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Shivakritika

General Assembly Associate,

Ola Futurefactory

shivakritika-1

“The day that I started my journey with Ola, turned out to be the worst day of my life. On the same day, Amma breathed her last.

When I had received my offer letter from Ola last year, I had rushed to the hospital to share the news with my mom. She had been hospitalised, and there were needles and tubes that obscured my view of her.

"She couldn’t talk, but she heard me say, ‘Amma, I made it!’ I know because her eyes grew moist. And I know she was proud of me."

I was so happy that day, and kept thinking of all the ways I would welcome Amma back home. I couldn’t wait for my first salary, because I wanted to buy a nice saree for her. But instead, my life literally fell apart—every dream we had together, shattered.

Sometimes, as a child, I missed out on the simple pleasures of childhood—like playing with toys the way my friends did. For us, putting food on the table was more important. That’s why Amma always said, ‘Study hard and make something of yourself.’ And just when I had, I lost her…

Starting this new journey without her felt like sin. All my life, she had been the one who encouraged me to be independent, not just with words, but through her actions. She had so effortlessly taken up the reins of responsibility after we lost Appa and stood strong as our sole breadwinner.

She juggled between her job as a teacher and bringing up me and my sister. She would start her days long before the sun rose and her nights would end many hours after it set. She did it all so we could stand on our feet—be independent. And now that I had, she wasn’t here to see it…

After her death, it took me a long time to come out of my shell. I didn’t know how to cope. On top of that, I was new at work. I was still learning. My mentors supported me, and advised me to go easy on myself. It was the little things that mattered the most. My colleagues would always ask me to accompany them for lunch.

"Even their smallest, ‘How are you doing?’ and ‘Let me know if you need anything,’ went a long way."

It made me realise the power of simple kindness. Because those little things have kept me company in the hollowness of my home for the past one year. It’s still a struggle to make sense of a world in which Amma doesn’t exist. My only consolation is knowing that I am living the life we dreamt of together. My only regret is that I am not living it with her. More than a year after Amma’s loss, the wound is as deep as ever. Often, I buy myself toys. Perhaps to get the better of my lost childhood.

And every day, I try to make the best of the new home I’ve made at work. Because I'm sure that Amma is looking down on me now, and I want her to know that her daughter is standing firmly on her feet!”

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