First let me start with my mother:
I have written many blogs about her. She was and still is my first inspiration.
I must say, I have inherited her humor, her sense of never feeling old, always young at heart, her mimicry, her cooking skills ( though I am still to reach her level), her patience, her frankness, her art of enjoying her own jokes or jokes made at her expense, and last but not least her smile.
When I look back to the life she was forced to live, I feel she had managed pretty well, despite various hurdles thrown in her path.
She loved to sing, she had a soft, sweet voice, and she was a good story teller too. She used to have a temper too sometimes, which also I have inherited from her, though these days I don't get as mad as I used to, when I was younger. Like her I also love all the fun things in life.
Till I got married, I was always dependent on her to select my dresses and sarees for me: she had excellent taste.
From her I learnt to be more forgiving. She had sacrificed so many things for us, her time, her desires, her aspirations: only to make us happy.
I am sure this is nothing new, for all mothers are like that only.
My Sweet elder sister:
She is 11 years older than me, and she is almost like a mother to me. While she was very young, many a time it fell upon her, (when my mom was busy with cooking or other errands) to look after me. She would sing a beautiful lullaby for me, which she just made up for me. I can still hear her sweet voice, filled with love and tenderness, even after so many years.
She is an excellent singer, trained in both Carnatic music, and Hindi Bhajans. Her voice too is very soft and sweet. I remember when she sang the song "Hey Mera Watan Ke Logo", (a patriotic song sung by Latha Mangashwar) in one of her college functions, I could see tears in every body's eyes.
She was also a brilliant debater, she stood 2nd in the All Assam Debate Competition in 1964. She was very smart, nothing was challenging for her; for she was ready for anything in life.
She got married when very young, and the trials and tribulations of her married life did not make her a cribber. She faced everything, without uttering a word of regret, or complain, she was the type who, when given a lemon could make a lemonade out of it and be happy.
Family was important to her more than her goals, desires and aspirations, which kept knocking at her door, but which she chose to ignore.
She is a real gem of a person. A person who would never gossip, nor entertain anybody who likes to gossip. She was my father's favorite child. And she is our favorite sister too.
I always look at her and try to learn certain good things from her.
Then comes my 2nd elder sister:
She had a good life here in India, until her husband went to America to help his sister who felt she needed some family of her own. My sister too went with him taking her two small kids with her.
Life in those days was quite tough in the US. She was used to domestic helps in India , who would look after her home, her kids, but in the US she had to do everything by herself. As if that was not enough, she was forced to learn car driving, do all the household work, look after the kids their school, run errands, go to the bank, take her sick Father in law to the hospital for regular check ups, handle money and everything, which she never had to bother in India. Children were growing up, high expenses, and recession.
She started a Day Care Center for kids, had a Cassette lending library, and a travel agency. In the US it is mandatory for both partners to earn to live well.
She finally closed the other businesses and was only concentrating on her Day Care Center, which was very popular, and there was a high demand for her services.She is very good with kids.
Then her husband got laid off. But that did not make him give up, he took up Home Improvement projects,and he was very good at that.
When I look at all these people, I am inspired, and wish them well. I don't know whether inspiration alone is enough, for I often feel I would have failed to come up as they have, if I were in their situation.
My Brother in law was not only a smart engineer, he was also a very good man. He would help my sister in all her work, encouraged her to learn driving, to drive in the snow, to be a brave woman.
As if all this was not enough trouble, he suddenly got a Stye type of infection in his eyes, first the doctors thought it was just a regular, harmless Stye, but after various tests it was found that it was a rare condition, where although there was nothing wrong with his vision, he would not be able to see because his eyelids would automatically close, some muscular problem there.( I don't know the name of this medical condition). They have still not found any cure for this condition.
This happened when he was so happy to get back his regular engineer's job in the same company. He was hardly in this job for 2 years when this eye problem cropped up, making it impossible for him to continue in the job.
He got some surgeries done, he was on Botox, and that did not help him much, then he got some minor operation done by which he could partially keep his eyes open, but that has its own disadvantages too.
My sister became the sole earner, while he used to get some occasional Home Improvement jobs, and some finance from the various investments he had done.
He is still the smartest person on earth, he can travel alone, he can take good pictures of my sister, and he is very dependable man. He can see, but has to forcefully lift his eye lid.
The main thing about him, is that, he stuck there, and did not come running back to India. One needs lots of guts and tremendous courage to stay there and somehow tackle all the odds and make a living and be happy under any circumstances.
My second sister and her husband are the people I look up for inspiration whenever, I am down and depressed. I also give full credit to my sister in being there for him all the time. She is also a person who has a real zest for life, making it a point to enjoy every minute of her life with her husband and her lovely grown up children, and grand children. They all simply adore her.
Anyone can get inspired by him, for him nothing is impossible, even if it is he would somehow make it possible by hook or crook. Life has treated him pretty harshly, but has never been able to crush him.
He has a lot of will power to bear anything in life and he will always face the hurdles with a smile. I feel, I have inherited this trait of having a strong will power from him, and I thank him everyday for that gift.
He is 92 still going strong, manages his own affairs, like finance, buying his own tickets to go wherever he plans to go, travels by bus / train all by himself, and also ride his TVS Moped even at this age.
He never questions me about anything. He is always around as he runs his business from home. He is there to cut the vegetables for me,( he would cut them according to our menu), he would go to the market and get all the things for the house, he would also not mind, to cook if I wanted him to cook.
He gives me all the space needed in our relationship, and is always a fun person to be with. He has been with me in good times as well as bad times.
His goodness is very inspiring, although whether I can ever be like him is doubtful.
No point in celebrating Women's day, if we cannot acknowledge some of the good men and also some good women who have had played some significant roles in our lives.
Cheers to all the inspiring women and men in our lives !!