Perhaps they are not stars but openings in heaven where our loved ones shine down to let us know they are happy!
Today, is a year since my mom passed away and honestly it still feels unreal. She flew away just before the world got crippled with the Covid-19 crisis. If someone were to tell her, what all has happened, I’m sure she would shake her head in disbelief.
She had not been in the best of health for a long time but she had always made it through. This time, though, it was different. When she passed away, I was 7 months pregnant and in a different country. I couldn’t say my goodbye.
And while I am still healing, I thought it appropriate to celebrate this amazing person, who brought smiles, laughter and strength wherever she went. Our true North Star!
My earliest memory of my mom is her singing. Her favourites being Que Sera Sera and Edelweiss (from the movie Sound of Music). She would also call me all sorts of loving (and sometimes embarrassing) pet names. Both of which I have inadvertently incorporated into my son’s life.
And while she had not been dealt a fair hand, she was always smiling and a pillar of strength for many of us. The centrifugal force around whom all three (dad, bro and me) of us revolved.
When I think of the kind of person and mother I am today, there is so much of her and what I have learnt from her:
- “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime – Mark Twain”: If I have anyone to blame for the travel bug in me, it’s her. Which she inculcated in us early on. She always, always ensured we went on our annual holidays. It was sacrosanct and not even my dad (who was always travelling for work) could avoid them. And we would look forward to this family time, exploring various nooks of India and countries close by. She strongly believed that travel opened your mind and no matter what the money situation, we always managed some beautiful place.
- Tiger Mom: And while she denied it vehemently, sometimes I did get the feeling that she had secretly been trained by Hitler himself – especially when I had to do my maths homework with her! It’s only thanks to her that I crammed hard for maths and ensured I did well in it.
- Live Strong: During her 20 odd years of struggle with kidney problems, I always saw her positive. She would have her off days, but she never let it get her down for long. Her strength to bounce back was amazing! She had this magical power to uplift people and their moods around her. The life of the party… people loved having her around.
- Express yourself: I think one thing we never did as a family was expressing our emotions. It’s quite normal right? We believe that the person knows and never land up saying it. And I will always regret never expressing the same to her. And while it’s difficult, I am slowly learning to express my feelings & emotions bit by bit.
- Be unapologetically you: As a woman, she taught me to care a damn! We are so bound sometimes by the restrictions and opinions of society that we tend to harm ourselves more by just listening to those voices. When I was going through a painful separation, all I could think of was what people would think. Her only words were “Do what you think is right and we will support you no matter what. We don’t care about what others think and nor should you.”
“No matter what” is so powerful. I learnt to spread my wings with these words. I learnt independence, I learnt to let go, I learnt to live on my own terms only because I knew she had my back!
And now that I am a mother, it’s these words that I always whisper to my child (don’t think he understands yet but nonetheless).
Thank you maa for being who are. You were a fearless warrior and I truly appreciate what you brought into my life. I miss having you around to just call and ask for simple cuisines or how the day went.
I’m sure you are in a better place making people dance to your tunes and singing old hindi songs.
Shine on my Rockstar! Shine on!