Wednesday, July 27, 2011

My Grandmaternal Inspiration

For me, yesterday was not only the 10th Anniversary of The Women’s Mosaic; it was also the day my maternal grandmother passed away in the 1980s. I have been thinking about how grateful I am to have what I have, since my grandmother was not as fortunate. One of many things she did not have was access to a thriving community of women like The Women’s Mosaic. She is an inspiration to me, and I am proud to be a part of her family tree.

My siblings and I never had a chance to meet my grandmother. My Mother received news that she was gravely ill and had to get enough money together so that the whole family could fly back to India. My family struggled financially for years because my parents financially supported many family members in India, so things like family trips were out of the question. When we were on the plane flying over Europe, she passed away. I have flashes of memory from my first time in India; my Mother weeping in the courtyard of her parents’ home, and me looking up at her and hugging her waist; mosquito bites all over my legs and arms, tall trees laden with tropical fruits, lots of rain, and blurry images of family members I barely knew then, and even now. Later, I started asking my Mother about the woman she was so desperate to see again before her death, but couldn’t. She told me about how difficult village life in Southern India was for her mother, including how she never learned to read and write. Even with the lack of education, she used to help my Mother with her homework, especially mathematics. Apparently she was a natural when it came to figuring out solutions to equations in her head. I wish I had that gift!

My grandmother supported her family in an often socially hostile environment, with very little money. Still, she did an amazing job, and her children and children’s children are proof of this. I honor her life as I celebrate TWM’s 10th Anniversary.

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