A TRIBUTE TO AN INCREDIBLE WOMAN, MY WIFE ANNA GABRIEL
My wife’s name is Anna Gabriel. She is almost fifty years old. She will turn fifty in May. She lives presently in Bangalore. Her life hangs around her family, meaning mainly her three children and her faith and fellowship. She holds a part time job. She doesn’t any more seem to have dreams and aspirations that are not connected to her desire to be a good person and to give her children – our two daughters – the ability to stand on their own feet and look after themselves and for our son who is autistic to be happy. I guess her faith in God defines her most to herself but to me she is defined by the word love.
She had a happy childhood with her father and mother and three sisters in Alwaye and apart from having had passed on to her a deep love for reading books from her Dad who was an English Professor who also made her take English literature. I can’t think of anything very special about her life, as people see it. She loved the things people usually do growing up in Kerala, reading books, visiting places, nature and characters in Jane Austen etc. She likes reading a good book many times and savouring it and hates bad writing.
Her college days were fun loving and she made a lot of good friends during that time. Her friends value her a lot as she is a gem of a person. Can’t think of any real memorable incidents she had except the usual failed romance but after getting the UGC and ranks for B.A. and M.A. she went to Central University Hyderabad to do her M.Phil in O Henry’s short stories. There she met people from different states and places and the whole experience was interesting as a kind of wider exposure to the world. Though she got her UGC and went there and later joined for Ph.D she could not complete it due to her marriage with me. In other words, I hindered her like every typical Indian male and her life and career took a backseat to family and kids.
She worked in several colleges and schools and enjoyed it but has not on a regular basis as she has to give extra time and attention to my son. She is very good at English and French and also knows Malayalam, Hindi and a smattering of Telugu. She is a superb cook.
She has nothing others would call special achievements – for which I am responsible – except for her ranks and good writing skills but after finding out that her son is autistic her special achievement has been looking after him as well as she can and her daughters and the home, while also juggling part time jobs, that too in the last six years to seven years without her husband who is away from home mostly as an NRI.
What defines my wife as an incredible woman for me can be narrated only through a story. Once we were at a poetry retreat and she got up in the middle of a session and went off. To look after our son who was, so to speak, “creating trouble.” I went to her room to ask her why she had left. She told me, you know why. I am used to it. I know that after he came into my life, I will have to be outside most of the time in most places.
What I felt for her at that moment is difficult to describe in words. Words like admiration or protectiveness or bittersweet or any other word is not adequate.
Like most other Malayali girls and many Christian ones my wife is different from me. She bears with my womanizing and poetry writing and bad writing (at times) and blame games and fights and everything else including my wasting of money, in short with all my vices, and does not in turn exhibit any on her part. She tries to ward off any ill effects this may have on our family and the children. How does she manage to get up each morning and do double the work I do, and still hold on to an even keel with an autistic son, two daughters, a house, a part time job often and with a husband who is a split personality like every other Indian husband? She keeps herself and our children happy somehow all the time, showing that it is not having wealth or assets that counts but making the best of what one has at hand. It is possible only for an incredible woman with a very advanced and keen sense of humour and intelligence and a huge heart, all of which she has in abundance.
We have been through really difficult times, before Reuel’s birth when my internet addiction was driving her crazy, and later once at Bangalore when another addiction of mine was, and each time I was and probably will continue to be the cause of the trouble.
But we always fought through till now. We came through because of her character and not my abilities, but we both try to help each other out of any dark tunnel we are in when the chips are really down and things are at their darkest and grimmest
I see my wife in the future as a matriarch with silver hair – she is extremely pretty – loved and respected by all for being a godly woman and a great mom and a good daughter and the best wife a man could have. Most of all for her bond with my son till death which though it has its difficulties is also her reward for all the struggles and sufferings she has gone through and is still going through in life which will continue to the end because of our peculiar situation.
Her life itself is a message which is apt for the readers of this article which is to do things not as unto men but as unto God, upholding the highest values, so that one is not disappointed by loved ones’ follies and also to try to do one’s best in all circumstances knowing that no harm will come to one with firm faith in God and one will reap a huge reward in due time for one’s virtue and faithfulness and bravery in facing and overcoming all of life’s daily and unexpected situations.
Article by: Dr. Koshy A.V.
Dr Koshy A. V. is an Assistant Professor at the Department o…f English at the College for Arts and Humanities for Girls, Jazan University, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. He has written, co-written or co-edited eight books of criticism and poetry to his credit with authors like A.V. Varghese, Gorakhnath Gangane and Angel Meredith and one of them was reprinted once. He is a Pushcart Poetry Prize nominee (2012) and twice Highly Commended Poet in Destiny Poets UK ICOP (2013, 2014) and he was thrice featured in Camel Saloon’s The Hump for best poem/editor’s pick and once for best poem in Destiny Poets UK Website in 2013. Even as a child he won an international award for writing in The Shanker’s International Award for Arts. He is a reputed critic and expert on Samuel Beckett besides being a fiction writer and theoretician. His last book was Wake Up, India: Essays for Our Times, co-authored with Dr Bina Biswas. Three more are on the way including Mahesh Dattani’s Plays: Staging the Invisibles co-edited with Bina Biswas and The Significant Anthology he is editing with Reena Prasad, and a collection of stories to be published by Lifi. He has edited or co-edited many books including A Man Outside History by Naseer Ahmed Nasir and Inklinks: An Anthology by Poets Corner and short story collections and novels for Lifi. He instituted the Reuel International Literary Prize in 2014 and runs an autism NPO called Autism for help Village Project Trust with his wife Anna Gabriel.
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Article edited for Incredible Women Of India: Rhiti Bose