Raised as an orphan and living away from her baby brother for almost half of her life, my grandmother’s courage, hard work, determination and will power inspired me throughout my life. She was my mother, my teacher and my best friend. I can hardly remember any time when I met she complained about anything that made her sad, tensed or annoyed.
She started her life as a poor orphan, living with her grandparents. Her mother passed away and her father left her. Her younger 6 months old brother was taken away. She spent her life studying and helping her grandparents in the small family business. She got married at an early age and had 5 kids.
Since her younger days, she had a dream to become a doctor, though the poor family situation didn’t allow her to, but her will power and determination made her start her own businesses. She rented a 2 bedroom apartment in a busy area and started working. Saving each and every penny she can. Despite being middle class, she encouraged her children to study and gave them education from good schools and universities. My mother and all her siblings are graduates from prestigious universities. My mother being the eldest helped my grandmother in every aspect. The both were the main pillars of the family.
Raising 5 children as a single mother is not easy but she made it like a piece of cake. She worked so hard not form money but for herself, her aims which she wanted to fulfil. Slowly and gradually, she bought a small house, where she started ladies training centre. She used to teach stitching, pottery, painting, cooking and what not. After seeing her hard work and communication skills, she got a marketing job in one of the best marketing and PR agency in Pakistan. She worked there and bought a bigger home.
She was also like a psychiatrist but without a degree, a good listener and good advisor. I remember every time I used to go her place, there were always people sitting, sharing their life problem, tension and even married couple problems. She used to give them advice and solution. She never protested or used bad words, but she used her wisdom. She was known to be the “wisest” in the area.
She was socially active. She attended the gatherings, events and functions. She loved gardening. She had a big garden where she used to plant all the vegetables and fruits. She had a mini bird zoo in her garden. Peacock, ducks, chicken, parrots and other birds were like her mini kids. She was a painter. She was a great advisor. she was like a best friend to all the people she met in her life. She was so perfect in every angle.
She passed away in 2011 at the age of 64. Fighting her liver problems. Even the time she was very sick and in pain, she never complained to anyone but will always say : “Bas Allah ka Karam hai” ( It’s just Allah blessing on me).
My mother always used to say:
She was born without a name, as an orphan. But she passed away making a place in everyone’s heart. She died but she always is remembered!
My grandmother, my Naani Mamma, my inspiration!
Rashida Begum ( 14th August 1947- 31st May 2011)