Thursday, 8 March 2018

In praise of unsung heroines



I wish to dedicate this piece to a kind and courageous woman called Lalitha. When she was left with four young children and a handicapped husband she was young and  inexperienced with little educational or financial background. And this was more than fifty years ago when women leaving for work to another town was not kindly looked upon. But left with no other go she took up the challenge and joined as a hostel warden in a school run by a charitable trust for children who are orphans or from  backward and downtrodden families. She cared for the children like her own. She gave them healthy food. Made sure that they studied well. Instilled discipline in them. Taught them cooking, cleanliness and other practical livelihood skills in their free time.  This they might not have got even in their homes given their family background. In short she helped them grow up into responsible citizens. Not one or two children, but hundreds of them, maybe thousands, batch after batch.  Many of them have come up well in life and fondly remember Lalitha akka's (as the children call her with affection) contribution in moulding them. At the same time she took care of her  husband and gave decent education to her children. She has made it a point to attend functions in relatives' families along with her children even after her husband's death. Now they are well settled in life, bringing up their own children nicely. Now she has no financial commitments. Her children are only too pleased to have her with them. She can lead a comfortable life with anyone of them. But she can not leave the organisation that supported her  when she badly needed support. The hostel now needs her dedicated service very much and is unable to find a substitute. So she prefers to be with the poor children and do whatever she can for their good even in her 70s. She visits her children and spends time with grandchildren during school vacations, sharing her time between her family and the larger family of poor children. Such women are real heroines and make the World a better place to be in. Let us give them a big salute on this International Womens Day. Hats off to Lalitha akka.

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