From Riches to Rags to Riches: The woman who stood tall behind our family

Photo by Jon Flobrant on Unsplash

“Your kids will have to show up a passing score in their upcoming exams to retain their admission with this reputed school”- said the principal to our mom while she was seeking admission for her 3 kids in the middle of the school year.

Unknowing what else to do and with lots of thoughts in her head, she signs her acceptance to keep her children’s dreams alive.

It was during June 1990, our family came to India for a summer vacation. Little did we all know we would never be able to go back to Kuwait, where I and my siblings had fun growing up. Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait on Aug 2, 1990, forced our family to stay back in India. Our entire house was looted and I still remember how I cried for my favorite purple&yellow dress and the dolls that were left behind. My brother and sister would have felt the same, albeit we have never discussed this between us.

More than us, our parents felt helpless and devastated on hearing the loss of everything that they owned so far. Our home, jewelry, car, documents, bank accounts were all left behind only to be looted by those evil-mongers. After all the frantic international calls back and forth and many sleepless nights ruining our vacation, our parents realized there is not much that they could do. Our whole world had turned topsy turvy overnight, literally.

Life had to move on. Mom decided that she would settle down in India with the three of us while our dad could search for a job in Kuwait (which he insisted) when things get better.

Times of great changes are also times of uncertainty

As said, with lots of uncertainties our new life in India began.

From riches to rags

Mom managed to find a small place to rent in the same neighborhood she grew. It was a humble place with just one room and a kitchen. With all our relatives and well-wishers offering a little financial help, began our new modest life. Life in India was completely different. Weekends were not the same anymore. We did not have any more get-togethers, picnics, movie nights. On, the flip side, we did enjoy a lot of outdoor play, got to spend time with our cousins, festivals, and fairs.

While my dad was still searching for a job, my mom started to look for ways to bring in income. Although she was a graduate, she never liked the idea of taking up any administrative job for the fear of leaving the 3 of us back at home. So, she was venturing out possibilities to stay away from home for a minimal time.

She learned to tailor, trying to make an income out of it. She did too.

She started off her entrepreneurial skill by buying sarees from the wholesale market and a door-to-door sale with a minimal profit margin. The income started slowly tricking in but was meager compared to the number of expenses like rent, tuition fees, and bills to pay. Until my dad found a job the debt and nightmares were piling and never-ending.

Meanwhile, our half-yearly exams were fast approaching and mom had the biggest challenge of keeping our admission on. She really had to step up our academic skills, after all this cultural and emotional turmoil. The 3 of us were good at the main subjects, it was just the regional language that we sucked at. With sheer perseverance and practice, she made sure the 3 of us strengthened the basics of the language and thus scoring a bare minimum to pass the examination. This is the little we could do to alleviate her struggles back then.

Rags to riches

Things started slowly getting better when my dad found a job, but things were never the same as before.

The best advice mom has offered is her life itself

Despite struggles engrossing our family, none of them have trickled through our minds. she made sure our focus on studies never deterred. Life has thrown many challenges at her but she has never given up until this moment. She lived a life just for her kids and challenged anybody who came in their way. With her sheer dedication and grit, she brought out two professionals and one doctorate in her family. For all that she did, dad stood as a pillar of support.

Mom is now busy with her online stock trading and enjoying her lone time with dad compensating for all the time she missed being around him. Her everyday routine is to have a small facetime call with her grandkids and parallel helping their parents (it’s us ) fixing a recipe disaster.

She was, will, and forever be the ray of hope in our lives.

For many of you reading this, am sure your mom would have been your superhero. Please share your stories of inspiration.


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