I could have met Lakshmavva ajji, but...

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Lakshmavva Ajji, an octogenarian in my village, was a "Devadasi" woman and was not blessed with children unlike other fellow Devadasis, but, she always loved every other kid just like her own and I was one among those she loved the most (of course, I am no more a kid now, but I still have the same affection towards her :)) She had relatives, but they never bothered to think about her. Every time I went home, I made it a point to meet Lakshmavva. Her narrations about life and the 'cruel world' have taught me some good lessons in life. Her tragic life story still take me towards endless thoughts.

To Lakshmavva, like some other Devadasis, Joga was the only means to survive. Joga is a ritual practiced by Devadasis to earn their daily food. It’s a kind of sophisticated term used for begging food grains/ingredients. Some villagers graciously help Jogati (another term for Devadasi) with food grains, but some do not, apparently because they do not have enough to give. Lakshamavva always kept aside some part of whatever she got from Joga, mainly for two reasons. One, to feed the guests (just in case, if they come); two, if she can't go for Joga because of her bad health. She had no dreams in her life other than just to survive the rest of her life. Her daily life was very simple. Getting up early in the morning, doing ‘Pooja’, going for Joga with fellow Devadasis to get something to cook and eat, and spending her evenings in talking to other old people in the village. She used to sleep early because her vision was not so good in the night. Some times if it’s a harvesting season, she used to go for daily wage work where she used to get some food grains also. She was extremely happy about her simple life because she never depended on others for survival. In fact, she had kept 2000/- rupees with my uncle and had asked him to use that money for her obsequies just in case if she passes away. She never believed in relying on others for life and even after life!

Her joy had no bounds when she came to know about my every visit to the village, not because of little bit of money that I used to give her, but because of the kind of affection she had towards me. She had seen every day of my golden childhood, and I always loved her narrations about Manju, the kid, my childhood. Last week, I had been to my village and was there for 3 days and all three days went in some no-nonsense work. I met almost everyone except Lakshmavva ajji. I thought I could meet her on the last day, just before leaving, but unfortunately my uncle called me for some urgent thing and I couldn't get time to meet her on that day also. I was told by some one in the village that, her health was very bad and she was asking about me. A day after that, she was no more. I could have somehow met her on that day, but, fate….

Hope her life after this world will be peaceful...

4 comments:

Supriya said...

That was very touching, Its nice that you kept in touch with her all this while.

Nishad (a.k.a. 21|dahsiN) said...

Very inspiring indeed. I am very happy to have a friend like you.

Charan said...

touching....

dreams said...

Hey Manju....Can pretty much think how you would be feeling...Everytime you go you met her..but thist time you couldn't and you wouldnt be able to meet her again at...Thats Life na...Most of the time can never think what is coming !!!

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This work by Manjunath Singe is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 India License. The views and opinions expressed in this work are strictly those of the author and do not represent his employer's views in anyway.