(26 August 1910 – 5 September 1997) krithikka. Well, today was yet another day with packed reading. This evening, ma'm taught us AnandaBhairavi and I was enraptured. I was struck to Bilahari first and then Mohanam, now every thing seems more beautiful than the other. I was just wrapping up to go to sleep, when our ex-neighbour dropped in with her two cute adorable cancerian kids. Sneha was such a wobbly tiny baby with a wide pulsating scalp and now she has grown up so much in matter of months. Kids! Joyce akka taught me how to make puffed phulkas. She is an amazing cook.
Talks somehow turned to Sai baba’s death and suddenly akka started telling about Mother Teresa. She was in her second year nursing college it seems, when Mother Teresa died. She described Mother’s feet, which was just like a hard worked labourer’s feet full of cracks and hardened. We had so many lessons in our KV text books about Mother’s service. My rosy picture of Kolkatta was marred forever after reading The City of Joy. At times I wonder, it took her to bring in humanitarianism without blowing trumpets, how could fellow Indian citizens just stand it all the while.
Howrah bridge is always so crowded. In that crowd, when akka was in 8th standard, she saw Mother along with other sisters wipe the oozing phlegm and saliva of a mentally retarded beggar with her palms and carry him physically. Akka said, she is a nurse paid to take care of patients, yet she feels disgusted with nausea when sees the pus or loose motion. Yet mother did it with such loving care. Akka says, this image still haunts her. Reminded me of St. Francis Assissi swallowing pus so that he could serve showing only love on his face.
Akka further described how mother brought up so many abandoned kids. When the girls grew up, she would arrange their marriage and contribute all household items. Mother took under her care, unwed mothers and took care of the babies without resulting in abortions.
In 1979, for the first time in Nobel Prize history, the 5 course meal banquet in Grand Hotel was cancelled, because Mother refused to attend. She instead hosted a Christmas dinner for 2k poor people in Kolkatta. In the first-two years after joining IT industry, i used to love the office treats where some scapegoat team-member would spend exorbitantly for the entire team. After a while, I realized, what a colossal waste of money this was. I could find only one person who celebrated his b'day in an old age home and made the inmates happy with good food and company.
Akka stayed in Shishu bhavan it seems and many times she had seen mother wearing tattered clothes with many patches. In mother’s room only a mat and a pot for water used to be there. Mother died peacefully, after chest pain and she was questioning - how did Baba amass his wealth and live in such splendour? 1997, Princess Diana died; within a week Mother left.
I countered akka, quoting my doctor friends story, where many poor patients had received world class free cardiac treatment in Baba’s hospital. Finally, had to accept Mother’s benevolence and simplicity compared to the world wide access she had. An epitome of supreme loving service. Makes me wonder at the life am leading.
Am intrigued with this regression analysis link