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Sunday, 3 November 2019

NaBloPoMo 2019: Day 3: Giving of Herself

In his famous work The Prophet, Kahlil Gibran writes....

You give but little when you give of your possessions.
It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.

Having studied only till matriculation in a Kannada-medium school of Karnataka, Amma could never have read these lines, but anyone who knows her will agree she lived in this spirit.

I was probably 3 or 4 years old then, so I don’t remember, but my older sisters do. Appa was working in the mines at Pali, but we were living in Ponda. Two of his colleagues lived with their families in Velguem which is close to Pali, but far from Ponda.

Those two colleagues each had a son who was to answer the SSLC exams and the exam centre was in Ponda. Bus facilities weren’t very good in those times, and this would make traveling from Velguem to Ponda and back quite difficult and time-consuming. When they talked about this to Appa, he promptly offered to house the young boys and take care of them for the duration of the exam.

Once they came home, Amma simply took them under her wing. She would wake them up at 4.30 am every day and give them hot coffee (or tea, I’m not sure) so that they could get down to studying. Breakfast, lunch, snacks, and dinner went on as per Amma’s schedule, and no one could have known these two boys were not part of this family (except perhaps by the fact that they spoke Konkani/Marathi and not Tamil!). My sister Vatsala who was then in 12th Std remembers teaching them some Math, too.

At the end of their stay, the two boys had grown quite attached to Amma and went their way with long faces but I’m sure they went with a full heart (not to mention stomach, of course). When the results came, the boys had done quite well, and their families were extremely grateful to Appa and Amma.

I’m struck by two things in this anecdote. 

First, Appa didn’t have to worry about what Amma’s reaction would be when the two boys came. He KNEW she would take care of them well.

Secondly, it was a home filled with girls and yet, there was no fear of bringing in 2 unknown boys – I think that speaks volumes not only about how (safe? innocent?) times then were, but also the confidence of both sets of parents in the values with which they had brought up their children.

As for Amma, I’m falling back on a few more lines from Kahlil Gibran to describe how she gave …

And there are those who give and know not pain in giving, nor do they seek joy, nor give with mindfulness of virtue;
They give as in yonder valley the myrtle breathes its fragrance into space.
Through the hands of such as these God speaks, and from behind their eyes He smiles upon the earth.

I wonder how much punya we 6 girls had accumulated in our past births to have had Amma as our mother in this birth!


  1. Well captured Anu. Very touching

  2. Amma annpurneshwari.Amidst girls ggiving shelter nd food really grt.

  3. Very rare to find anyone support children of friends. I would say it is a sacrifice .

    1. Amma felt it was her duty! You're right, that feeling is rare! Thank you!

  4. So beautiful. I literally imagined all this like in a movie. 😍😍😍

    1. πŸ™πŸΌπŸ™πŸΌ thank you, Shilpa!

  5. Anusuya... tears well up in my eyes.... you are right... that was a different generation ... a different breed... which stressed on values and gave away generously ... irrespective of what they had.... We are lucky to have learnt from them!

    1. Thank you, Dr. Sunayna! Lucky we are indeed!

  6. Such an unconditional love and soul πŸ’πŸ’πŸ’πŸ™πŸ»


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