She is a woman extraordinaire. She lost her vision and her husband when in her forties, but Mother Nature bestowed her with an astounding sense of hearing that could send an owl ducking for cover and a remarkable memory that could give a hard disk a run for its money! The telephone is her best friend and helps her stay connected with the world and her kith and kin. She cannot read the phone numbers from the phonebook but her mind is her miniature directory that has devised ingenious methods of memorizing them. Her culinary skills are legendary. Her incredible sense of touch and smell eclipse her visual impairment and enable her to dish out lip smacking delicacies! Her penchant for Carnatic music is such that she can identify atleast 40 raagas within seconds of their rendition! When her near and dear ones celebrate an event or reach a milestone, she rewards them with an invaluable gift - a poem in Hindi or Tamil that has invariably moved many a recipient to tears!
Cricket is her religion and Sachin Tendulkar, her God. When friends or relatives are eager for the cricket score, they dial her for an update as they are certain she would be glued to her transistor radio, her window to the world. Recently two cricket enthusiasts argued on whether Anil Kumble played in the 1992 Cricket World Cup or not. They checked with her and she told them that he was part of the 1996 team and reeled off the names of the 14 member squad, including Salil Ankola who played just one group match against Sri Lanka. When India plays in the West Indies, she stays awake at night listening to the radio commentary and when they play in Australia, she wakes up at 4 am. She never fails to listen to the Sports news on All India Radio at 8pm everyday and keeps her family informed of the team selections for the forthcoming tours.
Her grand-daughter is the apple of her eye and her education started in the confines of her grandma's tiny bedroom. Grandma is a polyglot, but most proficient in Hindi and believed it was sacrilege if her grand - daughter did not ace the subject in her class. The little girl of course, had other ideas as she intensely disliked her Hindi teacher in school for some inexplicable reason and hence protested and resisted learning the language, with a vengeance. Grandma was unrelenting in the pursuit of her goal and wrote about 60 essays and 400 antonyms, synonyms, proverbs and phrases for her school final exams in a script that resembled hieroglyphics ( as she could not see what she wrote ). Her dream of the young girl topping the class in Hindi came a cropper as she was nowhere near the top!
She is a woman of substance, she is a savvy woman and she has successfully battled cancer! She is deeply spiritual and follows a strict regimen of meditation. Her strength originates, not from the brunt of all the adversities she battled in her life, but by the extent of her refusal to allow these adversities to dictate to her. She is frail, all of 4 feet 11 inches tall and weighs about 40 kgs. She is my mom and she just turned eighty!