As some have heard and others will come to know of now, our mom passed away unexpectedly on Aug 4th in Chennai, India. She suffered a stroke that resulted in the left side of her body becoming paralyzed and unfortunately – while on the path to recovery – she suffered a concussion 10 days later that led to her untimely death.
Although more than a month has since passed, we kids are all still in a state of disbelief. To say that family and friends were just as shocked as we are, would be an understatement. At 76, mom was described unanimously by everyone…and we do mean everyone!.....as a fiercely independent and deeply knowledgeable woman whose energy, willpower and can-do attitude belied her age. She was best known as the person who everyone would always see “walking…no actually running….up and down the streets of Chennai, always so busy...no time to relax!” They joked, “if Dr. Indra says….let’s just walk there, it’s really close by, run the other way as you will not be able to keep up with her.”
Highly spiritual, she was also known for having visited not just the most number of temples in her beloved South India, but also temples in the remotest of jungles and forests. Where no man would go, mom went! Born in Ooty, a hill station in the Nilgiris District of Tamil Nadu, mom proudly called herself a ‘mountain horse’ (sometimes interchanged with ‘mountain goat!') and fondly recalled to us many a time over evening tea, how she would walk great distances up and down the misty haze of the Nilgiris hills to get to school - avoiding the abundant and dangerous native black monkeys of course.
“C’mon ma,” I (<--name of child quoted withheld to avoid wrath of siblings) used to think, rolling my eyes. “Did you really run through forests avoiding dark (figuratively and literally) and evil monkeys, while getting plummeted by the occasional hailstorm? Did you REALLY do this???” She did. I checked.
Education was of utmost importance to mom. While others focused on family responsibilities, mom enrolled herself in school and self-appointed her responsibility as focusing on her ‘studies’. She received her PhD in Cytogenetics & Anatomy from All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in 1974 and became one of the first doctors in India to specialize in IVF.
But to us, she was just mom. She was always there, always present, and always comforting…..like a warm and cozy blanket one could burrow into for the deepest and most restful of sleeps.
Mom, we hope you will finally stop the running and the 'so busy!' We hope you will finally be able to rest and sleep. We miss you (and dad) deeply and we will work hard to be ‘ok’, as we know that is ultimately all that you ever wanted from us and for us....that “we should all be ok.”
Friends have asked what they can do in our moment of need. Mom used to donate to the underprivileged and needy. There are two foundations she was especially fond of. The former does not have an online donation facility or website, while the latter has both. Given the former’s challenges, we ask that you please donate via this page if you so wish (no obligation) and we will split the donations between the charities. Promise this is not an outreach from the ‘prince of Nigeria announcing you have just won a million dollars…now if you can please just send me a small deposit to get your winnings directed back to you….’
Charity #1 – Guild of Service, Home for the Handicapped Children
While it does not have a website, this organization is walking distance from mom’s home, thus we’ve taken a few pictures of the facility and off the brochure. There are ~65 kids there currently. Per the brochure, “Est. in 1984, The Home is a residential school and a safe haven for orthopedically challenged children, coming from an extremely weak socio-economic background. Children in the age group of 4 to 14 years are given admission. The children stay at the home for about 3-5 years, during which time they undergo orthopedic corrections, physiotherapy and education at the Primary level. A part-time doctor reviews their health periodically.”
Charity #2 – Udavum Karangal – www.myhelpinghands.org
In reading their brochure, we were happy to learn that the organization is expanding their ‘PARIVARTAN’ project to the Nilgiris district, the region where mom is from. The Parivatan project brings mental healthcare to the needy. The brochure’s excerpts speaks for itself.
Brochure excerpt #1:
Brochure excerpt #2:
Thank you all for your kind words and support,
Sripriya, Anusha, Shobhana and Prashanth
**Priya, mom and pops**
**Anusha and mom**
**Shobi and mom**
**Prash , mom and pops**
**Dr. Indra in action!**
**Mom and pops**
** Mom and pops, getting married**
**Mom & everyone**
**Mom - always there, always present, always loving**
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