Embodiment of Love
During the II world war in 1941, it was a difficult time for our family at Rameswaram. I was a ten year old boy then. War had almost reached our doors of Rameswaram since the cloud of war had already reached Colombo. Almost everything was a rarity from food articles to anything. Ours was a large joint family. The size of our family was five sons and five daughters and three of whom had families. I used to see in my house anytime three cradles. My grandmother and mother were almost managing this large contingent. The environment in the home alternated by happiness and sadness. I used to get up at four in the morning, take bath and went to my teacher Swamiyar for learning mathematics. He will not accept students if they had not taken bath. He was a unique mathematics teacher and he used to take only five students for free tuition in a year. My mother used to get up before me, and gave bath to me and prepared me to go for the tuition. I use to comeback at 5:30 when my father would be waiting for taking me to the Namaz and Koran Sharif learning in Arabic school. After that I used to go to Rameswaram Road Railway station, three kilometers away to collect newspaper. Madras Dhanushkodi Mail will pass through the station but will not stop, since it was war time. The newspaper bundle will be thrown from the running train to the platform.
I used to collect the paper and run around the Rameswaram town and be the first one to distribute the newspapers in the town. My elder cousin brother was the agent who went away to Sri Lanka in search of better livelihood. After distribution, I used to come home at 8 AM. My mother will give me a simple breakfast with a special quota compared to other children because I was studying and working simultaneously. After the school gets over in the evening, again I will go around Rameswaran for collection of dues from customers. I still remember an incident which I would like to share with you. As a young boy I was walking, running and studying all together. One day, when all my brothers and sisters were sitting and eating, my mother went on giving me chapattis (even though we are rice eaters only, wheat was rationed). When I finished eating, my elder brother called me privately and scolded “Kalam do you know what was happening? You went on eating Chappati, and mother went on giving you. She has given all her chappatis to you. It is difficult time. Be a responsible son and do not make your mother starve”. First time I had a shivering sensation and I could not control myself. I rushed to my mother and hugged her. Even though I was studying in 5th class, I had a special place in my home because I was the last guy in the family. There used to be no electricity. Our house was lit by the kerosene lamp that too between 7 to 9 PM. My mother specially gave me a small kerosene lamp so that I can study up to 11 PM. I still remember my mother in a full moon night which has been portrayed with the title “mother” in my book “Wings of Fire”.
“I still remember the day when I was ten,
Sleeping on your lap to the envy of my elder brothers and sisters.
It was full moon night, my world only you knew Mother!, My Mother!
When at midnight, I woke with tears falling on my knee
You knew the pain of your child, My Mother.
Your caring hands, tenderly removing the pain
Your love, your care, your faith gave me strength,
To face the world without fear and with His strength.
We will meet again on the great Judgment Day. My Mother!
This is the story of my mother who lived ninety three years, a woman of love, a woman of kindness and above all a woman of divine nature. My mother performed Namaz five times everyday. During Namaz, my mother always looked angelic. Every time I saw her during Namaz I was inspired and moved.