VELLORE: Service to man is service to God. This could not have been truer if we were to go by the example of 82-year-old Datchayani.
Widowed at the age of 15, the fragile-looking octogenarian of Timiri, has come a long way, which has not been easy. Since the fear of a solitary life gripped her early, she adopted her elder sister’s daughter, but the joy of bringing up and mentoring a child was shortlived as the girl grew up and entered wedlock, leaving Datchayani once again lonely.
In the twilight of a life lived well, she said she has offered to donate her house, where she has been residing, to the Social Welfare Department (SWD) and submitted the documents of the property to Collector Nanthagopal.The gesture was made at a programme organised by the department on Friday.
The octogenarian said she decided to put her house valued around `50 lakh to good use. Born in Chennai, she could not pursue education and got married young. As the youngest daughter in a family of seven, she soon became an unwanted child. Being a widow, she had a word of advice to people like her. She said young widows should get re-married at the earliest and never give room for a solitary life.
“I was not allowed to re-marry when I became a widow, and I suffered my entire life. I do not wish the same for others,” she added. Education can improve the living condition of women to a great extent and they should never bank on the support of parents or siblings, she further said.
Down the years, a gritty Datchayani shaped up to be a good social worker.
She had been doing a course in social work at a home run by the Social Welfare Department and was soon absorbed as a rural welfare organiser in Timiri.
Her job was to motivate young women to think of family planning and take up vocational training. In 1990, she received an award from the district administration for motivating a good number people to go in for family planning.