S. Parvathy, M.A. Sociology, 1996; her own and her daughter’s account of her accomplishment

“I am the FIRST POST GRADUATE in my family

I am from a very middle class family with my sister and two elder brothers.  Three of them could not clear their XI std, but I am the one who completed my XIth std during 1976-77 in a small village called Thiruthuraipundi, Thanjavur Dist, now Thiruvarur Dist.  After finishing my XI std I thought I have finished my education, so I started to go to typewriting classes.  There only I came to know that I have to go to college for higher studies, but I have to go by train to the college from my place, so my family people did not allow me.  So through correspondence I have finished my P.U.C. and we have shifted to Chennai during 1980.  I have started to go for my job in Ambattur Industrial Estate, then again started for B.Com., correspondence course.  During that time my marriage was fixed in December 1983.  So I discontinued and was staying with my in-laws in Secunderabad.  February 1985 God blessed us with a girl baby and I again started working in a School admin. from June 1985 to 31st March 1997. During that time I got a very less salary, after I left they have started to give a statement salary. (Bad Luck)  In between I have started M.A. Public Admin., again we have shifted to Chennai so discontinued my studies.

I am working with Auditor from 1997 till now.   We used to go to CA institute for the Seminar presentation, during that time I use to feel very inferior  talking with others; I could not join with group of people.  Then I have planned to pursue my studies , so I have joined M.A. Sociology and successfully completed in January 2006.

In between I want to tell about my husband.  Yes he is a SCHIZOPHRENIA patient and he is not working anywhere.  So my daughter may think in future, that father is like that and mother also not studied much.  These are thoughts made me to study M.A. Sociology.

I am still working and staying with my mother in law.

I am proud to say that my daughter also pursuing her Ph.D. in Psychology in New Zealand. She also got married and has a  5 year old son.”

The following account is written by S. Sripriya, daughter of S. Parvathy:

“My childhood was mostly spent around my grandparents and my father. My mother was the sole earning member of our family. I belong to a typical middle class Tamil Brahmin family and yet not-so-typical. Why, you ask? Well, where do I begin! As a child, all I knew was that our family was different. How, I couldn’t say. My father was diagnosed with chronic schizophrenia, after over a decade of visiting priests and shrines, seeking solutions for his “strange behaviour.” My father getting extremely aggressive owing to paranoia, my grandparents panicking, family members passing judgements- these are a few key childhood experiences etched in my memory. Also, what I distinctly remember is how my mother handled all the hardships with such courage.

My mother comes from a family that teaches values of honesty, simplicity and determination. She has been working for over thirty years now; all that and more only for her daughter- Me. My mother has been an epitome of patience, hard word and selflessness. She has strived very hard to ensure I am not deprived in any manner whatsoever. I remember she would wake up at 4am, make breakfast and lunch before heading out for work at 9am. She would come back home at 6pm and make dinner. I would always wonder how she did all of that and beyond in a span of 24 hours and repeat! As a mother, she had set the bar up very high for me not just emotionally but also academically.

She was pursuing her Bachelors in Commerce before her marriage which she had to discontinue owing to her circumstances. However, this academic pursuit did not fade away entirely. In a few years, she decided to pursue her Masters in Public Administration through distance education. I was much younger and I remember how she would fulfil all her household duties for the day and go up to our terrace to get some peace and quiet in order to study. All this, despite all the stressors in her life with regards to my father’s mental health. Soon, we all had to move to Chennai for my father’s treatment. This again hindered her academic ambitions and unfortunately, she had to discontinue this degree as well. However, this also did not put out the fire in my mother’s heart. She was determined to succeed and to serve as the best role model there ever could be. And so she did.

A few years later, she decided to pursue a Masters degree in Sociology through long distance again. This is when I distinctly remember looking at her and being in awe of her potential. Soon, she became the first woman to graduate with a Masters degree in our family! I cannot put into words how proud she has made me. Even if I am half the mother she is, I will consider myself blessed. “

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