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 used to work. 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.


  1. Surely a mother cannot be limited by that one title. Just one word can never describe the largess of her soul.
    Very thoughtful of you to dedicate a post to your mother's story Rahul.
    Celebrate blogging..Celebrating Indu..

  2. I literally got goosebumps reading this post...Rahul your mother truly deserves the celebration :) She rocks! Salute to her courageousness!

  3. Cheers to her spirit! Loved the way you expressed the journey. :)

  4. Thanks Vibhuti, Jyotika and Deboshree for the lovely comments. I'm sure mom will be ecstatic reading these wonderful words of encouragement.

  5. Your mother is truly an inspiration, Rahul, as you are one too. Mother’s are often relegated to a corner by society, by bringing your mother and her inspirational story to your readers, you have provided motivation for others to do the same and for mothers like me to aspire to be at least half of that to our children.

  6. Such an inspiring journey, you and your parents have been. Your mother is a great women. Thank you for sharing this during women's day week.

  7. Aunty's journey is truly inspirational . yes 16 is such a tender age and at this young age, she has managed lots of things on her own and later on she has fight with breast cancer bravely. hats off to her for being so brave and courageous in dealing with adversity of life.

  8. Moms are truly the emissaries of God, loved reading your Mom's saga, such a touching account, epitomizes the very spirit of what a mother means.

  9. It is surprising and fulfilling to see how far we have come when we look back. I am sure aunty is among those people who have seen a lot, have gone through a lot and have learnt a lot during this course of time. She paved her own path. Kudos to aunty. And more power to her.

  10. Aunty is an epitome of bravery and inspiration to many of us. Her struggle and her perseverance has been amazing. The only thing comes to my mind is guys stop Cribing, when you see people like her you will know what actual struggle is. Hats off to her.

  11. Her journey is definitely an inspiration to all single moms. Yester generation is definitely an inspiration to most of us.


  12. Wow what a beautiful and inspirational journey of your mother. Loved it. And it is so amazing that you decided to talk and share her story.

  13. Every mother is special, and I am so inspired reading Aunty's story she truly deserve to celebrate. Hats off to her!!

  14. I'm so much in awe of your Mom's personality! She's a real beauty as well. Despite her thousand struggles her smile lights up every picture. You're so bless, Rahul. Please give Aunty my sincere regards.


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