'One morsel for Sheela, one for Saamu', Jayalalithaa played ball with her caring nurses
“People call her an iron lady. But what we saw in those 75 days was her soft, caring side,” says CV Sheela, one of the 16 nurses who cared for the late Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa at Apollo Hospital
CHENNAI: “People call her an iron lady. But what we saw in those 75 days was her soft, caring side,” says CV Sheela, one of the 16 nurses who cared for the late Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa at Apollo Hospitals.
“She loved upma; upma, pongal, curd rice and potato curry were her favourite dishes. With each spoon of food, she would say ‘I will eat this morsel for Sheela’, ‘this one for Saamu’, and each subsequent spoonful for yet another nurse in the room. She motivated herself and us with simple words like these.”
Among the nurses, Jayalalithaa lovingly referred to her favourite three — CV Sheela, MV Renuka and Samundeeshwari — as the ‘King Kongs’.
“After being shifted to the general ward, she would watch TV for an hour every day and listen to old Tamil songs with us. She was moved when she saw on TV that thousands of people were praying for her,” says Renuka.
“Whenever someone entered her room, she would smile and ask, ‘What can I do for you?’” chief nursing superintendent Suneetha R recalls, adding that the nurses were moved by Jayalalithaa’s trust in them. “She would throw balls and play with us, in accordance with the physiotherapists’ instructions.
She never refused our suggestions. Even when she wasn’t fond of her exercises, she wouldn’t refuse them, but say, ‘I’m tired, can we do this later?’”