Ambalappuzha: Abida can’t ask for more. The 72-year-old woman is happy under the care of her 10 daughters. In fact, they are vying with each other for their turn to be with their mother.
Abida’s life is a silver lining in a society which is struggling to take care of its aging population. Mother to 13 children, grandmother to 35 and great grandmother to 13, Abida proudly proclaims that her family is her life’s work. Everyone in the family still consults the matriarch on every little detail.
Abida, the daughter of Yusuf Kunju Haji and Adavi Kutty from Thakazhi, was married to Abdul Rahman of Neerkunnam in 1960. She was only 15 years.
The couple raised 10 girls and three boys. They ensured that the girls - Fathima Beevi, Rashida, Reyhanath, Waheeda, Aisha, Khadeeja, Amina, Sumayya, Mymoona and Hayarunnisa - received a good education on a par with the boys. All of them have been married into good families.
Abida did not have it easy as a young mother. She attended to the domestic chores alone. She would leave the younger children with the elder children while she cooked and cleaned. She even had a farm and orchard to take care of.
She had ample source of food for her children though. The paddy field provided enough rice to feed the big family, while the mango trees, jackfruit trees and cashew trees nourished the children.