Literature

She was a Miracle: Arundhati Roy remembers her mother

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For Arundhati Roy, her mother Mary Roy, who passed Thursday, was a miracle. But the celebrated author was also generous enough to share the goodness of her mother — to whom she offered the last kiss Friday afternoon — with everyone that mattered.

Mary Roy, the renowned educationalist was cremated on the premises of ‘Pallikoodam’, the school that she founded.

Arundhati had dedicated her debut novel, ‘The God of Small Things’ to her mother: For Mary Roy, who grew me up. Who taught me to say ‘excuse me’ before interrupting her in Public. Who loved me enough to let me go.

A copy of the book that fetched her the Man Booker Prize for fiction had been placed by the side of Mary before she was cremated.

“All people have spoken about my mother, what an extraordinary person she is and I don’t need to explain that to anyone because all of us know what a miracle she was,” Arundhati told a small gathering of friends and family that grieved the death of Mary Roy.

“She was one of the fiercest, most fabulous person that ever walked this earth. But the reason I wanted to speak now was to say that she didn’t do it alone.

“All of you, all of you, your faith and your love in her, especially at a time she was a single, divorced woman with two little children, with no backing.”

Mary Roy’s Pallikoodam had a humble beginning before it revolutionalised the education system in Kerala. It is known how Arundhati had suggested that name to her mother, who had been the institution’s head for 42 years.

She was 89 and is survived by two children, daughter Arundhati Roy, renowned writer and activist who won the 1997 Man Booker prize and son Lalit Roy. [ Photo ©  maktoobmedia]

“We remember we were five and six years old. We used to arrive at the rotary club. We were little, we had ‘choolu’, we used to come in the morning, we used to sweep up the cigarette stubs.

“We used to clean up the place, we used to put up tables and stools and it used to be the school. That is how this school started,” she remembered. “It started with the faith from a very few people, who believed in Mary Roy,” she added.

Arundhati Roy thanked everyone that shared the ‘extraordinary journey’ of her mother. “Without you, we will not be we, my brother will not be who he is, I will not be who I am. This town made us, sometimes by being cruel but that’s good too, you know. We didn’t turn out to be people who expect the world to just open up for us. It’s been such an extraordinary journey.”

This story is a part of SLG Syndication. Click here to read the original article published in On Manorama.