On the occasion of Women's Day, Vijay S Patil, 33, shares a beautiful story about his mother, who beat odds to educate her children.
An architect in USA, he owes his success to his mother, and hopes to carry forward her legacy of helping people in need.
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I live in Chicago, USA and have been following Rediff for the last 10-12 years.
My mother, Indu Shiwaji Patil was born in Mohida, a small village in Maharashtra's Jalgaon district.
She never went to school and used to work with her parents in the farm.
In 1975 she got married. We are five siblings and I am the youngest of the lot.
When I was 5-6 years old, our economical condition was bad.
I went to a Marathi-medium school. My mother used the money she earned from working in other people's farms to fund my education and buy my books, slate, school bag and uniform.
She would fast, but never let any of her children go to bed hungry.
Despite never attending school, she insisted that we didn't miss school. She was the one who taught us manners and how to respect elders.
My father used to be sick all the time, and the burden of caring for him and the family fell upon her shoulders.
Today, I work as an architect in one of biggest rating companies, Moodys Analytics.
But, unfortunately, my mother did not live to see her children reap the fruits of her hard work.
My mother didn't have any ego. She never spoke about my success.
Whenever I traveled to India to meet her, I could literally see the happiness in her eyes.
I once took her to Singapore with me for couple of months and she was so happy.
She enjoyed the visit and the time she spent with me.
She'd have been happy to see me fulfill her wish of helping people in need.
One incident that stays with me is the time I was sick and wanted to eat rice khichdi.
At that time, we had rice and chapati just once or twice a month, because we didn't have enough money to buy rice and wheat.
So my mother went to the neighbours asking for rice. When no one was willing to give her a bowl of rice, she decided to feed me khichdi made of jowar instead.
That was the most delicious meal I had in my life because with was filled with my mother's love and care.
She single-handedly took on the responsibility of getting her children educated and married.
She may not have had the money, but her courage kept her going.
Our relatives remember her calm nature. She was always polite.
She never forgot to help others and insisted that we did the same.
Her blessings are always with us and she has left behind a legacy which we have to carry on.
For me, she was not just a mother, but she also played the role of a father, mentor, teacher and best friend.
I wanted to share her story, because my mother was different.
She was not educated and didn't have money, power and helpful relatives. But she had willpower.
We pray that we get her willpower, so that we can help less privileged people. We miss her a lot.