3 Lady Musketeers
Marriage had brought the three of them to Singapore, but the Sree Narayana Mission brought Indulekha, Sneha and Indu Suresh together to forge a special friendship.
Indulekha was the first to arrive in Singapore and had joined her Singapore-born husband’s family in their regular activities at the Mission. “My children enjoy attending the classes here and mingling with the others; my daughter who first came here at age two is now 23 and she’s teaching the small children today. I made friends with the other two ladies in the Mission and we became close, like a family; we share our problems, we share our happiness, we share ideas with the older ladies. During the Chathayam festivities, this feels like our ancestral home, so much so that we don’t even want to go back to India for those celebrations. We started to dress alike even, and became like sisters. The bonding feels great and we even have activities outside of the Mission.”
For Sneha, the friendship was life-changing. “I had been in Singapore for 10 years before I first came to the Mission. I had no interaction with anyone in that time. My mother-in-law’s friend had ‘forced’ me to visit the Mission one day, saying I’ll make a lot of friends here. When my Singaporean husband came to the Mission with me, he renewed friendships with his childhood friends, including the husbands of my two friends. I am very happy about that, this feels like home. It’s as though the three of us have one mind, we have the same wavelength and we have great teamwork. Onam celebrations means being at the Mission to us. We’ll even discuss our Onam attire two months ahead, to dress alike and match everything. I cannot imagine what I’d be without the Mission. There is a huge difference in me – from the first 10 years and now; I used to be serious, now I’m jovial; I was always at home before and interacting only with my children and husband but now I go shopping with my friends. I appreciate the big exposure I had after coming to the Mission, so when I became a Singapore citizen five years ago, I immediately signed up for membership. I became a voluntary Malayalam language teacher here.”
Indu Suresh had been attending the Mission’s events since 1998, and says she will never miss its Onam and Chathayam events. “It’s the homely atmosphere here,” she reasons, and adds, “Our children have also become very close, we are like one family. The children have formed their own group; they play soccer together, they go out together on Sundays, they have meals. Sometimes we don’t even know that they have made their plans to meet and go out. I hope this friendship in the second generation continues, I am happy they are continuing the friendship.”
“This friendship is priceless, and our children’s friendship too; I get goose-bumps thinking about it. It will grow stronger over the years. It is all the Guru’s blessings – he gave us the unity,” Sneha adds.
Indulekha highlights the positive traits their children have gained from the Guru’s values that permeate the Mission. “The Mission makes us a better person, and our children also. They learn the Guru’s teachings – they learn about their own religion and how to respect other religions – that’s very important. My son even represented the Mission in an Inter-Religious talk last year when my husband was out of town. They also see the old folks at the Mission’s Home and learn about palliative care,” Indulekha relates. “Every weekend we look forward to coming to the Mission. I can’t imagine life without the Mission,” Indulekha quips.
“Even when it’s not an event, we come to the Mission, to help others in their activities. It’s our second home,” Indu Suresh concludes.