Sarayu Mohanachandran, an IAS officer, and a native of Kerala who is currently posted in Tamil Nadu’s Nilgiris district, recently wrote an emotional Facebook post describing the hardships her mom, Khadeeja, had faced while raising their family.
Taking to Facebook after her mother’s Osteoporosis diagnosis, she wrote about how Khadeeja had toiled day and night to fulfill familial and professional responsibilities, often neglecting her own health. In the midst of helping her family achieve their dreams, she also found time to pursue her passion — law — and obtained an LLB degree. “After her retirement, without further delay, she shocked us by enrolling as an advocate,” writes Sarayu.
Ending the note, Sarayu expresses guilt that her mother, like many others, did not live the life she deserved.
“I feel guilty when I look back. I realise now that I should not have laughed when my father used to make fun of my mother for not reading books. I understand now that she did not read so that we could read more…”
Here is a translation of the original Malayalam post to her mom:
It has been three years since knee pain started disturbing my mother.
Despite that, my mother kept running around after eating pills. She didn’t break my dad’s naughty food habits or her grandson’s naughtiness.
The pain was getting worse. But I tried to postpone going to the hospital fearing COVID. My sister rushed to help at home.
But now the pain would not leave my mom. Finally, they went to Amrita Hospital.
Her knees, which have been running around for us, are very painful. That’s why she can’t sleep at night.
The doctors say both her knees have deteriorated by 40%, and that a knee replacement surgery is the only solution.
Due to the situation, the doctor gave her an injection for interim relief and sent her back.
These legs are all worn out for us. My mother’s daily routine, for the last 40 years, began by giving black tea to Appa, who will be reading the newspaper in the morning. Then, like a machine, she would make curry, rice, warm water, and then clean the yard.
We would try to help her, but my mother would work with as if she had a hundred hands to finish it before she went to work.
After reaching home from her office, she would run to the kitchen. Once those chores were done, she would sit with any pending files from her office.
Meanwhile, I am the one who disturbed my mother the most. More than half of the 40% osteoporosis has to be thanks to me.
Despite all that, when I in second grade, my mother enrolled in LLB also!
Mother would do everything for my siblings and me. She would drop us at different locations so that I could take part in quiz competitions and she would buy every book I asked.
When I began preparing for the IAS, only my mother believed in me. I was daunted by the mock test thanks to the low marks I scored and the vast syllabus that I hadn’t studied yet. But my mother stood with me. She would say, “If you don’t crack it, who else can?”
Even though I got into the service, my mom’s duties didn’t reduce. My mom would run along with my transfer orders, after getting my stuff packed and then making sure it re-settled properly in the new destination.
Though every posting had a house and kitchen, my mother would teach my favourite dishes to my caretakers at home.
After her retirement, my mother shocked us again by enrolling as a lawyer.
I feel guilty when I look back. My mom was a member of the college union, but because of us, my mother didn’t get the life she deserved. There were so many good writings my mother had to write.
We shouldn’t have laughed when my dad made fun of her when she could not find time to read a book.
Now, I have realised that my mother didn’t read so that we could.
May her pain be relieved, and may she come back as a Miduki (smart woman), wear a lawyer’s gowns and start practising, write about her revolutionary love story.
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra. With inputs from Ranjith KR)