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Good deed
i found a young man dressed shabbily, thin to the point of losing his balance and falling if he tried to turn and behaving in a way people call mad at my doorstep in the morning
my heart went out to him and i wondered why he had come to the street
Had he run away from home?
Was this a mental illness or a result of bad habit taking over his life"
Did he have no support?
I brought a bowl full of hot sambar rice,chips and a bottle of water for him. He first eyed these a few times and then ate with relish He even smiled and i couldn't help crying, crying for the mother in me was weeping for this abandoned son
I wondered how else i could help him i took a T-shirt from my husband and a pair of shorts from my son and gave them
I came down to go out a few minutes later and found him in the new clothes and looking better
I could not help when a song came to my mind
Each day i'll do a golden deed
By helping those who are in need
My life on earth is but a span
And so i'll do the best i can

Child is the father of man

This is a proverb I have pondered over as a school student
Years later when I look back at foot steps in the sands of time two separate events in my life throw light for me
Two years back when my mother showed signs of old age I was fighting the change tooth and nail wanting her to be the way I had known her
my first son's simple explanation made me see things in proper perspective. He told me how life has come a full circle for my mother and that I will find it easier if I looked at it as if she has reached where it all began . Look at her as your child.
Over night I was at peace and with a new perspective and at peace with myself.
Now when my mother is frail and seeking constant presence of a loving company just to reassure her she is not alone,I was in her room by her side and talking to her while she seemed to be hearing without listening.
When I asked my younger son to take care of her he did it so beautifully He stayed in the drawing room which is a few steps higher and a little distance from her room and whenever she called out his name he simply switched on the torch light he was holding to let her know he was there and lo behold she was so calm and understood her grand son's signal.
I too understood why child is the father of man.My own children showed me the way in taking care of my mother.Thank you sons I am proud of you.

Thus Spake Choodamani Mami
Mami had come to Chennai to attend the 10th to thirteenth day rites of her dear brother, She had come home and I was at home as i had come from Bathinda on leave.
As usual we started talking and spoke about everything udner the sun Radha and I were talking to her about her voluntary retirement and whether she had any plans of settling in Chennai. Sitting on the lovely sands of the Marina beach we told her how nice it would be to live in Chennai, have a nice home car and all comforts and also move around with friends and relatives.
Mami was very clear and said she had no such plans and what she said took me aback. I try to quote what she said, "Uri, I have no wish to live in Chennai and flaunt my affluence. தோல் சுருங்கி கூன் விழுந்து வாழ எனக்கு ஆசையே கிடையாது. I don't wish to see the ravages of time on my body and face. When my kids are fine, I have seen my grand-child and I should die with my head on my husband's lap. சௌந்தரிய லஹரில சாயுஜ்ய ப்ராப்தினு இருக்கு அதுதான் எனக்கு வேணும் (There is something called Sayujya Praapti in Soundarya Lahari. I desire that)." Of course we went on to speak about a lot of things including the child Ramya's birth day to why Mami never went abroad for which she said very clearly that she would never travel till she was in service and would travel abroad after she retired in September.

Now looking back my Mami died on the day of her and her husband's birthday (30th of June), 48 years of age on a Friday early morning, no illness, no hospitalisation - her heart just stopped beating that too gently without even disturbing the smile on her face. If this is not sayujjya prapti what is?

Friends I have not written this to discuss what she wished or what happened. I write this to draw your attention to my understanding that what happens in our life is what we sincerely wish for and which is agreeable to nature. We can all lead better and much fuller lives if we do not resist the changes that come our way from nature. But I am still groping in the dark.

For the past few years, I have been having a fulfilling association with Sneha, a NGO devoted to suicide prevention. Sneha is turning 25 in 2011 and we are celebrating our 25Th year anniversary as well as hosting an international conference in January 2011. The conference is going to be in Hotel savera in end January /early February 2011 for 3 days. We will also be organising awareness programs in schools and colleges from June 2011. But it is never enough-specially with increased suicidal behavior in the ages of 16 up. we are now reaching out to more sections-both in the private as well as corporation/government aided sectors. It will be great if you can contribute to this cause and in case you have like minded friends who would be willing to contribute to the cause of suicide prevention and emotional support to the depressed and desolate,you could forward this appeal. We can then work out ways in which contributions can be sent.

To know more about Sneha-you can reach us by clicking on Sneha

Urmila Devanathan
April 2010

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