When we met with the weavers of Chinalampatti for the first time, Krishnan handed out ShikshaDaan’s card to everyone. This really sweet grand old lady came upto me and said, she wanted a card too and then asked me, whether I can find out what happened to her pension… I gave her a card but didn’t understand what she meant by pension. After the meeting got over, I asked the office folks to tell me what her problem was …
Rasammal is nearly 75+ or more, and she lives in a room in the society office, all alone. Her husband has died and her only son also died 20 years back… she cleans up the society office and they pay her some salary and have given her this room so she can stay without paying any rent. She was getting Rs. 400/- as a pension from the state government and suddenly for the past few months she hasn’t got that. She thought we were from the state government and wanted us to take up the issue and ensure she gets her pension. We explained to her that we were not from the state government and may not be able to help her with the pension issue.
She was ok and wished us well when we explained what we were doing through ShikshaDaan. She didn’t ask for money but I gave her some and told her we will work something out. When we visited Chinalampatti again on the 10th of July to meet with the children of the weavers, she was there again, as enthusiastic as ever and happy to see us. The following is the picture that I took with her.
The minute she understood that we couldn’t influence her pension, she never once brought up that topic. She only wanted to know if we were ok and again wished us well. She never asked for anything. She cleans up the society office and keeps herself clean and even in an old sari, she looks fabulous. She fitted into a one hand hug as she is frail and I feel like crying even now as I write this …. because when I looked at Rasammal, I remember this story that I read in a newspaper a couple of years back. An old woman was found standing at the Ghaziabad intersection just after Patparganj and when the police asked her why she was standing there, she said, her son had left her there and said he will come back – and never did. I have never forgotten that story and I couldn’t stop crying thinking of what that mother would have felt when she realised that her son had abandoned her. I hope I never meet the son, for I will kill him.
The human race can be so cruel …. abandoning the very woman who gave birth to you is unpardonable, whatever be your circumstances. Leaving your parent(s) in a home because you are unable to take care of them, is still understandable but just abandoning them, or worse, not getting them medicines for any of their illnesses, just letting them die slowly, not giving them food – these are all cruel behaviour and should be treated as murder. All of this happens and not in the poorer sections of the society but in the well to do sections of the society.
The old and aging need love and care – yes, parents can be difficult, they will drive you up the wall, BUT, and its a big BUT, remember they are the only people in this whole wide world of 7 billion people who cannot wish you ill, they are forever wishing you well, however terrible you are and however difficult they are. That is priceless.
Sorry for the rambling … but looking at Rasammal, an old woman, all by herself and still having to earn a living in her sunset years is just difficult to digest. I wrote this today, because I have sent her some money today and was remembering her. The money I sent is not much and honestly she doesn’t need money, but am hoping it makes her feel that there is somebody who thinks of her and that she is not alone. I have adopted Rasammal and am hoping many of the readers of this blog and many of my friends will adopt a Rasammal too – there are many old men and women who have been abandoned or have just become alone because their spouses and children died – give them some food, some money and meet them every couple of months even for a few minutes. They crave for a little attention and taking 5 minutes out is certainly possible for all of us.
Adopt a Rasammal and be blessed – teach your children to adopt a grandparent, if theirs are no more.