Fabric of Life

-Satyavani Kakarla

It’s the story of two kind hearts, my dearest and my beloved, Amma (my mother) and husband…

“Stories are how we think. They are how we make meaning of life. Call them schemas, scripts, cognitive maps, mental models, metaphors, or narratives. Stories are how we explain how things work, how we make decisions, how we persuade others, how we understand our place in the world, create identities, and define and teach social values.” – Dr. Pamela Rutledge


I had a strong desire to write about this story, a real-life experience. In the beginning I did not think much about it but eventually let it out to became a social narrative, it became more than a personal story, for several reasons; relating to love, dedication, responsibility, human nature, human memory, heightened crisis, loss,  grief for loss of life of invaluable priceless bonding,… to model when wounded and healing…..

From there began a journey, an insight to heal…

It was the year 2014, the year Amma passed away in November. An uncertain period of hope and despair, a couple of years before and especially that year, when she was very ill. Throughout she signaled in many ways about an end to happen.  Packed myriad experiences, strong emotions and much more filled our lives.
In August that year hubby was on a sabbatical. He chose to go to India and visited Amma and Nanna in Hyderabad  and went off to meet his parents in Kakinada later.
He is a man of few words; it is also my making I guess being a chatter box, I hover up all the space to fill in words and this carried on to be the communication style.
One day in Kakinada, he steps into a store for Saree shopping for his Mom and me, and pings me on video showing a beautiful Saree he picked for me. He generally likes to keep surprises, but that day was something different, he shared it openly.
All said, it is not just picking a Saree at the store the end. The long fabric needs treatment – hemming the ends and patching a Saree fall with a matching fabric to the length that touches down the feet to hold the pleats and the additional paraphernalia like blouse to go with it.
So, I requested him to take it back to my parent’s where I had my measurements saved with the tailor for the blouse and the necessary fixes for the Saree could also be done at the same place. He carried it back to Hyderabad and with my parent’s help handed it to the tailor and set off to spend the last few days of vacation with local friends and family.
When he arrived back in US, at home as he was unpacking and eager to show off the gifts he brought we find that only the blouse came in the suitcase and the Saree was missing. He was disappointed and very soon settled into his normal way carrying his usual silence, and did not talk much about it.

The next day I hesitantly disclosed with my mom about the missing piece. Amma was resting, recovering from another episode of fever and chills and heard she fell more sick after hubby left India.
It was around 8 in the evening when I made the call and did not completely end the conversation, she jumps out of her bed and quickly realizes that after all the Saree was not picked up from the tailor…

It seems she handed off the phone to Nanna, my father and barged out of the house and into the street; fortunately for her or unfortunately for me thinking about her condition, the tailor was just around the corner… Denying the tailor’s confidence of  delivery, she makes them first search up the entire space to find my Saree…
Fortunately the Saree was sitting in a corner. Amma rushes back home and gives me a missed call. No words can explain the excitement of her and my grief of a poor loving mom who can go through any length to do things for her child although she was sick.
I told her not to send the found gift with anybody else or by mail and that I would personally pick it up when I visited her soon.

That late October just a couple months after this incident, I get the chilling call that mom’s condition is very critical. We quickly remotely arranged for her hospital visit and, in a day, came to know she was in Coma…
I rushed from US and joined with the rest of family, my father and my two younger brothers at her bedside. She was under the care of my doctor brother who is specialized in ICU care.
She was in Coma for almost a week and on the 31st which also happened to be Nanna’s birthday she resurrected opening her eyes for the first time and glanced at her family, all four around her bedside. A tear drop trickled at the corner of her eyes… and brought us all hope for good recovery signs to follow.

It was a very long time ago that the entire family got all together, all at same place and time. We visited each other separately somehow without missing, but the family of 5 all under one roof happened now, after a decade.
I being in US and brothers in UK, all busily settling in life and raising families of their own, the parents ended up visiting us when possible, brothers visited me and families visited India, all these excursions kept us very busy, it was just that not intentionally done, somehow the planetary stars (i believe in astrology and its essence and impact on life…) did not bring us in one place and we missed a reunion of all together and it happened on this 31st on my father’s birthday.

