I have been scribbling random stuff relentlessly, however when assigned this task of writing about my mother, I seem to fall short of words.
Why is it so difficult to write about the person who matters the most?
I must have been about a year and a half or two, around the time when I had begun gauging my surroundings. Mom worked with a bank that was barely a mile away. She always dropped home for lunch and perhaps to give me a quick cuddle too. But a quick cuddle never satisfied me and I threw tantrums such that she didn’t have a choice, but take me along to work. This was a continuous affair until I was 4 or so. Thanks to kids like me a lot of contemporary offices have an in-house crèche today.
Meal-time for me always used to be sitting in the balcony watching the sight outside. Lunchtime was being fed by my grandparents listening to stories of mythology. Dinner time however was being fed by mom watching the stars. Each star in the sky represented a deceased person from the family, including my grandparents from the maternal side. She had told me that when people die, they become stars and watch upon us from the skies above.
Mom has always had her trademark style of dressing – starched cotton sarees, a big bindi, a long braid with a piece of garlanded jasmine. She mostly broke that rule only when we used to go out on holidays.
However, she never stopped wearing that bright smile come rain, come sunshine.
Mom and I used to play “feet-fight”. We had our feet fixed to one another’s and pushed hard to see who was stronger and then giggle away to glory; and this game continued till the time I got married. Irrespective of who won or lost the game, her direct influence on me as the most indomitable person I have ever known has been immense and continues to be so.
It’s said that if a person has had a brush with death, they emerge out stronger. She had once been on an excursion with her friends to a water-fall. As they were walking, she slipped and fell into the water only to be sucked in by a whirlpool of water current. She was rescued by some local fishermen; but she always said that she nearly died that day. Needless to say, she was afraid of the sea; however in spirits she was forever undeterred.
She has always been an ace in managing life situations; an expert at anticipating circumstances. She has always had solutions to problems even before they cropped up.
She has always loved to cook. Hardly a big eater, she has always enjoyed to bits cooking for others and seeing them relish and eat to their heart’s content gave her unimaginable satisfaction. Come summer, she would make pickles and vadams; come Diwali and she would make boxes full of delicious sweets and snacks. Oh, and she made the world’s thinnest dosas!
She is one of the kindest hearted persons I have ever known. She has always gone out of her way to help the lesser privileged and senior citizens. Quite a few ladies who worked as house-maids would drop by home and show her their bank passbooks. She had advised them to open bank accounts and would help them manage the same; and they are forever grateful to her for that.
There has always been something extremely calming and peaceful about her. I miss slumping into her lap and being transported as she so lovingly ran her fingers through my hair.
She was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2008; she fought through it bravely for a year and a half but we lost the battle and her in 2010. There were nearly three hundred people who had turned up for her funeral; most we knew, but many that we didn’t; but mom had made a difference in their lives in some way or the other. Different people continue to remember her for different reasons.
For her, her family has always meant everything – in presence and absence. She is now that star in the sky that looks over all of us; that guiding light that looks at me and smiles, when I sometimes sit in the balcony and eat my meal in solitude.
Divya, the Times of Amma is honoured that you chose to share your precious memories of your mother with us.
If you too would like to share your stories of your mother, send us a picture of you and her, with a note on how she is an inspiration.
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