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:


54 responses to this post.

  1. Wow… my grandmother too lived till 103.


  2. Posted by Smt. A.N.Joshi on May 10, 2018 at 7:41 am

    Now I know from where you get the inspiration for digging out so many details and tiredlessly answering all the queiries!! You are doing a great job, helpful to so many like me.
    Convey my regards to Ajji.


  3. Posted by USHA on April 29, 2018 at 2:26 pm

    Very inspiratioal post and a great picture, Meera!! Belated Happy Birthday to your Ajji , may God bless her.


  4. Posted by Venkatesh on April 28, 2018 at 9:52 pm

    Meera avare,,

    Such a beautiful write up on your Ajji!!

    My eyes are swelling up reading on the struggles she went through, yet coming out so successfully to score a 101 !!

    Your love for Ajji is palpable in each sentence.

    Our namaskaara for your Ajji, (Now she is an Ajji to all of your subscribers too) and wishing her years of good health.

    If your daughter had also been in this picture, 4 generations together,, would have been even more wonderful. ( She did not travel , I guess, as a med school student)


    • Posted by meeraghu on April 29, 2018 at 12:29 pm

      I told my mom about your comment, thanks so much. Yes, Ajji and Mom struggled a lot, and we are reaping their rewards. And yes, we have four generations photo when Sneha visited in 2016.


  5. Posted by Padma Rao on April 27, 2018 at 4:33 pm

    Meera, my daughter is deciding whether to go to UNC or CMU this weekend for undergrad and she was looking for some guidance. I understand Sneha will be very busy.If you’re available, I can talk to you for few minutes to get your thoughts. You can call me at 9599851876. Thanks !


    • Posted by meeraghu on April 27, 2018 at 6:03 pm

      I will try to call, Padma.


    • Posted by meeraghu on April 29, 2018 at 12:28 pm

      Pamda, Verizon says cannot call, is this USA number?


      • Posted by Padma Rao on July 15, 2018 at 12:09 pm

        Sorry, Meera. I had a typo in my number I gave you earlier and somehow I missed seeing this message until now.. My correct number if 919-985-1876 and we live in NC. My daughter decided to go to Carnegie Mellon and anyways, thanks ! Hope you are doing well. Take care. – Padma

      • Posted by meeraghu on July 15, 2018 at 5:58 pm

        Congrats, Padma. No worries.

  6. Posted by Shubha Sridhara Satish on April 27, 2018 at 11:28 am

    Ajjis are the best and so are Thathas. They have really struggled and achieved a lot in their time. I really loved that your Ajji is still going strong in all aspects at 101. Belated wishes to Ajji, please keep inspiring us with more stories like this.


  7. Posted by Padma Rao on April 26, 2018 at 10:53 am

    Hello Meera, I’ve sent you an email to your yahoo address requesting some information. Please let me know if you received it and can reply. Appreciate it very much !


    • Posted by meeraghu on April 26, 2018 at 3:23 pm

      No, I haven’t received any email, Padma.


      • Posted by Padma Rao on April 26, 2018 at 6:13 pm

        I had sent the email to Meerabs@yahoo.com which I believe I had from 3 years back to get some info on UNC & Sneha. Please let me know if there is any other way to reach you. My email is pamarao@yahoo.com . Thanks !

      • Posted by meeraghu on April 27, 2018 at 10:15 am

        Hmm, I saw all emails and even junk, there isn’t anything. Anyway, Sneha is very busy with her rotations, all day in hospitals. How soon do you want to talk to her?

  8. Posted by shobha on April 24, 2018 at 11:19 am

    Congratulations Meera on your ajji’s milestone birthday! Proud to see women power here, wish you the best.


  9. Posted by bsk on April 19, 2018 at 12:05 pm

    Congratulations Meera avare. Also Happy birthday to your Ajji


  10. Meeraji please convey.my pranams to your Ajji. She will be inspiration to young ones. May God bless her with health wealth and happiness


  11. Posted by Surekha Ayyagari on April 18, 2018 at 9:58 pm

    You are so blessed! Thank you for sharing all this goodness with us. The article was
    wonderful!You are an inspiration to all girls and young women!


  12. Posted by K.LAKSHMAN. on April 18, 2018 at 7:55 pm

    She is a real inspiration to all of us. May she provide us such inspiration for many more years is my ardent prayer to Guru Raghavendra.


  13. Posted by Bharathesh Hiremath on April 18, 2018 at 7:32 pm

    Madam Your Ajji is great. I wish her many more happy returns of the day.

    On Wed, Apr 18, 2018 at 6:50 PM, Kalpavriksha Kamadhenu wrote:

    > meeraghu posted: ” 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 i” >


  14. Posted by Padma Rao on April 18, 2018 at 2:13 pm

    Best wishes to your ajji and my namaskara to her and your mom. You are truly blessed to have such a great mother and grand mother, Meera .


    • Posted by meeraghu on April 18, 2018 at 2:25 pm

      Thanks so much, Padma. Yes, very much blessed to have them as my role models and great inspiration.


