My sister is an amazing woman. She is going to be 80 in January.
I remember her very well as a child. She used to escort us to school, keep an eye on us as children. She went through high school and got married when she was 16 or 17 (I’m not quite sure). She was married in a small town north of here during the second world war period. Even today, I have vivid memory of her wedding which lasted 5 days. The town we lived in at that time had no running water, and no electricity. All the food was rationed during war, and my parents struggled to get rationing to feed nearly 150 people.
She had 10 children. The first two died as infants. She has 6 sons and 2 daughters. The daughters are the youngest.
Her husband was in the insurance business and passed away in 1984 from lung cancer.
The children are all grown now, the youngest is 40. her oldest son lives in Mumbai and owns a marketing comany. His wife ives in Orlando Florida working as a software engineer. He says that he will immigrate to the US perhaps next year after he sells away the remaining part of his business to a British firm that already owns 51% of the business.
Her second son is an accountant who lives in Bangalore with his wife and son. The son wants to come to US to study biotechnology.
Her third son and his wife are power couple. He worked in Saudi Arabia, Scotland, and now works for Intel. His wife is a senior manager at Intel and travels to the US 3-4 times a year. Infact she is in Arizona right now attending some meetings near Phoenix.
Her fourth son works for a NGO on organic farming.
Her fifth son (where we are staying) is in the insurance business; his wife is a pathologist for a Swedish company Asta Zeneca. They have a son 11 who is heavily into studies and cricket. My sister stays with him.
Her last son works for Cisco in the US and comes here every 6 months or so and is a avid sportsman into hiking, running. he lives in California.
Her first daughter was born just as I left India (so is 45 years old) and has one son. She lives closeby. She is a marvelous singer and she used to be in several groups when she was in her college days and before marriage. They have one son who is a computer expert at 13.
The youngest daughter lives with my sister and she is an artist involved in a varety of fields including clothing, designs on clothes etc. She has been an invaluable help for us.
My sister’s routine is very simple. She had a hard life for many years, but her golden years have just been wonderful. All her children are fiercly loyal to her and love her very much. One could say that my sister raised them all, focused on their education. My late brother in law was a passive person.
Even today, she gets up around 5:30 am, gooes to the kitchen and starts plans for meals every day. She starts making “Chapatis”, a whole wheat tortilla, which is the main staple for them. They are not eating as much rice as they used to. She is in excellent health other than some pain in her knees (just like me). This must be genetic as my mother had it too.
As people get up, they get ready to go to work or to school, my sister feeds them breakfast; then she spends everyday from 9-10 am reading the newspaper (something that my mother always did), and keeps up what is going on in the world. Then she spends time doind Soduku every day. She told me that this keeps her mind alert.
She then takes a bath and says prayers for about 30-45 minutes and then relazes. They don’t eat lunch until 1:30 or 2 pm.
When the grandson comes back from school around 4 pm, he goes out and plays for a while (cricket of course); when he comes back my sister works with him on his homework. The other day I saw her talking to him about fractions, one day it was geography. Often she might be in the kitchen and the grandson is hanging around her asking her about some topic from school. She is his true teacher at home. This is what she used to do to all her children. She showed Jeannie crochet, and some other skills she picked up a long time ago. I saw her watching through Jeannie’s practice runs very carefully as an excellent teacher.
She relaxes bywatching TV perhaps an hour a day.
She is very content with her life, has a very loving family that cares for her. She has a marvelous attitude about her life, her family, and her siblings. We are all very fond of her and all her children.
When I left India in 1961, all the boys ranged in age from 2 years to to 12 years. Some of them followed my footsteps and studied Engineering, many used the text books I had left behind.
To my mind, she is a saint.