This here is my great grandmother. I never knew her personally, but what I do know is that she left her mark on this world.
In Kannada, my mother tongue,’Ajji’ means grandmother and ‘tatha’ means grandfather.
My ajji’s father used to be a very powerful and wealthy man. In fact, he was the first man to import a car from the United States to Karnataka. At a young age, he worked to put himself through school and built up his empire. His name was B. H. Narrappa. While I could go on about his successes, I want to highlight his wife’s accomplishments.
Much of her success has been shadowed by my tatha’s accomplishments. If it were not for her, my family would not be giving back to the community. She made it her mission to use the wealth that they had to do good.
She was known around our town as ‘doddama.’ This means ‘big mama.’ Alongside her daily chores she had to do as a wife, she would connect with the people in the town and help them. In particular, doddama used to connect with the women in her village. Often times husbands would be injured or killed in construction or factory accidents. This impacts families because women would not be able to support their children. Doddama would connect with them and help them find work. This work consisted of being helpers in peoples’ homes or finding them work in local schools/orfanages. She was very well known around town and always stayed humble. She was an inspiration to my family and many others.
Doddama always stressed philanthropy which is a value that has been traded along my lineage. My ajji has taught it to my father and my father has taught it to me. Doddama is where I get my inspiration from and my motivation to do the work I do. Her actions left a mark long after she left this world and I hope to carry on her legacy through the work I do as well.