Every morning, as I take my pet dog for a walk around my neighborhood, I notice a special person. A lady with a puny figure in a saree that looks like she had hastily wrapped around. The white walking stick in her hand expels any doubt that she is completely blind. Most of her front teeth were missing which makes her look like she is in her mid sixties even though she is only 47 years young.
What really caught my attention was that I find her confidently walking in the neighborhood, taking the correct turns and even stopping at the right plant to smell the flowers. One day, the curiosity got the better of me and I approached her to ask who she was. And her story of resilience absolutely blew me away!
Her name is Yasodha and she had been blind ever since she was 3 years old. Having born in a very poor family, she and her sisters made ends meet by delivering milk to homes in the mornings. Slowly, she started to work as a domestic help in a few households and continues to do so for over 25 years.
Both her husband and she would travel everyday from their home in Bharaniputhur, on the outskirts of Chennai to Virugambakkam , their place of work. This 13 kilometer journey requires them to travel through a share-auto, a bus and then by foot.
Five years ago, on a fateful day in December of 2009, a Water Lorry hit her husband and her as they were crossing the road. While both of them were seriously hurt, her husband did not survive the accident. Yasodha, made a slow painful recovery. “It was in the accident that I lost all my front teeth”, she hastily adds. All these years, it was her husband who was her escort wherever they travelled. They never had any kids and now with losing her husband, she really had no one to assist her.
It took Yasodha 8 months to overcome the sorrow of her husband’s loss. Her relatives too deserted her and she decided to take things up on her own. She rejoined work and now she undertakes the 13 kilometer journey completely on her own. She wakes up at the crack of dawn, tends to the chickens she raises , finishes her chores at home and is ready to leave for work. She walks from her home to the bus-stand and boards the bus to Virugambakkam. She takes assistance from her co-passengers to let her know when the right bus-stop comes for her to get down and for crossing busy roads. She says that people’s generosity is amazing.
I spoke with the couple in whose house Yadoda works as a domestic help. Both Mr.Ravishankar and Hemalatha are retired officials. Yasoda has been working at their house for 25 years now. They said that she knows their house better than even they do. Her attention to detail and her cleanliness is amazing. Her honesty is unquestionable and not even 10 paise has gone missing. Both Mrs &Mr.Ravishankar deserve credit for standing by Yasodha at time of her darkest grief. I was privy to a beautiful human relationship.
On the other hand, its sad to see that she is being denied the monetary compensation for her husband’s death. She is supposed to get Rs.6 lakhs from the Government but a combination of red tapism and corruption is seeing her run from pillar to post with no sign of her getting the money. Sad to see people take advantage of her disability and innocence. Here’s hoping she gets her due.
This story of Yasodha will be part of a book I’m putting together titled ‘UnKick the Bucket‘. Its a compilation of people who have had near-death experiences and have made the most of their second chance to live.
That awesome feeling when the first page of a new book talks about the college you studied in! Subroto Bagchi’s The Elephant Catchers talks in-dept about Siddaganga Mutt in Tumkur, Karnataka of which my college is part of. It talks about the 106 year old Sree Sree Sivakumara Swamiji who educates 8500 students for free to this day.
The 100 Day Book Authoring Challenge got kickstarted over the weekend. 17 of us got together for two days at our farm. We unplugged ourselves from usual life to focus entirely on planning and prepping up for our books. Here are some of the snaps from the authoring retreat. http://Kiruba.com/authoring
The awesome gang that participated in the ‘Book Authoring Retreat’ this weekend. We are taking on the challenge of working over the next 100 days (make that 99) to launch our books by March 1, 2014. More info at http://Kiruba.com/authoring. Photo by the uber-talented Amar Ramesh of www.facebook.com/anrbphotography
We are exactly two weeks away from our Book Authoring Retreat and am very excited for it.
Here is a quick update email for all of you who have registered for the event.
MARK YOUR CALENDAR: The dates for the workshop is November 23 & 24. Please make sure to block your calendar and not to have any other work commitments on those two days.
ARRIVAL TIME: Even though the event is on Nov 23 & 34, we are requesting all participants to land at the venue on Friday, 22nd evening/night itself. This is because we will have an early morning start on Saturday, 23rd and its important that all of us are well rested and ready to start.
Please do not plan on starting on Saturday early morning. Its a 4 hour commute from Chennai and you will be tired by the time you get here. Hence, everyone please plan to reach the venue on Friday evening or night itself.
ADDRESS: You can find the directions to the venue here http://www.kiruba.com/farm/location/
CAR-POOLING: The best way would be for all of us to carpool and travel. Its a great way to break the ice, get to know each other and bond even before the event starts. How many of us have cars here?
LEAVE YOUR WORK AT HOME: One of the main reasons why we are having an offsite venue is to help peel ourselves from our everyday tasks. By being away at a remote place, it helps us disconnect from our regular life and help us focus 100% on the workshop. So, please inform your clients, colleagues, family and friends that you would be unavailable on these two days. Trust me, it makes a BIG difference.
FELLOW PARTICIPANTS: You can know who else is attending the event at http://Kiruba.com/authoring/authors . I would recommend you spend some time looking at the profiles. This would be very helpful when you network with them at the event.
NEED YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS: If you look at the participants page in the website, you will notice social media icons next to your names. We need the list of URLs so that we can link them up. Please check your profile. If yours is not linked, then mail the URLs to firstname.lastname@example.org with a CC to me.
FACEBOOK UPDATES: From now on, lots of updates regarding the event will happen on the Book Authoring Retreat Facebook Page. https://www.facebook.com/events/424471970990904/ If you aren’t signed up here, make sure you do.
THE BOOK: As a way to tap into the minds of great writers and best-selling authors, I started a book project as a way to prepare for our authoring workshop. The book is titled, ’500 WORDS BEFORE 8AM….and Other Practical Writing Tips from Bestselling Authors’. More about the book at http://Kiruba.com/500 . Make sure to especially check out the authors section at http://Kiruba.com/500/authors
I will share the digital version of the book with all of you at the workshop. Lots of wonderful lessons for us.
If you have any queries regarding the workshop, please ask them at the Facebook Event page. I will answer them there. This way, the answers will be helpful for others as well. Alternatively, you can always reach me at 09841597744 and at Kiruba@Kiruba.com.
Eagerly look forward to the event.