Late Sheela Rani Shukla

Picture of Sheela Rani Shukla
        Late Sheela Rani Shukla – Defines courage

Not the beauty of skin
But the beauty of soul
Of some breed unseen
An immaculate woman as a whole
To help and guide
The one who was ever ready SHEELA RANI SHUKLA
A true iron lady she was

62 years ago on 20th February 1954, her journey started, she took her first breath in a very ordinary family and as she grew up her deeds separated her from rest of the crowd. The world may know her as Sheela Rani Shukla, but we know her as a perfect daughter, an amazing wife, a caring mother, a phenomenal woman and a lady with class.

Philosophy was really close to her heart. She was a great orator, poetist and a frequent guest speaker on AIR talk shows. Every time she went on stage, there was a standing ovation from the audience. She was a woman of her words, a trustable advisor as her friends say, the person they can hold on to when life takes a wrong turn

Picture of Late Sheela Rani's family
Collage of memories – late Sheela Rani with husband, her daughters and grandchildren

Since childhood she was an enthusiastic child who was always cherished by teachers and adored by her friends Born to a teacher, she was always inspired to become a teacher and leave a mark in the world through her students. As the first step, she started teaching during her college days. After attending her morning classes, she used to teach at primary school between 9-11 am and then to compensate for her missed classes, she used to visit her friend’s house to jot down the notes so that she won’t lag behind in her studies. It was not because of some financial crisis but the result of the passion and zeal she had inside her to create her own identity, to outrun the restrictions of a patriarchal society and establish herself as an independent woman. Then her baby steps led her to join the NCC (National Cadet Corps). Her hard work and diligence was recognized and she was promoted to the post of senior officer at NCC. She used to say that woman like her should never marry and consecrate her life to the society. But bound by the rituals of the society, she respected her family’s wishes and got married in a highly reputed family.

Even after marriage, she continued teaching. She travelled miles, changed 3 buses to give tuitions at a village school in return of just 200 rupees. She was often questioned by her mother-in-law as to why go through so many hardships for the sake of mere 200 bucks to which she used to answer with utmost pride that it was not for the sake of money but for her passion to teach.

MOM KNOWS EVERYTHING

Then time took a leap, now she wasn’t just a wife but a mother too. She became a timeless teacher in the classroom called life. One day, after coming from school her daughters, Daksha and Sameeksha , threw their bags on bed and thought of doing something new. They decided to cook maggi to satisfy their hunger pangs. But then it doomed upon them that if mom finds out, they are going to get scolded. So, a plan was devised to do away with the evidence of crime. Daksha took the responsibility to clean kitchen and Sameeksha, the younger one went to throw away the wrapper in a dustbin two blocks away away from their street. All set, the sisters grinned at how dexterously they had abolished every piece of evidence and any chance of them getting caught. The sun set and mother arrived. As soon as she entered, the first question that she asked was, “Did you guys cook maggi today?” Dumbstruck, both the girls looked at each other with surprise and a sinking sensation in their stomach . Daksh asked ,”Mamma, how did you come to know about it ?”and she replied with a smile ,”Beta, mom knows everything about their children and you will realize this when you become one.”Till this day, it remains an unsolved mystery as to how mothers come to know everything In Daksha and Sameeksha’s words:

She knows the tricks we have tried,      

there is nothing from her that we can hide.” 

She was a potter shaping the soft clay of her children’s heart with words, with a light guiding hand at once and a gentle pressure at another. She taught them the real meaning of life and was always by their side when they looked back. She kept on encouraging their endeavors, be it debate or any other competition .She never imposed any decision of hers on them but suggested the possible outcomes and let them make their own decision. She sowed in them the seeds of truth, wisdom , joy and peace and inculcated in them the habit of standing tall in the crowd.

THE ABYSMMAL TRAGEDY

In 2007 , the Shukla family met witn an unfathomable accident in Maharashtra. Everyone suffered grevious injuries but it Mr. Shukla who having suffered severe brain injury was in grave danger.

Picture of Shuklas family with Interviewers
Late Sheela Rani Shukla’s family with our Interviewers Khushboo & Chhavi

They were brought to the nearby hospital by a Shiv Sena MP, Mr. Chandrakant Khaire. Mr. Khaire explains the whole incident as “Sheela was an iron lady . Even with both shoulders fractured, the way she boldly stood up and managed the crisis was commendable and beyond words. He say,” I haven’t seen such immense strength and courage in anyone in my whole.” experience.” While she was admitted, she quickly called all her relatives. Now one might search the directory for numbers but all she did was search her astute memory. When she was given the grim news of her husband’s death , she did not collapse into tears like most people would have done, instead she said, ”Whatever happened, happened. Now , I have to live for  my daughters. For a moment , one might think that it was the shock of her husband’s death but it was her immense internal strength that made her endure the crisis.

HER LAST WISH

After living her whole life with utmost simplicity and devoting it to her family and friends, all she wished was to visit the serene beauty of the Andaman and Nicobar islands.

THE UNWRITTEN WILL

Mrs. Sheela Rani Shukla was a pertinacious lady who was determined to leave a mark even after her death. One of her persistent wish was to donate her body. She had shared this idea with each and every person whom she met during her lifetime. Her husband demurred her decision of donating her body saying that if her body is not cremated properly, her spirit would wander around in the form of a crow. On the other hand, she didn’t believe in the society’s idea of burning the body to rest one’s soul. She regarded the presence of one supreme power that drives the world under the title of God.

After  her death, all her relatives and friends arrived to mourn her death but nobody agreed giving her body for donation. It was on part of her daughters who took this bold decision to fulfill her mother’s last unwritten will and donate her body for the purpose of medical research. When we asked their daughters regarding this audacious decision that they took, they replied ,”now when we think in retrograde , we feel content . Had we cremated her body instead of  donating it , we would have regretted it.”

Mrs. Sheela Rani Shukla was a teacher when alive and still a teacher after her death.

– Story by Miss Khushboo & Miss Chhavi