At school, there are classes where we sit enraptured, mostly because it is taught by our favourite teacher, some subjects where we force ourselves to sit and focus because they are deemed necessary for the future. And there are classes where we studied subjects that are mildly fascinating and catches our attention for a few chapters but eventually fade away as they get complex. For me, that subject was biology. One of the experiments that held my attention was the lifecycle of a plant and a phenomenon called “Phototropism!”
It is the process where a plant reaches out and bends towards the direction of sunlight, and the standard example is where they have a potted plant lying down horizontally, and the plant would bend a ninety degree to grow towards the sunshine, and that little plant is etched in memory.
As I sit here, penning down my last article of the series, that plant kept coming back to my memory. Aren’t we all like that plant? Leaning and bending towards people, who shower us with unconditional love, who is the undepletable source of our positivity and who gives us immense joy every time we seek them, and one of them invariably ends up being our mother. In my case, I am doubly blessed as I have my mother-in-law in that list too. And this entire series is a tribute to these two truly inspiring women. Let’s start the tale with my mother, shall we?
Like many little girls, growing up I was daddy's little princess, and he used to call me Princess Diana as I totted her hair cut which was all the rage back then. I did everything with my father, and my brother was the one closer to my mother. All I had in my mind about my mom is that she is a strict woman, who wouldn't hesitate to box my ears if I slipped in my marks. Slowly blossoming into womanhood, every one of those moments I hated her, came back painted in a different view, in a zoomed-out view of the microscope, finally showing me the bigger picture. I wouldn't be the woman I am today if my mom hadn't been who she was. She was, like many middle class women in our society, who barely slept, who took care of her children, who made sure there were meals on the table three times a day, who took care of every house chore one could imagine single-handedly, who would turn up in all the parents-teachers meet, who did a secret background check of her children's friends, their bags and their personal diaries, who could sniff anything even slightly off with the member of the family and do it all while also running a shop part-time.
To be so many things at once, to be the sun that the family revolves around, one needs to be immensely brave. And my all that and more. Ever imagine taking up a full-time job during the age and time where people finally decide to settle down calm and retire? My mom, for the most part, was a stay at home woman, who looked after our shop from 11AM to 6PM while my dad went out for his office work. She stopped after a while when my father decided to take up the shop full time. A few years back, our whole world came crashing on us when we came to know about our financial situation and the many debts we had. That moment she took on to wear a mantle that I would admire for the rest of my life. She took up a full-time job, working under someone after a gap of twenty long years. She never complained about the cruel twist of fate but started looking at solutions and taking efforts to make us all move on and past that. It was one of the most challenging phases of my life, but her silent strength and her long breath of acceptance every morning inspired me to work hard towards life in general and not give up. My mom is not big on advice, she taught me a lot by example. I owe it all to her, for she is a fantastic gift to be loved, honoured, cherished and celebrated for the rest of my life!
The Other Mother:
I remember meeting my husband’s mother ten years back. She had such a cheerful and welcoming smile that I think I fell in love with her even before I did with her wonderful son. She works as a librarian in the Income Tax Department's office in Chennai, and I have never seen such a committed woman who respects and loves her job as she does. She is a person who is affected by Cerebral Palsy from birth which had affected her motor nerves making her legs progressively worse over the years. She cannot walk even short distances without someone helping her out or leaning on a wall. Going to work is a challenge, as must get down from her van (which she climbs into with much effort every day) and walk to her office building, by crossing the ever busy Nungambakkam road. But I have never sigh or had a dull moment while she gets ready for work. For she's been doing it religiously for twenty-five years now, her finish line is close, she just a couple more years to successfully complete her service and retire. But she has no intention of stopping there. She wants to teach at a day-care center after retirement, wanting to teach and care for children with special needs as she had done, in the early stages of her career, before she signed up to serve as a Government employee. She loves travelling and meeting people, and she's always geared up for an enjoyable bike ride with her beloved husband. She has by example, taught me to laugh at my difficulties and to enjoy the smallest things in life with all the zeal you could possibly feel. She's an instant mood lifter with her ever cheerful smile that tactically hides the grit of iron and that ferocious streak of tenacity. She is taciturn when it comes to her pains (and I have seen her go through a lot of them) and asks with a hopeful smile if you had eaten something, even if she's lying down in her hospital bed. She is strong, determined, empowered, jovial, lovely and so much more.
As I finish this ode, I can only pray a few more healthy and happy years to share and cherish these amazing ladies of my life. I started this series to practice writing more, but from the first ever episode, this has been a rather intense and life-changing experience for me. In the last forty odd days, I've learned to laugh more, to live full, to work hard, to play harder, to love deeply and to be more! And I hope this had been a pleasant experience for you too!
It’s time to call a wrap on this series, but don’t fret, there’s plenty more coming your way, until then, this is Krupa signing off!