A tower

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - WOMAN - By S. INDRAMALAR star2@ thes­tar. com. my

THEY may all be grown up with fam­i­lies of their own, some liv­ing thou­sands of miles away but Suseela Nadara­jah’s four chil­dren still de­pend on their mother.

“Her love sus­tains us. Her courage has given us the strength to suc­ceed and her self­less sac­ri­fice for her fam­ily is a life long in­spi­ra­tion,” says youngest son Si­vaku­maran, 44, a pro­fes­sor of en­gi­neer­ing at McGill Univer­sity in Mon­treal, Canada where he lives with his wife Lisa and their two chil­dren Surya, 12 and Vid­hyalak­shmi, four.

If we re­gard moth­er­hood as one of life’s most im­por­tant ca­reers, then Suseela has had an ex­cep­tional run of it.

Ca­reer- wise, her chil­dren have all “turned out”. Su­mathi, the el­dest, is a di­rec­tor at CIMB In­vest­ment Bank; Ganesh Ku­mar is the ex­ec­u­tive vice pres­i­dent of AmBank Group; while Subashini is the cre­ative di­rec­tor of Hall­mark Cards In­cor­po­rated in Kansas, United States.

But more than that, the four re­main close and rooted to the val­ues that Suseela and her late hus­band, T. C. Nadara­jah in­stilled in them. The late Nadara­jah, an au­di­tor, was a spir­i­tual leader in his com­mu­nity and many used to seek his coun­sel when faced with per­sonal prob­lems or mak­ing life- al­ter­ing de­ci­sions. But on the home front, it was Suseela who was the nur­turer and pro­tec­tor, badges she wore with pride.

He passed away 12 years ago, and since then Suseela has been the head of the fam­ily.

Suseela is the great grand daugh­ter of K. Tham­boosamy Pil­lay ( one of the early lead­ers of the Tamil com­mu­nity pre- in­de­pen­dence who founded Sri Ma­hamari­amman Tem­ple in Kuala Lumpur in 1873). Born in Sin­ga­pore in 1938, Suseela moved to Malaysia when she mar­ried Nadara­jah at 19.

“It was quite a brave move, I sup­pose, but my hus­band was a very kind, gen­tle man and my mother in law was nice too which made things eas­ier. I was de­ter­mined to make it work ... I told my­self that no mat­ter what, I would be strong,” re­calls Suseela.

Even though it has been 12 years since Nadara­jah has passed away, talk­ing about her hus­band of close to five decades makes Suseela tear.

“You know, I still feel ter­ri­bly lonely at night when I’m in my room. My heart still aches for him and I miss him a lot. He taught me ev­ery­thing. When I came to KL, I was very timid but he gave me con­fi­dence. My par­ents were pi­ous and they taught me val­ues but it was my hus­band who taught me about spirituality, about life, about be­ing happy. He was a very gen­tle man, thought­ful and cheer­ful. And he never scolded the chil-

This ma­tri­arch makes sure her fa dren. When I work in the kitchen, he would al­ways come with a glass of Ribena for me, think­ing I may need a drink or a breather,” she says.

For many, the love shared be­tween Suseela and her late hus­band was an ex­am­ple to live by.

Says Ganesh, “She had ab­so­lute trust in him and was will­ing to sac­ri­fice any­thing for him. He in turn loves ev­ery bit of her and lived for her. Their’s was true love ... two souls shar­ing one heart and one life,” he muses.

Suseela lives with her el­dest daugh­ter in their fam­ily home in Sec­tion 12, Pe­tal­ing Jaya and her el­dest son Ganesh lives a stone’s throw away with his wife, Malar and their son Shree­man.

“My mother is the fuel that en­ables me to func­tion and do the im­pos­si­ble. No mat­ter

ily stays close. what, I know she will al­ways stand by me. She al­ways has. We may be mother and daugh­ter but we are also friends for­ever,” shares Su­mathi, the el­dest.

For the first time in years, the four sib­lings were re­united late last year. The Nadara­jah’s and their ex­tended fam­ily from Sin­ga­pore then con­gre­gated for a short hol­i­day in Malacca with their ma­tri­arch.

“She is not the el­dest in her fam­ily ei­ther but all her neph­ews and nieces look to her for ad­vice and ap­proval.

“Ev­ery­one in the fam­ily looks up to her. She takes care of her fam­ily and brings us all to­gether. Her arms are open all the time. She’s a fan­tas­tic cook and she loves feed­ing ev­ery­one. She’s warm and wel­com­ing and ev­ery­one just keeps com­ing back,” ob­serves Malar.

Subashini may have strug­gled to fol­low her mother’s strict rules while she was a child but she now draws in­spi­ra­tion from her mother.

“She puts her heart and soul into ev­ery­thing she does. She is al­ways so pas­sion­ate ... whether it is gar­den­ing or cook­ing up a meal,” she says, in awe.

For Suseela, the se­cret to a happy life is to love, al­ways.

“Fam­ily is ev­ery­thing. It’s re­ally im­por­tant to keep fam­ily close and the only way to do that is to al­ways show your love. The most im­por­tant thing is to greet peo­ple with warmth. Your house must be wel­com­ing, you must talk and lis­ten. And, you must never in­ter­fere in peo­ple’s lives. We must know how to move with the times and adapt. I don’t im­pose my views on oth­ers but they know that I am al­ways here should they need ad­vice. And love,” says Suseela.

Suseela Nadara­jah is the ma­tri­ach of her fam­ily – ev­ery­one looks up to her and goes to her for ev­ery­thing. — Hand­out

Adar and her three chil­dren left So­ma­lia af­ter her hus­band was killed. With the UN­HCR’s help, the chil­dren go to school and Adar works as a seam­stress. — AZMAN GHANI/ The Star

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Malaysia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.