By Life Positive April 2011 The mother is the single most civilizing factor in our lives. For better or for worse, we become what our mothers teach us to be. By god’s grace, mother’s love is mostly for the better. Readers doff their hats to their mothers Mother and I Mother comes from matrilineal stock. She is proud and dignified and took it on herself to raise her two children the way her parents had raised her. Even a white lie is a crime. She insists on telling the truth in any circumstance and expects it from others. I was never allowed to take short cuts. She would insist that I earned every penny to truly savour it. “Work hard to deserve your success,” was her simple advice. She would end with a plain, “If it is in your destiny, you will get it.” There is a deep sense of satisfaction today when I look back. The grounding was solid, the values in place and I have been able to achieve whatever I wanted to on my terms. There were no short cuts or compromises. Maybe, it was my destiny! I met mother recently. She was losing out to dementia and didn’t recollect most of her life. As she sat on her grand chair, the import of all that she had tried to inculcate in me hit home. There is only one life and no dress rehearsals and she had wanted me to be true to myself because she believed that it was all that mattered in the end. When the time came, I would exit my physical body with nothing material that I owned. All that I would leave behind would be my values and its impressions on those around me. She had spent her entire life telling her two children to be honest in whatever they did. I think she succeeded.Rajendar Menen, Mumbai My shakti Mothers go about their jobs quietly and change the world for their children Her performance has been worthy of a seat in the highest heavens, and the saints have borne me out. I remember Avadhoot Baba’s cave in Badrinath – the mouni saint beckoned to mother and handed her a flower; I remember Mataji at Neem Karoli Baba’s ashram casting the same benign glance- they knew! I have rarely succumbed to outside stress. Home with mother was such a comfort zone, that, outside battles always appeared deal-able. Mother is quiet and undemonstrative, never molly-cuddling, but her actions are surrounded with over-riding concern, patience, intelligence and complete ego-sacrifice. Her loving mantra, embedded in our souls, is, my children first, anything for my children. When you live in such a strong love-field, with God at the centre of family, life can never go wrong. That “anything” has stretched to career sacrifices to be home with us, balancing a hot-tempered father’s actions with calmness, so that we children were never troubled, learning math to help me, sitting with us even till we prepared for our postgrad examinations. Being quietly supportive of my career decisions when father was raging against them. Being openly supportive of my choice of husband when father was opposing him. Taking care of my children right from infancy so I could nurture my career – where do I stop? She is the perfect mother because her actions are based on a strong sense of dharma, a complete identification with her motherhood mission and an all-consuming desire to nurture ceaselessly. May the gods add the years of my life to hers. The earth needs her soul.Nandini Sarkar, via email MAA Mein, aajkalaksar jab bhi dekhti hun-Maa ka jhuriyon wala chehra,to yun lagta hai mano yeh jhuriyanmeri umar ki voh pagdandiyan hainjinse guzar kar maine kayee jiye hain,meri maa ne,har dum meri ungli pakad kar,in tede-mede raston par chalna sikhaya hai,kabhi dagmagate aurkabhi behekte kadmon ko bachaya hai!Aaj chahe kamzor pad gayee hain voh nigahenjo meri prahari aur prerna bani rahin-har samay, har pal,Aaj bhi Jab kabhi andheraGehraa jaata haiaur manzil tak paunchne ka mera vishwasdag magaane lagta hai to Maa ki choti-choti aankhonki na ke baraabar chamak,mujhe diye ki tarah raah dikhati haiaur uski binaa daant ki muskarahatmere har prayas parmera housala badaati hai! Anonymous Best friend and role model Recently, when I offered a glass of cold drink to an elderly courier person around noon, he blessed me. I was moved and I thought of my mother. Today, whatever I have managed to make of myself and whatever I have achieved is because of mom. She used to say, ‘Try to be good to everybody in the smallest possible way” and I continue to do my best to practice what she taught me. Last year, I lost her. I am sure she is out there somewhere among the stars. I sense her watching me. My mom was my best friend and role model rolled into one. As a kid, I used to wonder how she could serve so many guests even when she was unwell. She would never let her smile disappear from her face. This made her unique in my eyes. Impatient as my dad was, she was always beside him. I have never seen her losing her