“The year was 2005 and it was a midsummer afternoon. I had just finished my laundry work and returned home from my stall. I don’t know why but for some reason, I felt uneasy and negative that day. My son had an event to attend that evening and as he was leaving home, he said, “Nana, take care of my wife, children and mom, I will be back tomorrow.”
I thought it was just another one of his casual outings, but the next time I saw him, he was lying lifeless on a hospital stretcher. He had suffered a major bike accident and fractured his skull upon hitting a divider at 80km/hr. Twelve hours after the accident, we found out that he’d been admitted to Yashoda Hospital in the city. We rushed to the hospital to see him but by the time we got there, we were informed that he had not made it. I never imagined I would have to see him like that. None of us did. My wife collapsed upon hearing the news.. we were heartbroken.
I was just about to retire from this work, but overnight, all the weight of my responsibilities
towards my family fell on my shoulders again. I was 61 years old and ready to give my body a rest from work, but it seems like fate had other plans. I had to take care of my three granddaughters who were all below the age of 5. But as I had promised to my son, I wanted to make sure I protected all my granddaughters, and wanted to do so through the security of an education.
Eventually, I managed to focus on healing my heart from the pain of loss, and gathered the
strength to take care of my family. I worked extra hard, almost 17 hours a day. I used to go for
farm work in the mornings and did laundry work in the afternoons.
Even my wife and daughter-in-law started working to help support our family, so we were able to make ends meet. Luckily, by God’s grace, we were able to educate all of my granddaughters. My first granddaughter is now pursuing Engineering and the other two are studying Intermediate.
Things were normal until March, but suddenly when the lockdown was announced, all my hopes were shattered once again. I used to iron at least 50 pairs of clothes in a day and now people hardly come to my stall because majority of people are working from home. Moreover, people have stopped attending marriages and other family functions so there’s no business at all. Even though I am trying my best to follow all the safety precautions, my customers have lost trust and confidence in using services outside their homes. At the moment, I can only hope and pray that things get back to normal soon.
I just wanted to say one thing to my son who is watching me from heaven – Kanna, I will never
let your daughters down! I know you want to see them become big officers one day and I
promise, I will never stop working until that day comes.”
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