TIRUCHY: Who better could tell children they are a privileged lot and give them a sense of what life could be. Vairamani, the first woman undertaker in the State, addressed 3,500 odd students, during Children’s Day celebrations, at Alpha Group of Schools,on Tuesday.
“My husband’s income did not suffice and I had to work, to run my family. I do not want my children or grandchildren to continue this work. I want them to be educated. I am delighted to get such an appreciation from the people, especially young children. It motives me, ” she stressed
Declining the students’ offer to help her monetarily, 34-year-old Vairamani asked them to use the money for their education. Married at the age of 13 and shouldering the responsibility of the family from a very young age, Vairamani only has the bright side of the life to see and is determined to work amidst the dead, and face life.
“I felt humbled after listening to Vairamani madam talk. The courage and strength needed to do that work seem unimaginable,” said B Arshath Ahmad, a class ten student.
The photo essay on the first woman undertaker by Express photo journalist from Coimbatore A Raja Chidambaram, created a huge impact across the country, much beyond what was anticipated by the photographer and the subject.
The school invited both Vairamani and A Raja Chidambaram for the interactive sessions with the children. “I was initially hesitant about being photographed. But Chidambaram convinced me saying people must know about a woman like me, living this way. When fellow villagers and relatives saw my photograph in the paper, they were proud of me,” Vairamani said.
Captured in the remote village of Chokkampudur, the photo essay was published in Express last month. Raja Chidambaram who spent ten days at the cremation ground said, “I wanted to capture the life of Vairamani and I was determined.
She deserves this attention and appreciation for the work she does. After waiting for ten days for a corpse to arrive, I found Vairamani at work on the tenth day. I was disheartened. I am glad that I did not miss out on a person of such great courage and could record it.”
“Children are constantly taught about the dignity of life and labour. But it is also important to inculcate the values of dignity of death in them. Children must learn to respect every person regardless of their job or status,” said A Sekhar, Head, Alpha group of schools.
The photographer spent 10 days at a cremation ground in a remote village to capture the life of Vairamani