The sufferings of our mothers never ceased, in fact. Generation after generation they would be possessive of their children and would give up all they have including health, comforts--even though such comforts were meagre, and wonderfully ensure the welfare of most of their offspring. But as luck would have it when there are many children one or two of them may be unfortunate in one way or other--defects of the limbs, unfortunate marriages, widowhood etc. So at the twilight of their lives the mothers would start their lives once again to shelter their lesser privileged children.. sometimes the saga will extend to grandchildren also. And ultimately when the maami or paatti died she would have been already a living corpse held aloft only by sheer grit and insatiable love for her children. Strangely our mothers find fulfillment in such a life.
There was another category, maamis with no children. They will be looking after their nephews and nieces of either side (their own, or their husband's) like their own children. Ultimately uterine children as well as the persons whom they thought of as their own children all would be equally thankless...
Children will throng the agraharam on hearing the news of death of the parents to share the booty of whatever that the dead parent owned, if they had not managed to bleed them white during their lifetime itself.
Usually the mamas were rather indifferent, mookkupody (snuff), vettipechu(silly banter) some cigarette or beedi and minor sambandams, this was their usual lifestyles.Mami has to manage the kitchen and the children.
It was all the more miserable for a lady who became a widow too...so many social taboos, insults.... Suffering was the synonym for the Brahmin woman those days and to a certain extent these days also.
Let the mamas and mamis and the youngsters have an honest introspection A cozy job or a degree has not made much difference in our social attitude towards our mothers and grandmothers. When are we going to be reasonable?