Home Parenting Random Conversations -1

Random Conversations -1

by Vidya Sury January 10, 2012 18 comments
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“Mummy, what would you do if your name was not “Vidya”?”“I guess it would be something else”

Did Paati* have any other name in mind when she named you “Vidya”?”

(Paati = Grandmother in Tamil)

“Yep. I think she also had “Poornima” in mind”

“Why “Poornima”?”

“Because she thought I was as pretty as the full moon” (Grinning)

(Poornima = full moon)

“Mummy, you are!”

Some good natured nudging and punching later….a thought occurs to Vidur.

“So, then if your name was Poornima, how would Poornima aunty* call you?”

(Poornima aunty = my colleague at the Ethics committee I work with)

“I guess she’d call me Poornima”

“And how would you call Poornima aunty”


Elementary, my dear Watson. There’s more, though.

Mummy, did Paati have any more choices in mind, other than “Vidya” and “Poornima””

“Dunno, Vidur. Maybe. Didn’t ask her”

“Why did she name you “Vidya”?”

“Because there was a movie called Dr.Vidya in 1962 and I think she fantasized about me becoming a doctor, too”

Some silence. Deep thought. Hoping to provide a satisfactory answer, I say,

“Another reason why I was named Vidya was because I was born on the day of the Saraswati Pooja during Navaratri – so they christened me Vidya Saraswati for the goddess of learning”

(Vidya means “knowledge”)

“I knew that, Mi. But why didn’t you become a doctor?”

“Because I didn’t want to.”

“Why?!? Didn’t you qualify in the entrance exams?”

“I did, Vidur. But I didn’t want to pay Rs.60,000/- in spite of qualifying and being entitled for a seat. We couldn’t afford it”

“Oh! Rs.60,000/- is a lot of money!”

“Yes. Back in the early ’80s, Rs.60,000 was equal to five years’ salary for Paati and I refused to let her spend it. It would mean we had to take a loan and continue to pay that off for the next God-knows-how-many years.”

“Mummy, didn’t you feel bad after that?”

“Yes, I did – but only because Paati felt bad. Seriously, I didn’t want to become a doc”

Some hugs. Some cuddling…and some calculations later…

“Mummy, that means Paati only earned Rs.1000/- a month!?!”

“Yes. And that came from three jobs. Rs.500 from the school she worked in from 7 am to 1 pm. Rs.300 from the afternoon shift at another school. And Rs.200/- from tutoring three students at their home.”

Vidur’s eyes fill with tears at this point. He’s silent.

More hugs and some quiet contemplation later…

“Mummy, Paati was great, no?”

“Indeed she was, Vidur. She suffered a lot, yet was very sweet and generous to everyone”

“Mummy, I will study very hard and do very well in school and college. I’ll always be a good person! I’ll take care of you like a queen!”


“I’ll also think twice before spending on anything. I’ll make sure I really need it, and not just want it!”


“Mummy, I’ll also try not to get bugged over little things”

My turn to cry now. Those were the very same words I told my Mom all the time. While I am not sure if I took care of Mom like a Queen – I had the joy of never being separated from her from the day I was born, until the day she died. We shared a lot of laughter and laughed through all the times we were broke. We were best friends. As I’ve said many times before, my Mom taught me many valuable lessons. And I am truly lucky that Sury and my mother also got along very well.

I remember making a vow to myself that I would never make my Mom spend on my education. I was lucky to get a “poor student” scholarship in college, which was converted into a “Merit scholarship” the next year. This paid me the princely sum of Rs.2000/- a year, which I saved in a bank account. I also taught French, Science and Math to a high school kid which earned me a whopping Rs. 500 a month.

Soon after I graduated in 1983 with a B.Sc. degree (majoring in Zoology, Botany and Chemistry), I enrolled for a Personal Secretaryship course. I was dumb enough to think Secretaries led a glamorous life. Got a job in 1984 and had the privilege of contributing to our family’s expenses.  A few years later, I studied for a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) in Human Resources and Marketing, followed by a Diploma in Training and Development from the Indian Society for Training and Development. I was keen on transitioning from sales and marketing into training as a career.

Life had other plans, though 🙂 because of my personal circumstances and priorities. Now, I earn my calories as a Freelance Writer and Blogger and love it.

I am grateful to life.

By the way, by today’s conversion, 1 USD = Indian Rupees.52.00. 