  15. Posted by Nanda hegde on April 18, 2018 at 2:07 pm

    Realy ourgrandmothers are so strong with stong will power.they are inspiration for us.i wish happy birthday to your sweet ajji


  16. Posted by Archana on April 18, 2018 at 12:51 pm

    Happy Birthday Ajji..:)


  17. No words to express my happiness when you say that your grandmother completed 101 years. There is no age for wishing older and younger, so I wish her to live long and happy life, her goal will be achieved in her next birth. You look very beauty in photo. Today Akshatrithiya in India, Mantralayam and everywhere it would have celebrated and Rayur would be decorated in Sandle Kavasam, if you happen to get the photo, please share with us. All the best.


  18. Posted by jyothi ramamurthy on April 18, 2018 at 11:59 am

    Hi Meeraji

    Wonderfull my Pranams to her feet as well belated Happy Birth Day to her.
    Thank you for sharing the joy.


  19. Posted by Chandrika Vaidya on April 18, 2018 at 11:33 am

    Geat story. Happy birthday to Ajji. Raven I learned lot from my Ajji. Ajji are great.
    Thanks for sharing.
    Chandrika CA


  20. Posted by Lalitha Rao on April 18, 2018 at 10:42 am

    ನಾನು ಚಿಕ್ಕವಳಾಗಿದಾಗಿನಿಂದ ಮತ್ತು ಸುತ್ತ ಮುತ್ತಿನ ಪರಿಸ್ಥಿತಿಗಳನ್ನು ಅರ್ಥ ಮಾಡಿಕೊಳ್ಳುವ ವಯಸ್ಸಿನಿಂದಲೂ ಮಾ. ಶಾರದಮ್ಮನನ್ನು ನೋಡುತ್ತಿದೇನೆ. ಅವರು ಎಷ್ಟೇ ಸಂಪ್ರದಾಯಸ್ಥ ಸಂಸಾರದಿಂದ ಬಂದಿದ್ದರೂ ಅವರ forward thinking ಬಗ್ಗೆ ನೋಡಿ ಆಶ್ಚರ್ಯ ಆಗುತ್ತಿತ್ತು. ಪ್ರಜಾವಾಣಿ ಪೇಪರ್ ಅನ್ನು ಮೊದಲ ಪುಟದಿಂದ ಹಿಡಿದು ಕೊನೇ ಪುಟದ ತನಕ ಓದದೇ ಇದ್ದರೆ ಅವರಿಗೆ ದಿನವೇ ಹೋಗುತ್ತಿರಲಿಲ್ಲ. ಇಂಗ್ಲಿಷ್ ಅಷ್ಟೊಂದು ಗೊತ್ತಾಗದೆ ಇದ್ದರೂ Deccan Herald ಹಿಡಿದು ತಮಗೆ ಎಷ್ಟು ಗೊತ್ತಾಗತ್ತೋ ಅಷ್ಟು ಅರಗಿಸಿಕೊಳ್ಳುತ್ತಿದ್ದರು. ಶಾಮಣ್ಣನ ಮೂರು ಮಕ್ಕಳ ಸಂಸಾರ ಮಧ್ಯಾಹ್ನ ಊಟ ಆದಮೇಲೆ ಶ್ರೀರಾಮಪೇಟೆಯ ವಠಾರದ ಮನೆಯ ಜಗಲಿಯ ಮೇಲೆ ಕುಳಿತು ಹರಟೆ ಹೊಡಿಯುತ್ತ ಪ್ರಪಂಚದ ಸಮಸ್ಯೆಗಳಿಗೆಲ್ಲ ಎಲ್ಲರೂ ಉತ್ತರ ಕಂಡು ಹಿಡಿಯುತ್ತಿದ್ದಾಗ ಅವರೂ ತಮ್ಮ ಅಭಿಪ್ರಾಯಗಳನ್ನು ವ್ಯಕ್ತ ಪಡಿಸುತ್ತಿದ್ದರು. ಎಲ್ಲ ನೆನಪಿಗೆ ಬಂತು.
    Thanks for the nice picture.


    • Posted by meeraghu on April 18, 2018 at 10:45 am

      Agree, Aunty. I remember her teaching me many many songs on our Beloved Rayaru. Just talked to her and conveyed all your wishes. She was super excited that I had written about her. Thanks Aunty for your wonderful comment.


  21. Posted by Vani on April 18, 2018 at 10:07 am

    WOW Meera, Congratulations!! You make me proud to be a fellow Kannadiga 🙂

    Heartiest wishes to your Ajji and may God bless her with health and happiness…


  22. Posted by SAMPATH KUMAR on April 18, 2018 at 9:52 am

    Ajji is for all of us We wish Ajji many many many happy returns of the day Almighty Rayaru will grant her good health always SamoathSrijanthaManjeshCanada

    Sent from Yahoo Mail for iPhone


  23. Posted by VASUDA KRISHNAMURTHY on April 18, 2018 at 9:50 am

    Wow….ನಿಮ್ಮ ಆಜ್ಜಿಯವರಿಗೆ ನನ್ನ ಪ್ರಣಾಮಗಳು,,,🙏🙏


  24. Posted by Sathya Narayanan on April 18, 2018 at 9:45 am

    Wonderful. Congrats and Best wishes…


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