Otherwise nondescript

At times, I love to get philosophical about life and imminent happenings. Being an earth sign, I slip into the realm of life that is better suited when left closed with a tight lid. But in the stoic mode I slip into, hardships and coping with it seem to be the reality, all else a mirage.

When I get engrossed in those saintly contemplations, my mind wanders to the otherwise nondescript characters in my life. The flower seller at the doorstep, the milk vendor whose day begins at 3 in the morning and the maid who has no traits of a maid – are all protagonists.

My maid, who can be called so because of the work she does, owns a house and has ensured that her three daughters get the best of education. Like my mom would put it, ‘She is too sophisticated in her outlook to be called a maid’. And, the ironwallah who spends 12 hours of the day running his huge iron box on heaps of clothes, has toiled hard to settle his son in Singapore.

But the most fascinating of all these characters is an old lady who works as a maid for my neighbours. Nobody knows her name and she is addressed by all as ‘Amma’.

Every morning when I go for my swimming classes, Amma flashes a toothless smile and her wrinkled face is as radiant as the morning sun. Her day begins at 6 in the morning, with daily chores to attend at the homes she works in. By noon, I find her resting on the pavement, intermittently, getting up to greet people she knows. I wonder when she manages to catch some sleep, bearing in mind that the locality is bustling with activity with scores of people pacing up and down the street

Once in a while, I find her at my place to help my mom with household work, when our maid takes off. She finishes all the work in an hour with utter perfection, compliments my mom. She says, ‘You don’t mind paying such people a few hundreds more.’

Does she have a home and a family, I asked my dad, out of curiosity. I learnt that she does have two children who stay in the other part of the city. Amma doesn’t stay with them, but pays a visit to them every weekend. She says she doesn’t want to be a burden for them, said my dad.

Well, that is the story of Amma who must be close to 80. I don’t know what is fascinating about her: her independence at this ripe age, or her cheerful nature despite living on the edge. Or maybe, it is her will to lead a life of dignity.

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3 Responses to “Otherwise nondescript”

  1. ritika Says:

    no matter how much you mull over life..and what it gives you ..THIS is reality ..these are the people who inspire us and we understand life a little better and maybe even learn from it if we are wise….
    not being a burden on the family is probably the best gift she gave her children
    getting up each time to wish people is the Godliness in her
    working with precision is her karma
    she has accepted her fate and is making the most of it
    AMMA tujhe salaam
    well done Jay…i hope you read the article to her…click a pic and put it up..she will believe her toil and hard work did not go unnoticed…shabaash…

  2. ponnuvel Says:

    good story..with simple english readers like me…

    pls keep doin d same.

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