Celebrating Indu, Celebrating Life

When I was young, my mom used to urge me to study harder. She would often draw comparisons to difficult roads that led to beautiful destinations. The truth is I have always been in her awe, looking to draw both strength and inspiration.

Early Years


She did her schooling from St. Anthony's Girls Senior Secondary School in New Delhi and studied there till the eleventh standard before taking up a Bachelors of Art program at the Janki Devi Memorial College (JDMC), which is affiliated with the Delhi University.

Fast forward to January 2, 1971. A day my mom can never forget. A day when her dad passed away, changing her life upside down. The same year in May she was going to turn sixteen. Most girls associate sixteen with sweet; for mom, it only meant a number ... nothing more.

Mom and Saanvi (My Daughter)

A Sea of Struggle


My mom received another deadly blow after her dad's untimely demise. She had to drop out of college and take up the job of a clerk at the Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI), the same office where her dad worked. In those days, it was easy to get appointed on the grounds of bereavement.

She made the sacrifice for two significant reasons - to fund the education of her three sisters who were studying back then and to financially support her mom (my naani) who worked as a welfare officer at the Indian Red Cross Society (www.indianredcross.org). Her father's pension was never going to be enough anyway.

Can you believe how much she made during those days? Mere INR 289 per month. That's USD 4 per month.

Marriage and Movement


Seven years into job, and mom decides to get hitched. Days before the nuptials, however, she had to brace herself for another challenge. Relocating to a different city. Ghaziabad in Uttar Pradesh to be precise.

It took her approximately 3 hours every day to travel one-way for work. Imagine 6 hours on road daily, 6 days a week, a commute from Ghaziabad to Delhi accomplished by three different modes of travel (train, bus, and manual rickshaw).

I'd throw a fit if you asked me to travel to work at 6 am in the morning after preparing meals and washing dishes of the entire family. But she did it without throwing her weight around. With a smile that is truly indicative of her character.

Dad and Mom

Hats Off to Her Greatness


She continued to work at IARI, her first and only job, till 2009. That's 38 long years of employment. Mom took a voluntary retirement after we moved to Gurgaon. Her last held position was that of an Assistant Administrative Officer.

I asked mom about the biggest challenge of her professional career, and she quaintly answered "Finance". For me, the highlights of her career were the few "promotions" she managed to get by passing exams since getting promotions through seniority was a tall order in government establishments. She truly deserved those promotions because she studied hard, never compromising on the family ever.

Another tough moment for mom was the three deaths of family members in a span of six months (my father's two elder brothers and his sister-in-law had expired). Also, her own mom fell a victim to Breast Cancer in 1989.

Me and Mom

All this while, my mom stood tall, helping everyone ... never asking for anything in return. She has performed the duties of a responsible daughter, sister, wife, mother, mother-in-law, and now a grandmother - to the best of her abilities. Her story must be shared with the rest of the world.

Angels like my mom do exist in the world even today. They are the messengers of God, instilling our faith back in goodness and humanity.

It's multitude of things that make Indu Prabhakar who she is. And clearly, she can't be limited by mere one label.

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