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Shreeja Aunty - My Mother in Another City

Editor’s note :

As most regular readers of the Times of Amma know, the month of May is when we celebrate our mothers with guest posts from readers and friends on one of the most special women in their lives. This May though, we focus on Mothers of a different kind - this May is about celebrating those who nurtured and nourished us without really being our mothers. This month we celebrate the Mother Figures in our life.

In this final edition of the Times of Amma Mother Figures Series, Anuja writes about a neighbour who became her mother in a brand new city.

Times of Amma Mother Figure Shreeja sitting on a bench

I have always been around my family till the early years of my marriage. I had never imagined that after having a baby I would have to stay quite far away from them. My husband got placed with an e-commerce giant when our child was 3 months old. We were staying in Ahmedabad and had to shift to Chennai. I was really skeptical as to how I would manage in a new city alone with my baby where I not only didn’t know the language but also did not have family and friends in.

Things looked really daunting at the start and I had my own bouts of PPD (Post-partum depression) to deal with. I was all alone the entire day with an infant and no support and my husband away for work. But god always provides you with a silver lining amidst dark clouds. I was staying in a very good locality surrounded by south Indian families. I didn’t know how to strike a conversation even though I am an extrovert. But very soon our neighbour whom I used to fondly call Shreeja aunty struck a chord and started talking to me. She used to offer me south Indian delicacies and made me feel at ease with her even though she was quite elder to me. It was as if I found an angel who was constantly worried about our well-being. Things started looking good to me and I enjoyed her company and few of other families in the locality. One day my son got very colicky and cried his lungs out and I being a first time mother could not understand the reason behind his wailing. I started crying and called my husband. Meanwhile Aunty rushed to our home and she got tense too. My husband and I went to the hospital where we came to know it was a serious episode of acid-reflux. We reached home after almost 4 hours and saw her standing right outside the home all gloomy. As soon as she saw us, she started crying and told me that she was super tense. I realized that she was so attached to us that she treated me and my child as her own. I had never experienced this kind of love from someone whom I have known only for a couple of months. People do get attached to us and we feel that spark but very rarely do we get such relationships in our lives where a person feels our pain and stands by us no matter what. I was so lucky to have her and her family by my side. Her two grown up sons considered my child as their little brother and got so attached to him as well. I never felt like I was going to a neighbour’s house. It was as if it was my own house. I never felt so at ease with strangers who got nothing from me in return. Days passed, months passed and we got even closer. She became my friend, philosopher, guide, and mentor. She was my Google as she always had answers for all my queries related to my child and she was always there to give me suggestions and offer me advices when I really needed one. She made sure that I never feel lonely and supported me so fiercely that I used to sometimes doubt whether anyone else from my family could have supported me the way she did. I missed my mother but that feeling never overpowered me as Shreeja aunty was always around.

After coming to this city I realized that one needs to step out from one's comfort zone as that is the only way to meet such people and make lifelong relationships. We have moved again to a different city but the mark she has made in my life will never fade away and I shall be forever grateful to her for all that support, love, concern and affection that she has showered on me and my child. We are still in touch and share our lives. She will always be a mother like figure in my life. Such incidents makes you believe in god even more as you feel that this was an act of some higher power where you meet people who expect absolutely nothing out of you but instead just shower love and affection.

Anuja Zanane is a highly career-oriented person who has switched temporarily to being an SAHM to enjoy her son’s childhood to the core. You can follow her on Instagram here.

Stay tuned to the Times of Amma on Facebook and Instagram for more stories on Motherhood, Mother-figures and the different versions of a Mother's love. And don't forget to reach out to us here, if you would like to do a guest post for us.

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