It was a flat box, not very long, and it looked worn out. My mother took off the lid and handed it to me. Inside, nestled in faded tissue, was a silver rattle. It has my name engraved on it.
That silver rattle was specially commissioned — and paid for — by my grandmother. It was to celebrate my birth; I was her first grandchild, and the entire family was celebrating.
But what my mother didn’t tell me until I was a little older was that my grandmother had paid for that rattle by scrimping, saving and putting money away from the funds my grandfather gave her on a monthly basis for household expenses. Like far too many Indian women of her generation, my grandmother was a wife and a mother; she worked within her home for her family with everything that implies. She was taken for granted by a society that didn’t value her contributions as much as it valued my grandfather’s because the work she did was invisible to them. She raised my mother and my uncle, often single-handedly, kept her little family fed and healthy, made sure everyone was loved and guaranteed a clean home, washed clothes and order.
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