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The Rose beyond compare

A tribute of love to my Grandmother Rose on her birth centenary on Oct11, 1990 - Odette D’Souza (then, now Odette Katrak)

One hundred years ago, on a bright and sunny morn,
In a tiny little place, a little babe was born,
A little bud so tiny, yet so beautiful and rare,
None knew this would bloom to be the rose beyond compare.

A rose that grew to blossom to a blushing bride of twenty,
Her hue grew daily richer, her beauty was aplenty,
A rose that was the pride and joy of husband dear P.G.
The jewel of his Oorgaum House and his growing family.

The years went by and beauteous Rose, a wonder to behold
Was soon the mother proud of children, seventeen all-told,
Not just seventeen, you see, they were always in excess,
For Granny Rose kept open house, her precious soul God bless.

Believe it now, no less than seventeen children did she bear
And each she brought up with equally singular love and care,
Each child was so special - and the mother so very rare,
That was truly our lovely Rose- the mother beyond compare.

Now friends, with seventeen offspring, there was bound to be lots of fun,
Confusion too, for ‘t was a mammoth task to recognize each one,
When a lost child was sent back to Oorgaum House, no surprise it would then seem
When days later, someone realized that he wasn’t one of the seventeen.

My mother would have given up, if sons she’d more than two,
Bringing up two naughty brats is more than a job to do,
Then hark at Granny Rose who reared nine lively, naughty boys,
Mischief, terror, personified – and oh- lots of noise!

My uncles nine* will forgive me, I’m sure, for describing them as they were
And disrespectfully unearthing skeletons from their cupboards of yesteryear,
Yet the remarkable feat that only God and Granny Rose could plan
Was the metamorphosis of rascals nine, each to the finest gentleman.
*(My father will forgive for making him an uncle in order not to disturb the rhyme!)

And then there were the sisters eight, petite, polite and full of thanks,
Ideal targets for the brothers’ wily, wicked, naughty pranks,
Each sister groomed one brother, taught him manners, to say please,
In return, the grateful brothers stepped up their tricky activities.

Now you may wonder how it be – the eldest child, a girl
was in fact a distant relative of the youngest girl,
But true it be and I would wager a little bet,
With fifteen other kids in between, how much closer could they get!

And so it was the children grew, the family spread in size
And then the third generation began to materialize,
But hang on there, what did you say, can I have some quiet?
Niece was older than aunt? this is getting to be a riot!

The riot that is the D’Souza clan grew in numbers strong,
At the helm, silent sweet Gran Rose was there all along
No family has as much to be proud of as we do
Descended from a grand old lady, loved a century later too.

Five generations now, the clan it numbers one hundred and ninety six strong,
To reach a double century, I reckon, won’t take very long,
Sixty five grandchildren and forty nine great grand ones too,
And now a great-great-grandson as well - the D’Souza legend has come true.

Our Granny Rose when she was here, was priceless in every way,
Virtuous, saintly, generous, more so every day,
Today she’s for all of us who are a part of her fold
A model for us to emulate and adopt her heart of gold.

Gran Rose lived till age ninety six, a ripe old ago to have won,
The ideal wife, mother, grandmother, friend to everyone,
A century old, she’d qualify to be an antique rare,
No small wonder then that she’s our priceless ROSE BEYOND COMPARE.

Written on 04.10.90