“I believe the choice to become a mother is the choice to become one of the greatest spiritual teachers there is.” – Oprah Winfrey
Saalumarada Thimmakka is 107 years old. She is as fit as a fiddle and her work has bought fame not only to her but also to India. She has planted over 8,000 trees in 80 years. Last month she won the prestigious Padam Shri. She also has other awards and honours to her kitty. With her work, she has earned herself a place in the prestigious list of BBCs 100 most influential women.
Why did she plant so many trees? Well, Saalumarada was born in a poor family in Karnataka and never went to school. She was known as Thimmaka during her childhood. She worked as a quarry labourer at an early age. In 1928 she married Chikkayya, also a labourer. After many years of their marriage, the couple could not have children. Salumarada was so depressed that she wanted to commit suicide at the age of 40 since she could not bore children.
Her husband was very supportive and helped her come out of the thought of suicide. Together they planned to fill in the emptiness in their life. They decided to plant banyan trees and look after them as their children. In 1948, they decide to plant trees from their village. Thus their journey towards parenthood started. They worked selflessly, untired and with pure love and dedication towards planting trees and looking after them till they had fruit. They started with 10 plants in the first year and then kept planting more saplings in the years to come. Even after her husband’s death, she did not stop looking after and planting more trees.
Now she has 8,000 trees which include more than 400 banyan trees. She is also lovingly known as ‘Vriksha Mathe (mother of trees)’. Her story is full of determination and selfless love towards her children.
For every dark, negative story out there, there is a positive, heartwarming story that will add some light and lift the human spirit. The last Friday of every month bloggers will share their stories led by five co-hosts, this month’s co-hosts are Sylvia McGrath, Damyanti Biswas, Shilpa Garg, Dan Antion, and Belinda Witzenhausen. To learn more about #WATWB or to join us click here!