Mother’s bhakti, son’s shakti
Ganesh Pai narrates how a glass of sweet sugar cane juice led him to experience his mother’s love, which was infinitely sweeter
Whenever I see someone sipping sugar cane juice, an old incident comes alive, like waves rushing ashore. I was in my first year B.Com, and my exams were around the corner. It was a warm summer in my hometown in Gadag, located in the northern part of Karnataka. With the temperature soaring north of 40 degrees Celsius, the city felt like a furnace. My brother and I had gone out to run some errands, and on our way back, we decided to have a sugar cane juice as we were thirsty.
Life turns topsy-turvy
The next day, I suffered excruciating body pain. I thought it might be because of the heatwaves, and that night, I developed a fever. When I met our family doctor the day after, he prescribed some medicine, and I continued with it for the next couple of days. Still, the fever did not subside. My situation was getting worse with each passing day. Then the doctor advised me to go for a blood and urine test. When I got the report, much to my dismay, I was diagnosed with typhoid. With barely a week to go for my exams, my world had suddenly turned upside down.
This news completely shattered my morale and left my family members speechless. My mother was visibly perturbed the most. I still vividly remember seeing the pain in my mother’s eyes while trying hard to hold her poise to keep my sagging spirits alive. In a matter of days, my study room resembled more like a private ward in a hospital with medical equipment and multicoloured tablets all around.
Crushed by fever and excruciating body pain, I had become too weak and was completely bedridden. Even a single step felt like running a marathon, and uttering a word felt like having delivered a sermon for two hours. Time seemed an eternity. With just two days to go, I had lost hopes of appearing for my exams. Unable to handle the pain anymore, I told my mother with moist eyes and a feeble voice barely audible even to me, “Aayee (Mother), I won’t be able to write my exams.”
When my mother heard this, it completely shook her. The only thing my mother expected from us siblings was academic excellence. I had an excellent academic track record. Plus, I had prepared well for my exams; I was aiming to be a topper. This sudden turn of events had torn apart all my aspirations. I could not imagine seeing the marks card without any marks on it. At that moment, my mother made all her expectations subservient to my health. She was all empathetic. With love in her voice, while keeping her emotions in check, she said, “It’s OK, Beta (Son).” It was hard not to notice the pain that was palpable in her voice.
Rock of Gibraltar
Despite this setback, she strengthened her faith and relentlessly kept praying for my speedy recovery. In all this, my mother stood beside me like a rock. Despite typhoid being contagious, she would sleep next to me every night when I had a fever. Unable to see my plight, she had arranged for all the amenities in my room so that I didn’t have to step out for anything. It was not my fight alone; my mother fought it with me.
The night before the first exam was the most painful of all: it was the first time I was skipping an exam in my life. Tossing and turning, I went to sleep. The next morning, I suddenly found a surge of energy in my body. I heard something within me whisper, Go and write your exams. When I told my mother, “Aayee, I will go for my exams,” she was overjoyed beyond words. God had answered my mother’s prayers. She worked like a machine and quickly made all the arrangements for me to go for my exam.
As she applied sacred tilak on my forehead for my divine protection, I made a pact with my mother. I told her, “Aayee, I will write only for one hour just so that I get passing marks.” She replied, “Beta, write as much as your body permits.” My brother dropped me at the exam hall and waited outside, expecting me to leave in an hour. Somehow, after I got the question paper, I felt unstoppable and was glued to it for three hours.
This sudden turnaround in my prospects was a miracle unfolding right in front of my eyes. This routine persisted for all the papers. Given the prolonged fever and exhaustion, I would tell my mother the night before that I may not write my next exam, only to bounce back from my bed (much to my surprise!) and then go and write my exams. Having done so, I would return to be bedridden again. Under the weight of fatigue, there was no way I could prepare for any of the papers. I would trust my memory and flow while answering them. When I came back home after writing my last exam, it felt like having won a battle.
Aayee without equal
The whole sequence was nothing short of a phenomenon. It was as if my mother had negotiated hard with God for showering his energy when I needed it the most. In that one month or so, she did not care even for a moment for her well-being. Not even once was there any pain in her voice while attending to my sporadic health needs. The only thing that mattered to her was my recovery. It was her pure love that helped me conquer the notorious typhoid virus. Will I ever be able to measure the depth of my mother’s love for me? No. Because it is bottomless.
A couple of months down the line, the university announced the results. I was delighted to know that I was one of the top three students. It was the triumph of love and faith over adversity. My mother’s love, woven with devotion, had manifested as my success. The success tasted as sweet as the sugar cane juice!
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