Saturday, March 19, 2011

My mother, my mentor.

I really did not want to write anything on women’s day. It was quite depressing to learn of a college student being gunned down point blank and of a newly wed daughter in law running away with the valuables in her husband’s home both events taking place on 8th March- the international women’s day. Why we get to hear of such extremes, I wonder. I mean according to Hating Women - a book by Rabbi Boteach “Together, men and women working can usher in a golden age of feminine awe and magic. Together, we can create a softer, gentler and brighter world illuminated with the light and warmth of the nurturer.” And I quite agree with this view. I don’t really subscribe to the view that since men have had the upper hand for centuries, we women need to get back by doing the very things that men did to prove their superiority. Women need to carry themselves with dignity and command respect.

Having said that I wish to give an example of a woman who inspired me. I don’t think she ever heard about women’s day and other such special days that one hears of these days. Yet to my mind she is one who is an inspiration not only to me but to all who have ever been associated with her.

She was visually challenged and had to drop out of school at the age of eight for fear of damaging whatever little vision she had. Initially it was not too bad. She continued to learn at home by listening to her younger sisters prepare for their examination. She would do some embroidery and tatting during her free time. Her father had tutors teach her English and Hindi and finally she married a doctor and left home. Her married life was not the best in the world – it had its ups and downs – and finally it came to an abrupt end with her husband’s untimely demise.

Then began the daunting task of raising two pre - school children and getting her daughters married. As far as she was concerned, her past was a closed chapter. It did not matter that her husband’s brothers chose to stay away from her life and were never available for guidance or advice. It did not matter that it was hard to plan for good education to her sons on the pension amount she received. But she did dream of a good career for them and hoped to marry off her daughters to men who would be responsible and hard working. In her own quiet way she did achieve what she wanted to. One never heard her complain about not having enough. One never heard her blame her stars for her fate or accuse her brothers in law of not being supportive. One could never understand if she ever longed to have a few more sarees in her wardrobe or if she ever wanted to replace her worn out gold chain with a new one if and when possible. She simply did not have time to waste on trivialities. Her sons grew up without knowing as to how her life as a doctor’s wife might have been. They had always known her to be a quiet and unassuming person who did not even have to raise her voice to discipline them. Her silence said it all. They would try their best to rise up to her expectation. It was this unassuming attitude that enabled her share the roof with her brother’s family till the daughters got married and the youngest of her sons took up a job after which she relocated to the place where her sons worked.

She was more than adequately rewarded for her efforts. Her last days were spent amid her sons, daughters in law and grand children and with the satisfaction of seeing her children well settled.

I’ve always considered her to be an achiever. People attribute her success story to many things. Her brother’s support for one and her children’s intelligence that won them scholarships for another. True, these have been promoting factors but no brother would support a sister who made life miserable for his wife and family. I cannot think of spending a life time with my children, let alone my brothers. I am sure to feel miserable in any set up other than my own. And a child’s intelligence has to be channelized in the right direction or else an intelligent child can be more of a pain than the average one. Finally people consider her to be plain lucky with a merciful God showering his blessings on her. They forget that she was unlucky to be born with weak eyesight and to lose her husband’s support early in life.

I cannot hope to ever be the person my mother was. But that does not stop me from admiring her for the person she happened to be.


Ardra said...

Indeed an admirable, inspiring woman.And what a daughter she has brought up too! Salutations to two Magnificent women!

Ugich Konitari said...


They dont make them like that anymore. My namaskars to your mother's memory. And I am so happy we were able to learn about her through this post. Such a great inspiration ! Would have loved to meet her !

hillgrandmom said...

What a wonderful, loving tribute to your mother. She sounds a really brave, gutsy woman. You must miss her a lot.

Dee said...

I admire whatever I have learned about your dear mother from this post! Those were special women, I must say! So hard to emulate! So rare!

Tys on Ice said...


Truely one of the giant among give up your life for another is something which none of my logic based fundas cannot comprehend...yet it happens...if that is not inspiring, i dont know what is.

happy woman's i glad we are not alone in this mess.

dr.antony said...

"God could not be everywhere and therefore he made mothers." - Jewish proverb.

It is indeed a touching tribute.Both of you were lucky to have each other in life.And nice to know your mother.Do you remember the story I wrote to you once on a mother?

R's Mom said...

Wow HHG...what an admirable woman! loved the post...

Hip Grandma said...

Hi all,
thanks for your responses. My mother was a rare human being with a soft temperament and a strong mind. It is 10 years since she passed on but her memory still prevails and we think twice before complaining about things that she would have called trivialities. After what she went through our minor irritants were of no consequence to her. i recall complaining to her that my husband was a mamma's boy and consulted her on everything. She responded in her own unique manner saying-

"He has been brought up to respect the opinion of his mother. He will continue to do this even when his mother passes away. He will consult you on matter of importance. I don't think that this ought to be a cause for complaint. As long as your MIL does not mislead him there should be no reason for you to worry."

Her words were prophetic and I am glad she was right. She, in her quiet way taught me to respect my MIL too.

The Inquisitive Akka said...

What a lovely, lovely tribute your mother!She was amazing!
I feel the way you feel- I can never be like my mother. But nowadays I always think- "what would amma have done?", its helped me make several right decisions I think.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful tribute to your mother. She must be such a great personality. She must have had amazing will power to take things in her stride and move on with positivity.

Several years ago, my mother fell down and injured her knee. Few people were quick to advise her to give up work and commute on wheel chair. She is a doctor. She did not pay attention to them and continues to practice at our hospital. Her amazing will power and positive thinking keeps her going. Watching her face challenges and resolve them successfully at different stages of life helped us realize the importance of will power, positivity, and financial independence.
I should also mention about my aunt, my mother's younger sister here. Her younger daughter is mentally challenged. Instead of brooding and being depressed about the situation, she opened a school for such children. It has now branched into three schools and few children hailing from these schools have been hired by binders,machine assembling units etc. Once when a cousing was depressed for some reason she said "Dear, your problem can be solved. look at me. I know my problem cannot be solved and the future of my daughter is uncertain. Yet, I remain happy and positive. If I can remain happy in such a situation which I face everyday, why cant you all remain happy at all times?" These words etched in my mind.
Kudos to all ladies who have amazing will power, tremendous positivity and the determination to move on in life against all odds.

Sandhya said...

I just posted a comment under "Anonymous". For some reason, I was unable to post the comment using my google id. I tried several times but got a message "response denied".


Hip Grandma said...

IQA:I am sure your mother was a wonderful person. i remember your post on her and felt sorry for not having known her in person.Mothers are indeed unique.Their influence lasts even after they are no more. I can sense it and it must have been the same for you too.

sandhya:It feels greaet to know about people like your mpther and aunt. their attitude has a positive influence on those around them.

dipali said...

What a wonderful woman she was!
I salute her memory.

tassu said...

The lady in the example was your mother?I am quite inspired and have learned definitely something after reading your post.Patience and gratitude is all one need to have successful life.It's off course easier said than done.

Dotm said...

Hi Hip Grandma, After reading your nice write up on Facebook, I came here to your Blog to read more. Very happy we are friends still. Hugs, Dot xxx

Hip Grandma said...

Thank you Dot mom. I am glad to be your friend too. You have a lovely family. You should write posts about your interactions with them. Hugs and more hugs to you too.