Is my mother my biggest inspiration, yes no doubt she is. And I think that’s probably true for most of you too. Given that you are reading this, I am assuming you are already a mum or dad and you have seen a surge in respect for your own mother after your child was born. But the reason I am writing this is different. Today I am feeling very nostalgic thinking about my childhood days. My paternal house, the familiarity of my hometown and my grandmaa who is no more!
To be true to myself, I wouldn’t say I have only fond memories of her. But today when she is no more, I can think of only the loving moments that we shared together.
I don’t know the exact year of her birth but it must have been about a decade before Independence. She was extremely proud to have received a silver medallion for having completed middle school. Remember we are talking about the 1930s and she was rewarded for being the only girl in the district to have reached that level. All 18 of us, the grandchildren looked upto her, every time she narrated this story. Today I want to thank her for being that inspiration that showed us the path to rise above average.
Bringing up 8 children with my grandpaa as a freedom fighter was no mean feat. Goes without saying she did a wonderful job. She faced many medical difficulties related to her children but she was able to manage it all. Her sons graduated as engineers and doctors receiving many prestigious scholarships. I learnt resilience from her.
The never-say-die attitude, is the biggest gift she gave to my father and then to me. I stayed with her in my early years as my parents were transferred to a remote location. Though she could read Hindi very fluently, English was still difficult. So she would sit down with my convent’s teacher, get my nursery rhymes written word-to-word in Hindi in a notebook and then help me memorize them. Today when I juggle between various tasks while raising my two fast growing kids, I do have my hands very full, and I do struggle a lot of time. But then it is this never-say-die attitude which I have inherited keeps me cheerful and on my toes.
I remember her buying mangoes for me, the moment it hit the market. She knew mangoes were my favorite fruit so she bought them only for me, despite its high price. Like any other child, I was a fussy eater. So she camouflaged the dal-rice-sabji as Pulao and cleverly got me to mop it all down. Mind you, she did NOT leave me to go hungry, “jab bhookh lage to kha lena”. Despite her age and limited modes of entertainment, she made every effort to feed me on time, not once but thrice in the day.
During my pre-board exams, she was co-incidentally visiting us. One morning, I woke up to realize that she was massaging my legs. It was actually at the break of dawn. She lovingly said, I was tossing and turning in the bed. So she thought her massage would calm me down and I will get good rest. Even then she cared for me as if I was just a baby and she wanted nothing less than what was best for me.
I am almost in tears now, I don’t think I can write any more. I want to thank you today Dadi. I don’t think I said this while you were still alive. I want to thank you for who I am today, what my kids will be tomorrow.
#HappyGrandParentsDay everyone. #LoveJatao while they are still around because one day they may not be.