About Me

I have done a lot of things in my life and have also worked in many different jobs to make a living and to experience life. This blog is just some of my musings, sometimes funny, sometimes inspirational, sometimes sad, sometimes angry, sometimes simple but all the time, it's just me.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Amma/Mummy/Mother un karuvarai

Meendum oru murai vendum
amma-un karuvarai!
Endrum naan mazhalai
amma-nee vaalum varai!
Iravilum pagalilum
enakkena thudithaai!
Kanavilum naan azhuthaal
thidikittu vizhithaai!
Yentha thavamum naan-seiya villai
unnai peruvatharku!
Eni yentha varamum thevai illai
pothum nee enakku!
Kaduvul kudutha karuvai yaavum un-kannil olikirathu!
Indha ulagam marantha paasam nesam unnaal vazhkirathu!
Un thyagam solla mozhikal illai!
Yentha theivamum
un-eedu illai!
Ennai pathu maatham unnul vaithaai-
un uyirai pidithu azhaipu viduthaai!
Meendum oru murai-vendum
amma un karuvarai!!!
~ Ranjith

In Hindu religion, Parvathy is considered to be the Goddess mother and also considered as the supreme Divine Mother or Lady and all other goddesses are referred to as her incarnations or manifestations.

She was the wife of Shiva/Shankar and was mother to Ganesha, the Elephant God.

In Christianity, Mother Mary is the mother of Jesus, the son of God.

My mother in law, or Amma as I affectionately call (although some people dislike this term of endearment), is an embodiment of both Parvathy and Mary. She is not a goddess or never gave birth to the son of God, but she endured a lot and she is such a wonderful, generous, loving person.

This is the story of Amma.

Mummy, Amma, grew up in a little town in Tamil Nadu in a Brahmin family. The father was a Brahmin priest in the temple. She had maybe close to ten siblings. Her mother died at a young age. And unable to take care of the daughters, the father gave away most of the daughters to a convent.

So, my Amma pretty much grew up in a convent surrounded by strict nuns and priests and I am sure it was not at all like Maria in The Sound of Music and I doubt the Mother Superior was as nice or understanding.

Nevertheless, she grew up in the convent, with her other sisters. And soon was studying to be a nurse but had to drop out of nursing school as she could not stand the sight of blood.

Then she was trained to be a teacher. And I am sure she was a wonderful teacher.

Soon, as things went during those days, she was arranged to be married to this young handsome looking fella from a small town she had never heard of somewhere in the northern part of Malaysia.

Life in India was not easy and never easy even until now, so she agreed to start her life in a strange part of the world with a strange man she hardly knew.

She was married in the convent itself in the small town she grew up in.

As she took the long ten day trip across the Indian Ocean from Chennai Port to Penang Port, throwing up from sea sickness every other hour and losing a lot of weight, she arrived tired, exhausted but filled with hope for a new beginning.

This was in 1970.

Soon after, my wife was born as their oldest daughter and Princess. For a long time, the happy family remained happy, joyous. After 5 years, came another daughter and then another daughter soon followed in the following year.

The family was like any other typical Indian family at that time. Husband being the breadwinner, wife the housewife and the children being children but disciplined enough to behave.

However, this happiness was not to last. about 16 years after marriage, the breadwinner passed away of a massive heart failure in his sleep, leaving behind a wife who hailed from India and three relatively young children.

However, Amma was not to let this crash her world. She did not pack her bags and go back to India with three young kids in tow.

She knew this was her country now and her children will grow up in this place as the place she once called home in India had not much future for her children.

She hardly spoke any Malay or English but managed two jobs while feeding the kids, paying the rents and the bills. There was some help but never enough. There was the husband's government pension but that too was never enough.

But did Amma give up? She never did.

She had a teenage daughter, and 2 younger ones to feed and for them to grow up comfortably. One of my sister in law's is Down Syndrome and those days in Malaysia, we did not have special education school to cater for her. In fact, we barely do these days.

But Amma used her teaching background and taught her Down Syndrome daughter at home while the other 2 went to normal government schools.

Eventually, after 4 years, my wife, the eldest, was lucky and blessed enough to get admitted in a local university. She studied hard and did well in the University.

On the third year, she met me, on the fourth year, I met Amma and soon after she graduated and started working in a bank, we got married.

Meanwhile, the youngest daughter too completed he studies and again through a miracle of God was admitted to a local university.

Amma was left in a small town with her other child who she loved dearly but without the strength and company of her other daughters, she fell into a depression.

However, we were attuned enough that we had decided that it was time they moved to KL. Amma and her daughter moved with us in our little apartment and we are a happy family.

Once the youngest child completed her studies, she got a job and then eventually also bought an apartment.

While Amma was staying with us, we also found a special needs school for the other daughter which she still goes to until today.

Amma has been through a lot in life, and every step has been guided by blessings from God despite the many challenges she has faced in life. She has never given up faith and believe in God and always has been guided by God. She never ends a conversation with me or my wife without saying God bless you and she always prays for us.

Amma is such an amazing person, I am moved and in awe of her. Many people nowadays do not have time for God nowadays, they are too busy, they are too much into their own world. But Amma, she prays everyday, she believes in miracles, she believes God will guide her through her challenges and she has had many, some of which I prefer not to divulge above due to privacy and stigma concerns.

God bless you Amma, I love you infinitely, I'm sorry for all the times I may have caused you hurt and pain, Please forgive me and thank you for loving me like a son rather than a son-in-law.

Take care and be well.

4 comments:

Sneha said...

wow there is so much to learn about life from our elders...she is a fighter... God bless her

Ser said...

I have always known you calling her mommy or mummy except for the past couple of years where you will loudly announce your appearance and presence with loud-speaker voice calling her "amma"...


Mommy was NEVER a fighter and dislike being associated with fighting for a cause or whatever related to a fight. She does not believe in a fight whether physically or in here say etc. etc.

Nevertheless, mommy was up to a challenge (any challenges thrown at her) and she truly believes in overcoming it with prayers and love.


Mommy is a true believer that when one door closes, God or the Divine force will open other window(s), so open up your eyes, ears and listen...

Everyone has an opportunity. It is delivered in a soft and subtle manner, so listen...Listen to your heart and have faith.

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