Remadevi is nothing extraordinary. But she is everything extraordinary too; by her mere decision to continue to live. It is brave to die for a cause, but sometimes it is braver to live for it.
Remadevi first hit the local headlines in 1995 November by her motherhood. She gave birth to five children in a single pregnancy, four girls and a boy. The media celebrated this event with gusto. All the babies were healthy enough to have good life expectation and so the media did follow them about for a few days. The happy father was shown choosing five numbers of every purchase he made and in general, they were all deliriously happy. The babies were given very similar sounding names too and provided enough feature material for magazines from time to time.
When the quintuplets joined school, almost every local newspaper showed them in a front page photograph, dressed in the same uniforms and bags and carrying a water bottle, posing in front of the rickshaw that was to take them to school. They were a curiosity everywhere they went, and their father Premkumar was shown literally flaunting his pride of the brood. He used to take all five of them on his arms and shoulders together and ride around on his cycle. He used to scold his wife if she ever reprimanded the children on anything. He wouldn’t watch the children being vaccinated in hospital. He used to leave the place altogether. He could never stand seeing his children hurt.
The family made their living from two shops in the beginning, a bakery and a stationery shop. Both did good business. Soon, the business had a dull phase, income started to come down. Premkumar contracted a spinal illness which needed expensive treatment. When the hospital expenses and living expenses started to rise, debts piled up which they repaid by taking a loan. To salvage the situation they sold a share of property and gold. Whatever finances they had went towards repaying debts. Then they borrowed some money on high interest. When the interest was not paid in time, Premkumar was naturally harassed by the lenders and this made him depressed. He often used to tell his wife that he wanted to die or even run away from there.
In 2005 February, the family hit the headlines once more. This time it was not good news. Premkumar, the father of the quintuplets committed suicide. He quit the world and his problems by just deciding not to hold on any longer. Remadevi was left to take up the reins to a family of five little ones and a bad balance sheet.
This is when she rose to show her grit. No, she has done nothing extraordinary, but just decided to be there for the kids. The woman who depends on a pacemaker attached to her body to keep the pace of her life; Remadevi takes care not to let her husband’s suicide disturb their children’s lives. On the contrary, she creates a defence against suicide to strengthen their lives. She does not lament and curse fate, neither does she blame anybody. She just doesn’t understand why her husband did this act. They still had some property they could have sold off to repay their debts and start from scratch. She had been a typical housewife, dependent emotionally and financially on her husband till then. Remadevi also discovered she had a severe heart problem and underwent heart surgery. Her health is now so bad that she cannot take even light weights. But she keeps her strength in front of her children who are at the impressionable age. She shows them by her quiet strength that life is meant to be taken on and not left halfway.
Paulo Coelho’s “Veronica decides to live” shows how a woman outlives her disappointments and lives fruitfully. She didn’t commit suicide. She actually started to live only when she discovered that her husband had taken a lover. It was only then she felt she was alive; she gains strength to face life’s challenges too at this time.
There were umpteen numbers of solutions to their problem, but Premkumar chose the easy way out, while Remadevi holds on in full strength. Here Remadevi lives on for her children. Like Veronica, she decides to take on life rather than run off in fear of her responsibilities and in desperation of her very bad health. Hats off to a brave mother!
 The writer whose works celebrate the state of living.
Suneetha is a writer by passion, profession and hobby. She writes fiction in English, poetry in her native tongue Malayalam and journalistic features in both. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org