Monday, 31 March 2014

Eashwaramma - my neighbour, my friend

Eashwaramma is our neighbor – poor and weary, wise and wonderful. Like Indian villages themselves - poor and weary, wise and wonderful

Her health is destroyed through a lifetime of poverty and poor nutrition and overwork. Her only asset is a cow, and a one room built under the govt scheme for the SCs. After her son got murdered, she is the sole support of her orphaned grandchildren.

Initially the noticeable things about her are her emaciated look, her one blind eye and her other eye hazy with developing cataract.
Her leg pains are unbearable, but she has to go and cut grass for her cow - her only asset.

Later when one knows her well, all that is noticeable is her decency, goodness, common sense and mental strength under soul destroying difficulties.  

Her strength is her 'devudu' and her 'dharmam'. 

She feeds the lady who comes by and asks for food. She tells me that it is dharmam to feed anyone who asks for food. When it was my turn to offer worship at the village temple, she tells to buy five cubits of flowers at the santa, and not be a miser before the god. When i ask her how many she had bought, she says ten. When I sit to eat and shoo the dog outside she tells me that the dog is also a form of life and to put a plate for it and give it food. 

I once bought some kerosene oil from her. I need buy it from various people in the village as I do not have a ration card. When I told her I would pay her the rate I would have to if I bought it in the open market, she told me that she will not take more money from me and that she will only take what she would have got if she sold it to the local buyer from Kothapeta. She said that if she had need for more money she would ask me for it and take it. When I commented on Simhadri not giving enough to his sister Varalu who was deserted by her husband she said, “Don’t comment on others. We don’t know their constraints.” 

When she speaks of devudu I get glimpses of a god I had forgotten. When she explains dharmam to me, and in her dharmam takes care of those having less, I have nothing to say