Wednesday 5 August 2009

Mothers by daughters - Rukku: My mother - Chitra Visweswaran

She never looked at the half-empty cup, only the half-full...gentle, soft-spoken, dignified, she was an epitome of inner strength and spirituality. The half-empty - half-full cup formula only applied to life with all its vagaries and not to any of my activities, be it dance, music, poetry, painting or writing.

My sternest critic, she was also my inspiration, my guide and my dearest friend. She gently encouraged me at what I was good at and firmly wooed me away from what would never become a strength with me. I remember the gentle smile, I remember the mischievous twinkle, I remember the uncompromising, firm gaze, I remember that look... at times pensive, at times deeply inscrutable, looking inwards... a look that I came to understand only as I grew older.

She was born the youngest in a family of eight children. Her father, TS Sankara Iyer was a leading luminary of South Indian society in pre-independence Delhi, the first Indian to become Financial Commissioner of Indian Railways, a visionary, a social reformer and a great patron of the arts. Her mother Seethalakshmi, a nine-yard clad Brahmin lady who supported her husband in all his social reforms, wrote songs, played badminton and was commented upon as being one of the most intelligent conversationalists by the then Viceroy of British occupied India. 

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