life.
I happened to sit next to her one morning and I volunteered to introduce myself to her, and I came to know that she is also from the same town Bhavani and she managed to attend this wedding just because it is happening in her hometown, if not she would never come to attend a wedding, and the reason is, her daughter. She told me that it is not fair to take her everywhere and then give problems to others, she is not mentally fit, and she develops fits quite often, so it will not be nice if I go and bother others, they called me to do these help so I came, otherwise I do not attend any marriages. Then she murmured something to herself and I overheard that "paavam en kozhandhaiku thaan idhelaam pannika kuduthu vekala" (Unfortunately, my daughter could not get married like this)
What hit me so hard is, in spite of such mental pressure, she is still managing a smile on her face and happy to help others, and never cribs about life. She is so considerate and also sensible in what she is doing, she never gives a chance for others to complain about her daughter and does not expect any kind of sympathy from others, and she maintains her dignity. If I have to put myself in her shoes, I don’t think I will even get out of the bed; I will bury myself in this worry and will never gather strength to move on in my life. She taught me this big lesson - "Worries are nothing but the way you see things in life, if you think it is light, it flies like a dust, if you think it is heavy, it stays like a stone"
I just could not get over thinking about this super woman, and I was admiring every move of hers. When the marriage party winded up from the hall, I volunteered myself to give her a drop at her residence, as I did not want her and her daughter to walk in that hot sun. I dropped her at her home, she invited me and my wife to her house, gave my wife the traditional send-off by giving a pinch of "Kum-Kum", with a very heavy feeling of "What that girl will do after this lady dies" pierced my heart and I walked out of her house like a zombie. I have already adder her to my prayers and I pray to GOD to give her more strength and longevity, so that she can take care of her daughter.
Life is so bloody struggling to so many folks, in that sense, I should say, I have been given a blessed life by GOD, but still I crib about things and trouble myself, with this lesson, I would want to live a different life, I don’t think, my worries can ever match the intensity of this super women. Hats-off to you lady, you will always remain as one of the most inspiring characters I have come across in my life.