temper over trivial issues. I grew up with the belief that my mother had a magical wand that she used to wave to turn every negative into a positive. I was daddy’s girl in many ways. I was short on patience and tended to react to everything. My mom took this raw material and turned me into a mature, responsible person. She taught me to be strong in the face of trouble. She taught me to respect myself as a woman. Thanks, mom. Thanks for everything. Rashimita Mishra via email God in my house Mother continues to smile as she deals with her cancer It has been rightly said that it is because God can’t be present everywhere that he creates mothers. It is through mothers that we feel His presence everywhere. If I were to express in one word what I learnt from my Ma the word would be ‘life’. She taught me how to live my life with optimism, faith and to never ever forget to smile. Good times, bad times, all times – we were taught to never forget to smile. She exemplified what she preached. She smiled as she battled cancer. She stood like a wall and held our family together when our family-owned showroom got sealed and my father lost all his income. It takes great faith in God to bear such a tragedy. She faced it all and we saw that it was her unwavering faith in God that kept us from breaking. It was her tremendous shakti that ensured that our material conditions did not come in the way of gaining an education. Thank you, God, for blessing me with a great mom. Bless her with good health and please help her heal completely. Monika Sakhuja, via email A sublime life In childhood I knew my mother as a single parent, my father having deserted his family which comprised my mother, older brother, elder sister and myself. Raised in poor rural Guyana, she was illiterate but knew the value of education and made numerous sacrifices to educate her children so that they could achieve a better life than she had. Her belief in the potential of education was summarised in her oft-repeated assertion that if she had education she would show the politicians how to run the country. I learnt from my mother to never despair; to be positive even in the face of daunting adversity. I experienced her inner strength. I was amazed by her determination to achieve objectives for her family. Above all, I knew and experienced the power of her pure love and unqualified support. Despite my own good fortunes, I find it difficult to emulate her inherent goodness and greatness. Nowrang Persaud, Guyana Rock of ages My mom ingrained in me a very basic fact that education is important to be a good human being (other factors keeping constant.) Mom, how can I forget that despite your timid nature, you stood like a rock against the views of a small town and the joint family system, to send me to a boarding school! It made all the difference in my life. Mom, it is you who taught me to have patience in all situations, not by preaching but by actually practising it. A good mother is the best gift any child can have and I am immensely lucky to be among the gifted ones. Vishakha Shroff, Delhi-110007 Wonder woman My mother: Patient, efficient, strong, resourceful, intelligent and profoundly wise. My spiritual awareness began at her feet in early childhood as I heard her read aloud the Bhagavad Gita, recite the meaningful kathas and sing the soothing bhajans that have anchored and sustained me through life. She could convey life’s profoundest lessons in just a few words. Two of the many values she imbibed in me are humility and the ability to meet every adversity head on. Once, I was gloating about winning a contest in school and the high praise I had received from one and all. ‘I was the best…!’ I boasted. She heard me out, then looked at me with compassion and gently said: ‘Itna ghamand achha nahin, beta.’ (It is not good to be so proud, my child.) Twnety-six years after her death her spiritual presence continues to embrace and keep me grounded. I salute you, Ma! Ayesha Chopra, New York My three mothers My mother is very beautiful. She is talented, articulate, friendly, sophisticated, and well dressed. My grandmother was the quintessential woman, humble, honest, and virtuous. I have always conceived of her as being great. My mother-in-law is down to earth, comfortable in her skin, undemanding, flexible, cheerful, and amicable. From my mother I learnt the art of dressing, of being polite and many arts and crafts including cooking. From my grandmother I learnt affection, love, responsibility; to take care of my younger sister and brother, and never to give up hope. From my mother-in-law I have imbibed flexibility, an easy going and magnanimous nature. Mother, grandmother and mother-in-law: all are very powerful transforming agents in societies. Kanchana Ravvi Kumarr, via email
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