Amma was in ICU for a week more, slowly recovering and communicating with us. The prognosis was very poor according to some professionals regarding brain damage, but my family did not give up.
She proved them all wrong in that area; coming out of Coma, she was right away able to connect with everyone and retell many minute details of information even in ICU that week… She even cracked a joke with a friend of ours who we met after 2 decades in the ICU briefly…
My brother hogged her night and day and the next week she was able to move to a private room to recover further.
Amma showed us good signs of recovering; the sad part was to see the heaps of meds she was loaded with. She would sleep more and at times converse with us.
As she gained more consciousness and awareness of her surroundings and when I was alone with her one afternoon, she enquired about the Saree… and told how she wrapped it and saved with some kumkum Prasadam (the traditional blessings… ) in her metal chest Almirah and I was ordered to put it right away in my suitcase without fail.
I held my tears in, not exposing much, holding the rush of emotions…

She breathed her last the following week after visiting her home for a day. She had to be taken back to the hospital where I bid goodbye for the last time sitting right beside her, mind racing with quiet and last minute inner private conversations and prayers, the sounds of mantras I was bestowed on as a calling some months back from a messenger in US,  my hands holding hers, bowing down in gratitude just surrendering to Life, being a mere witness to the phase and transition of existence and non-existence on an auspicious day on 17th November.

After my return, embarking on the new journey I was forced to settle back in, with heightened sensitive emotions. It was very hard for me to wear that Saree for a couple of months. For many days I left my packed luggage sit still especially the one with treasured memories of things I brought with me from Amma’s place. But one fine day in February I unpacked, and for a Friday pooja I dared to adorn it and put a smile back on to cherish what she left behind with great love and care…
The Saree I hold dear, a precious and cherished gift from my hubby and Amma!


Sharing our experiences brings a new understanding, a perspective of Life to Life. There is a story behind every person, an action, the things we show to the outside world.
In our tradition it is more important to gift clothing to each other, especially when we are giving or receiving from our elders, more than any other monetary and materialistic gifts we exchange.
In the web of life fabric plays an important role, it honors, it dignifies and tells a story.

Please stop, pause and respect whenever you can to honor Life, the fabric of Life…

*****

 

Fabric of Life

-Satyavani Kakarla

It’s the story of two kind hearts, my dearest and my beloved, Amma (my mother) and husband…

“Stories are how we think. They are how we make meaning of life. Call them schemas, scripts, cognitive maps, mental models, metaphors, or narratives. Stories are how we explain how things work, how we make decisions, how we persuade others, how we understand our place in the world, create identities, and define and teach social values.” – Dr. Pamela Rutledge


I had a strong desire to write about this story, a real-life experience. In the beginning I did not think much about it but eventually let it out to became a social narrative, it became more than a personal story, for several reasons; relating to love, dedication, responsibility, human nature, human memory, heightened crisis, loss,  grief for loss of life of invaluable priceless bonding,… to model when wounded and healing…..

From there began a journey, an insight to heal…

It was the year 2014, the year Amma passed away in November. An uncertain period of hope and despair, a couple of years before and especially that year, when she was very ill. Throughout she signaled in many ways about an end to happen.  Packed myriad experiences, strong emotions and much more filled our lives.
In August that year hubby was on a sabbatical. He chose to go to India and visited Amma and Nanna in Hyderabad  and went off to meet his parents in Kakinada later.
He is a man of few words; it is also my making I guess being a chatter box, I hover up all the space to fill in words and this carried on to be the communication style.
One day in Kakinada, he steps into a store for Saree shopping for his Mom and me, and pings me on video showing a beautiful Saree he picked for me. He generally likes to keep surprises, but that day was something different, he shared it openly.
All said, it is not just picking a Saree at the store the end. The long fabric needs treatment – hemming the ends and patching a Saree fall with a matching fabric to the length that touches down the feet to hold the pleats and the additional paraphernalia like blouse to go with it.
So, I requested him to take it back to my parent’s where I had my measurements saved with the tailor for the blouse and the necessary fixes for the Saree could also be done at the same place. He carried it back to Hyderabad and with my parent’s help handed it to the tailor and set off to spend the last few days of vacation with local friends and family.
When he arrived back in US, at home as he was unpacking and eager to show off the gifts he brought we find that only the blouse came in the suitcase and the Saree was missing. He was disappointed and very soon settled into his normal way carrying his usual silence, and did not talk much about it.