With love,

Vidya Sury

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Emily January 10, 2012 at 7:07 am

I love this exchange between you and your son. And I’m not at all surprised that ‘Vidya’ means wisdom. It was a name well chosen!

Vidya Sury January 10, 2012 at 7:30 am

What a sweet thing to say, Emily! 🙂 Oh, I enjoy talking to Vidur. He asks the most amazing questions. Children are lovely. I really enjoyed your post today, too!

terrisonoda January 10, 2012 at 4:18 pm

Vidya….your conversation with your son brings so many happy memories for me of conversations with my sons on various topics over the years.  Your life has been amazing.   And your name?  Beautiful.  I’m not at all surprised that it means ‘knowledge’, as you are brilliant.  Your Mom had that one figured out for sure!   I do envy you your current position, though.  I would love nothing more than to make my ‘calories’ by freelance writing and blogging.  Have a lovely day, my friend.   XOXOs,

unknownmami January 10, 2012 at 11:56 pm

You have a very beautiful relationship with your son. The other day Put Pie looked at me and said, “Mami, I just want you to be happy.” I’m tearing up just thinking about it right now. I told her that I’m always happy to be around her.

Vidya Sury January 11, 2012 at 6:15 am

Hugs, Kim. I thank God for Kim, too! Love and kisses!

Vidya Sury January 11, 2012 at 6:16 am

Thanks,Betsy, I feel very blessed too! So happy we are friends!

Vidya Sury January 11, 2012 at 6:17 am

Unknown Mami – I love the way our kids hug us and say the sweetest things! Makes life worth living, no? Hugs to you!

Vidya Sury January 11, 2012 at 6:19 am

Dear Terri, You are lovely. i can imagine the beautiful memories you have. I remember you had posted some great pictures in one of your earlier posts – around November I think.

I look forward to the years ahead with Vidur too – that kid is one wise fella.

My friend, you are going to be sitting back and enjoying fame and fortune as a best-selling author. I speak the truth! Big hugs and love to you!

Betsy @ Zen Mama January 11, 2012 at 5:00 am

What a wonderful teenager you have.  You’re very lucky to have all your family members and your mother in your life, too.
Great post, Vidya!

My Inner Chick January 11, 2012 at 5:08 am

***I’ll take care of you like a queen!”***

Ohhh, Vidya Vidya Vidya.

I thank God for Vidya!! XXxx

Love Love Love

My Inner Chick http://myinnerchick.com

Zephyr January 11, 2012 at 8:36 am

That was one beautiful post, which made my eyes moist. Children are such wonderful gifts to us, aren’t they? God bless you both 🙂

Kimberly January 12, 2012 at 1:05 am

Your name is absolutely beautiful…but the conversation with your son…so much more beautiful.PS. What’s that worth in Canadian dollars? Does this mean that i’m a millionare?

Vidya Sury January 12, 2012 at 3:46 am

🙂 Kimberly! Thank you for your lovely comment! One Canadian Dollar = 50 Indian Rupees. Now you decide if you are a millionaire! 🙂 Hugs!

Vidya Sury January 12, 2012 at 4:47 am

Hi Zephyr! Thanks for visiting and your lovely comment. Yes, children are the best! 

🙂 Do come again!

Harleena Singh January 12, 2012 at 1:11 pm

Loved the conversation and the message hidden within Vidya!

I guess we can never really repay what our parents do for us- no matter how hard we try. But it does wonders to them if we care and love them, and give back a little of our time to them. It truly was amazing to learn how your mom underwent so much to bring you up, and you value that- and so would your kids. Such things if instilled likewise into our kids has more of a meaningful impact that being taught about it.

Thanks for sharing 🙂

Vidya Sury January 13, 2012 at 5:24 am

🙂 Trust you to notice this, Sheila! It is so much better, isn’t it? I love how you said  “conversation using any currency” Thanks so much! 

Vidya Sury January 13, 2012 at 5:27 am

Welcome, Harleena and thanks for your wonderful comment. I was lucky to have a Mom who insisted we should all say our “I love yous” on a daily basis and not wait to do it posthumously. Thank you for visiting! I really loved your post about your Dad.

Sheila January 13, 2012 at 12:11 am

Hmmmmmmm.  First off, you changed your comment system!!!!!!!!!!!  YAY!  lol
2nd… wow, this could be a conversation using any currency I suppose!  I can see this conversation with my own kids.  Beautiful post Vidya – knowledge lady.  🙂


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