Friday, November 09, 2007


iconimg November 4, 2006
Sanjay Singh, Hindustan Times
Email Author
Dhanbad, November 09, 2007
First Published: 01:28 IST(9/11/2007)
Last Updated: 01:35 IST(9/11/2007)
Repaying a mother’s debt
Thirty-year-old Gauri Gupta performed the last rites of her 78-year-old mother Indira Goswami on Thursday. She took part in the funeral procession, she performed the funerary rites and she lit the funeral pyre, something that according to the scriptures, are the exclusive preserve of the eldest son.

Nothing very surprising really as there have been similar instances of daughters lighting funeral pyres. What is however, surprising is that Gauri was not Indira’s biological daughter, but someone who the kindly Jharia schoolteacher had picked up after she was abandoned by her parents because of a disability and adopted 28 years ago. Polio-afflicted Gauri, a teacher with the Balika Vidya Mandir at Jharia, would now be observing all prescribed austerities that are a part of post-cremation rituals. As she said she needed to repay her debts — the motherly debt being the heaviest.

“What my mother did for me when alive is something that cannot be replicated. She adopted me when my parents, because of my disability had abandoned me at a dark street corner when I was just a two-year-old baby. She brought me up as her own, with care and love. I lacked for nothing when she was around,” Gauri told HT. Gauri said her mother had been ailing for many days.

“My mother had chosen not to marry. It was she who got my polio-afflicted left leg operated upon thrice, enabling me to stand up and walk about. She gave up on a whole lot of luxuries that she could have availed of so that she could bring me up in a proper manner. Only because she was by my side, I got the teacher’s job that I have today,” an inconsolable Gauri said. “I was born of Gupta parents. But my mother never ever insisted that I change my title. I was duty-bound to perform her funeral rites,” she said adding that whatever she did would be ‘tiny’ before her departed mother’s sacrifices.
© Copyright 2007 Hindustan Times


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