The next day I hesitantly disclosed with my mom about the missing piece. Amma was resting, recovering from another episode of fever and chills and heard she fell more sick after hubby left India.
It was around 8 in the evening when I made the call and did not completely end the conversation, she jumps out of her bed and quickly realizes that after all the Saree was not picked up from the tailor…

It seems she handed off the phone to Nanna, my father and barged out of the house and into the street; fortunately for her or unfortunately for me thinking about her condition, the tailor was just around the corner… Denying the tailor’s confidence of  delivery, she makes them first search up the entire space to find my Saree…
Fortunately the Saree was sitting in a corner. Amma rushes back home and gives me a missed call. No words can explain the excitement of her and my grief of a poor loving mom who can go through any length to do things for her child although she was sick.
I told her not to send the found gift with anybody else or by mail and that I would personally pick it up when I visited her soon.

That late October just a couple months after this incident, I get the chilling call that mom’s condition is very critical. We quickly remotely arranged for her hospital visit and, in a day, came to know she was in Coma…
I rushed from US and joined with the rest of family, my father and my two younger brothers at her bedside. She was under the care of my doctor brother who is specialized in ICU care.
She was in Coma for almost a week and on the 31st which also happened to be Nanna’s birthday she resurrected opening her eyes for the first time and glanced at her family, all four around her bedside. A tear drop trickled at the corner of her eyes… and brought us all hope for good recovery signs to follow.

It was a very long time ago that the entire family got all together, all at same place and time. We visited each other separately somehow without missing, but the family of 5 all under one roof happened now, after a decade.
I being in US and brothers in UK, all busily settling in life and raising families of their own, the parents ended up visiting us when possible, brothers visited me and families visited India, all these excursions kept us very busy, it was just that not intentionally done, somehow the planetary stars (i believe in astrology and its essence and impact on life…) did not bring us in one place and we missed a reunion of all together and it happened on this 31st on my father’s birthday.

Amma was in ICU for a week more, slowly recovering and communicating with us. The prognosis was very poor according to some professionals regarding brain damage, but my family did not give up.
She proved them all wrong in that area; coming out of Coma, she was right away able to connect with everyone and retell many minute details of information even in ICU that week… She even cracked a joke with a friend of ours who we met after 2 decades in the ICU briefly…
My brother hogged her night and day and the next week she was able to move to a private room to recover further.
Amma showed us good signs of recovering; the sad part was to see the heaps of meds she was loaded with. She would sleep more and at times converse with us.
As she gained more consciousness and awareness of her surroundings and when I was alone with her one afternoon, she enquired about the Saree… and told how she wrapped it and saved with some kumkum Prasadam (the traditional blessings… ) in her metal chest Almirah and I was ordered to put it right away in my suitcase without fail.
I held my tears in, not exposing much, holding the rush of emotions…

She breathed her last the following week after visiting her home for a day. She had to be taken back to the hospital where I bid goodbye for the last time sitting right beside her, mind racing with quiet and last minute inner private conversations and prayers, the sounds of mantras I was bestowed on as a calling some months back from a messenger in US,  my hands holding hers, bowing down in gratitude just surrendering to Life, being a mere witness to the phase and transition of existence and non-existence on an auspicious day on 17th November.

After my return, embarking on the new journey I was forced to settle back in, with heightened sensitive emotions. It was very hard for me to wear that Saree for a couple of months. For many days I left my packed luggage sit still especially the one with treasured memories of things I brought with me from Amma’s place. But one fine day in February I unpacked, and for a Friday pooja I dared to adorn it and put a smile back on to cherish what she left behind with great love and care…
The Saree I hold dear, a precious and cherished gift from my hubby and Amma!


Sharing our experiences brings a new understanding, a perspective of Life to Life. There is a story behind every person, an action, the things we show to the outside world.
In our tradition it is more important to gift clothing to each other, especially when we are giving or receiving from our elders, more than any other monetary and materialistic gifts we exchange.
In the web of life fabric plays an important role, it honors, it dignifies and tells a story.

Please stop, pause and respect whenever you can to honor Life, the fabric of Life…

*****

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One thought on “Fabric of Life”

  1. The story entitled “Fabric of Life” is so nice and touching the heart. Though it all started with bringing saree, later it carried heavy sentiments and feelings of conveying the silent love of a mother to her daughter at the fag end of her life which can never be forgotten. — Sridhara,

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