Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Ten things I learnt from my mother... a tribute on her 75th birthday!

My mother turns a glorious 75 today and this is a tribute to her spirit. We never get to choose our parents, but we do choose to understand, accept, admire, and respect them. In the last 35 years, I have gone through a journey of doing all of that with my mother! Here is a list of ten things I have learnt from her and will always carry with me all my life:

Open your heart

My mother is emotional to the core and her heart is a softy! Her heart has always been open to learning new things, questioning her own beliefs and embracing new ideas, and above all to helping and caring for people. All through my childhood, I have seen endless visitors drop by and never was anybody grudged and neither did anybody leave without food in their stomach! This open-hearted nature brought her many friends, some opportunist and some genuine, and yet her bitter sweet experiences never biased her.

Strengthen your mind
My mother, being the first girl in the family to study for a Master's Degree, always cherished the opportunity. She sincerely worked day and night to nurture her intellect and thereby topped her course by becoming a Gold Medalist at Jadavpur University, Kolkata! This saga continued once she met my father, an intellectual, historian and author, with whom she continued this journey of learning. I learnt that there is no end to learning and no age for learning either, pretty early in life.

Work diligently
My memories of my childhood are filled with my mother being busy... forever busy! At 75, nothing much has changed... she still continues to be forever busy! An amazing worker, who once determined, would see her objectives to fruition with a zeal so rare these days. Hard working, be it through her days at Loreto College, checking papers of students from other universities, starting a creche at home or manufacturing jams and squashes, whatever she does, she puts in her 100%. This diligence has not only paid her off well, but has kept her young and healthy!

Enjoy uninhibitedly

My mother loves to cook, drink, dance, watch movies and plays and travel to new places. In whatever she dipped her fingers, even work transformed to enjoyment. With this spirit, I grew up with lots of social evenings at home, be it my father's literary friends, or my special birthday celebrations, these are memories etched in my mind and heart. She taught me, that amid the hardest of circumstances, it is important to enjoy life, uninhibitedly. I still remember her taking me out for a tour of our neighbourhood one rainy afternoon through waterlogged streets, just to feel the exhilaration of a Kolkata monsoon! I also remember how special she made my birthdays by serving me special lunch on silverware and baking my delicious birthday cakes at home! She taught me the mantra of work hard, party hard, even before it became a catch phrase!

Respect women 

My mother was fortunate in her times to grow up and encounter strong women. Be it my mother's mother or my father's mother, two exceptionally strong and independent women of their times, or her boss at college, she admired and revelled in her womanhood. She always taught me the importance of respecting and caring for women... a quality which I imbibed over the years of maturing into an adult. She played a pivotal role not only in my upbringing, but also in our family, its handling and management, thereby, exemplifying the power of a woman in a family. 

Be forever youthful
In her youth, my mother was known for her beauty and the length of her hair! She was aptly called Kapalkundala by her friends and inspired many love poems by my father. Now, though the length of her hair may have drastically shortened, it is impossible to guess her age, not only because of all the wonders Oriflame has worked on her face and skin, but also seeing her energy levels and her zest for life! At 75, she is still youthful at heart, which keeps her younger and glowing. Her active and hands on approach to life, helps her continue to strive and add value to other people's lives, not regarding her weak knees! I hope that at her age, I will be half as fit and active!

Meet challenges head on

My mother is fearless! She has always braved whatever challenge life has thrown at her, never giving in to self pity or remorse. Be it work related, financial or dealing with family crises, she wasted no time in getting down to problem solving and fire fighting. There was not even a second when I remember her getting daunted or overwhelmed. A fighter at heart, she would be soon ready with an action plan and get on with fighting the bull by its horns. Not surprisingly, most of the times she would emerge victorious! A spirit to deal with life's good and bad and not escape the situation, is something I learnt by observing her deal with the vagaries of life! 

Never give up
Her fearless character was further blessed with her perseverant nature. This not only helped her tackle difficult situations, but her undying positive approach, sometimes even foolish, made her stronger than others, as she refused to let any situation get the better of her. In modern times, we see so many of us give in to so much stress in our lives and yet I saw my mother cope with all the pressures of her life with a belief that it would be resolved and that she had the power to do so! This self empowering nature is something I have always tried to imbibe, as it was an inherent quality in her which further got nurtured through her practice of Buddhism.

Count your blessings
Like everybody else, my mother too has seen a lot of good times and a lot of bad times! But through it all she taught me one thing... always to count our blessings. She had learnt it from her mother to always look at people around us, when we felt that we were in the worst possible situation. A never-say-die positive spirit actually held her in good stead through many trials, which women from her generation or of her age would not been have been able to brave and emerge victorious! A sense of humility and a sense of gratitude was ever present in my upbringing and I hope I am able to inculcate the same in my daughter.

Have faith

Everything above boils down to a five letter word 'faith'! My mother has always been guided by her strong instincts, supported by her hard working spirit and never defeated by her attitude to life. At the core of her personality is faith... in the goodness of life and people, in fairness and justice, in the powers of the Universe and above all in the strength latent in all of us. I have seen her apply all these ideas into practice, during major hardships and rising above them. I always admired this in her and was happy to see this manifest itself in a more channelised way when she embraced Buddhism more than a decade back. Her faith has brought our family together and I am sure, will bring in many more blessings into all our lives.

As I sat down to reflect, a longer list of things is already churning in my mind. I have not elaborated on evidences to support my thoughts, as many of them are painful and personal. But, through it all, I have realised the gift that only mothers can share with their children. Here is wishing you many more glorious such years ahead on your 75th birthday!

P.S. This post is in green, my mom's favourite colour! :D


Anonymous said...

An amazing post - emotional, touching and inspiring others... Your mom also reminds me of my mom and s few other moms I know... there's something strange that the Almight gifts to some Moms to make them so special... Wishing her with all my love...

Anonymous said...

Wow! I loved all the qualities and it inspires me too!
Would love to meet ur mom

Subhorup Dasgupta said...

happy birthday, ma, and hats off, abhimanyu, it was wonderful reading your tribute...

Between life's doings said...

How deeply adorable is this!! Happy birthday to your momma and your journey with her!

What a great name for a blog! Buddha Bar! I am totally pinning this and coming back for more :-)

conversingwiththebuddha said...

Thank you all for your comments and wishes! :D My mom still doesn't know about the post... as she is holidaying in Shantiniketan! Waiting for her response. :p

mom said...

tipu dear just now read your post .overwhelmed . so many memories tumbled out . but is that me ?. I was surprised to find so much of courage and strength in me.Glad that u learnt so many gd and bd things from me . I had quite forgotten that walk through the rain with u only wearing your shortest shorts and me fully clad in sari et all.but there is one factual mistake . I got the gold medal for standing first in the first class not in presidency college but in Jadavpur university . Can that be corrected?

Chandreyee said...

My otherwise rude on the surface, grumpy OCD husband- I LOVE YOU!!!!!!! Love all the love your heart is capable of to be able to rise above your past and write this.

rahul aggarwal said...

wow .. all the points so well put up .. such an inspirational post ..

Belated birthday wishes auntie !