Kalluparambil Sosamma’s mind is like unadulterated coffee. The nonagenarian planter's conduct bears the freshness and fragrance of the early-morning decoction; age has not managed to alter her routine wee bit. At her home in Pallom, near south-central Kerala’s Kottayam, she happily winds back to her younger days that sowed the seeds of Sosamma becoming a frontline planter in the state.
''I am happy,'' says Sosamma
You have to fight
Sosamma was 18 years old when she married. At 36, she became a widow. Her husband left the family with their three young children. The death of the man aggrieved Sosamma, who shut herself in a room and wept for three months in solitude. Seeing this, relatives began to intervene. ''Will your kids grow up if you keep crying all the time?'' one of them asked. Sosamma had no answer to that question.
When Sosamma got a 50-acre plot in hilly Idukki from her husband's family, the Kurambara estate in Chappath wasn't in the best of shape. In fact, business was running at deep loss.
Sosamma earned some grit and was determined to revive its operations that would start giving her income. Early morning she would get up and take the 5 am bus to the coffee plantation. Then would work the field the whole day. Late into evening, she would get back home. Penury forced her to mortgage gold, including the wedding necklace. The result of the hard work began showing, slowly.
The harvest seasons showed better yield, and in peak months Sosamma's estate saw robusta coffee seeds weighing up to 100 tonnes being taken out for sale. That was when life started showing signs of fresh shoots again. It has been a long way since, but even today she visits her estate regularly. Not every day, but on Sundays and Mondays. One can see her stroking softly the coffee flowers in sprawling estate that now measures a good 180 acres. For, her children also joined the business and won in buying 130 more acres of coffee farm.
Sosamma ensured that her children got good education. Two sons became medical doctors while the daughter is a banking expert. What makes her happiest? ''My hard work, no doubt,'' she would reply. ''I did that not with greed, but to meet my responsibilities. In that I have won. I am satisfied.''
Sosamma wouldn't say her age is just a number. Getting on to her 90s has come with a lot of healthcare. ''I do as much yoga as possible.''
Any desires left? Nothing. ''I am happy. I should die in sleep.''
How to be happy in life
Be sincere in whatever you do
Take care of your health
Find satisfaction in the existing circumstances
Don’t let your desires grow uncontrolled