(I was a little surprised when I heard of this because I’ve heard Appa boast that we were all always serious about studies and hardworking without having to be forced to study. Or perhaps that was just his paternal pride that exaggerated our qualities? 😜 )
Anyway, the girls all did their part and the youngest one of them, Vatsala, (whom we have classified as the brainiest one) scored the highest marks. God knows how he managed it, but within 15 days, Appa somehow bought the gold chain, brought it home, and after placing it in front of God, it was clasped around Vatsala’s neck.
Before there could be any repercussions of this event on the other two girls, Amma stepped in and announced that the gold chain was for all 3 of them and not just Vatsala; they all would get to wear it by turns for a few days each. Her fairness (and tact) saved the day!
I don’t think Appa offered any more such incentives for academic performance after that…
This incident is just a reflection of how Amma cultivated in her daughters the sense of sharing happily with others.
During summer vacations, all the Kashi clan went to the family home in Ramnathpura. The house was small, but the kids had fun bathing in the Kaveri river flowing close by and playing together with their cousins.
The children would go to the temple at the time of the morning and evening puja. When they returned home, my sisters would all bring the prasadam given to them and hand it over to Amma, for distribution to everyone at home. The other elders in the family used to appreciate them for this sharing nature when compared with the other kids who would gobble up their share of the prasadam in the temple itself. But then, those kids didn’t have Amma to guide them otherwise!
There’s another interesting thing I’ve heard from some of my older cousins who are my elder sisters’ age. Whenever some special food was brought to the house – a sweet, or watermelon, or mangoes, or anything out of the ordinary – the kids would unanimously demand that the distribution of that food between all the cousins should be done by Amma. Guess why? Of course, because they knew she would divide it equally between all the kids, without favoring her own over the others!
Much later, when we had moved to Bangalore, one of our relatives who weren’t too well off, got married and had to set up an independent house. Without being asked, on her own initiative, Amma gave the young couple some utensils, plates, glasses, etc to reduce their burden.
When I hear people complain about fights with their siblings, I never can understand how sisters can quarrel over things. For it never happened in our house despite 6 girls living together. (Touching wood, here, to ward off any evil eye 😀)
A few months ago, when Amma’s ornaments were being distributed as per her will, we all took what was given to us with gratitude but the first thing each one said was “If anyone of you wants to keep this or wear it anytime, all you need to do is ask!”
Amma is no longer here, but her legacy continues…………