Archive for April 18th, 2018

Dreams for future women, lessons from the past 101 years as a woman

My grandmother (Ajji we call in our language) turned 101 today, yes you read it right hundred and one years old. I spent a few hours last week while I was in India with my grandmother. We celebrated her 100th birthday and all her extended family was invited for this occasion. It was the same time during which I was profiled in USA Today article. My uncle read out the article to her and my Ajji was super happy. She hugged me, kissed me told my parents they were lucky to have me as a daughter. The one thing which stuck me was when Ajji told “ During my time, I was not allowed to go to school. I fought with my father and studied until 2nd grade so I could at least read and write Kannada(our regional language in Bangalore, Karnataka). In my next birth I want to study, work hard and be like you”. I was stunned to hear that, my 101 year old grandmother was thinking of studying, working and succeeding in life. And this might not go well with our President, but asked me to take everyone with me to USA so that they could all succeed in this country which I call my home now. It shocked everyone around us.

That long flight back home from India, I kept thinking what my Ajji said. I kept thinking how hard her life was, I kept thinking how much she longed to study, I kept thinking how fortunate we were to be able to study, work and succeed and finally how we all have taken this for granted.

Ajji went through tough tough challenges in life, lost my grandfather in her late 50’s for cancer, lost her daughter and daughter-in-law, her 6 sisters, many in her extended family, but she never lost her strength, never lost her will power, never lost her will to survive all odds.

Ajji was the pillar of strength to the entire family and to my parents a great deal. Ajji was responsible for allowing my Mom to continue studies after her High school. Mom was told to stop studies after her high school, Mom influenced by Mahatma Gandiji went on Satygraha to coerce her Father and family to let her continue studies. Mom completed her Bachelor of Arts and later got married. When Mom decided to continue her studies after three kids, Ajji came and stayed with us to help my Mom complete her Masters and become a History Professor.
When Mom had a major accident, and needed help since I was in my final year of Engineering college, Ajji was right with us helping us in everything.

Ajji was super excited that her granddaughter my daughter Sneha was pursuing Medicine and was going to be like her Husband a Doctor. She asked Sneha to be the best Doctor, help patients like her great grandfather and have compassion and above all be humble.

Today being my Grandmother’s 101 birthday, I wish her A VERY HAPPY BIRTHDAY. AJJI YOU ARE AN INSPIRATION NOT JUST TO ME BUT WILL BE TO EVERYONE WHO READS THIS ARTICLE. We have learnt a lot from our Ajji, and I hope to keep learning from her.

And here is the USA Today article link and a picture:

http://project.mediaplanet.com/20819.pdf#page=11

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