Mother's Day Special, 2020

Warrier's Daily Mail, May 10, 2020 : Mothers' Day Special Tribute (Guest Column*)

A. Mother's Day:

    Amma, where are you?*
More than any time in history, for the past few years much is written, even poems, on mothers and rich tributes are paid to her. But Amma, you never expected any return from us and  it was absolutely without any prateeksha (expectation).
 You had studied upto 3rd standard only. But you were a
genius. How can we forget the ease with which you were
able to solve the puzzles  and the most complicated
algebra problems with a chalk or black stone ( maakkal) on
the cemented floor of the cow shed in our village home?
Amma, all your days were spent in kitchen and grinding idli
batter for a large joint family of ours  in the manual grinding 
stone. Amma, you are no less than the brilliant
Ramanujam !  

Having lost your mother at the age of two,
you were  brought up by your mother’s mother, married
your own uncle  with the age difference of 15. Not a murmur.
You had always stood by the principle ‘problems that cannot
 be cured should  be endured’. Perhaps God wanted to test
whether you are able to stand by your principle. With Appa’s
single earning of Rs 120/ a month   ,you were able to run the
 family of more than a dozen.   With a simple cotton madisar saree and
yellow thread with two thin bangles,you stood richer than
any mother in knowledge, skills, temperament and culture.
You also shared your skill sets with us and we are what we
 are because of you Amma!
We have never seen you getting angry or using harsh words
 against  us, inspite of our being naughty. You were an
embodiment of patience! 
True, you too had incomparable joy on seeing your six
little darling daughters,their tender kicks with their little legs,
the joy of holding the soft little fingers,its great touch on
cheeks,the sleeping beauty of the babe-you never failed
 to enjoy and describe those feelings  to others in spite of
your heavy work in the kitchen and permeated joy
everywhere  setting aside all your worries for the moment.
Every one of us had our full share of love and affection from you.
Appa was the earning member. But you were the actual
 home maker, financial adviser. Whatever the problem be,
Appa would say , "Call Lakshmi”.
Having learnt the art of conducting safe delivery from your
Grandma cum mother-in-law, I cannot forget the times
when you were ready to help girls in delivery pangs even
at midnight and never hesitated to resume your regular
kitchen work next day.While seeking matrimonial alliance
 for each one us, you were the main guiding force behind
conducting all marriages with a simple style without
omitting essentials.

Amma,  your Kunja ladu, still lingers in my taste buds. You
did all the seer bhakshanams yourself during all the weddings.
I have never seen you in gorgeous Kancheepuram sarees.
Amma, though born in 1903,you taught us all to be brave,
 free from superstition. Your motto was’whenever we think
of doing a good thing,that time is the most auspicious ,
not withstanding it being rahu kalam or yama kantam.'
But this strong belief never deterred you  from being a
 staunch devotee and your  faith in  the Supreme,
never diminished. You  believed in karma
Your  talents in Fine arts cannot be undermined. The songs
composed by you for the Kolaatta jothra annual festival,
your  Meenakshi kalyana feast song elaborating more than
300 varieties of special items –still reverberate in my ears.
Not this alone.The  elegy( oppari) composed by you and
 sung by you in a characteristic style  on my husbands’s
grandfather’s death had many a request for a ‘Repeat’,
even on a mourning day.

Amma, how can I forget the soul crushing experience
you had  when you realised that one of our sisters was
not a normal child.
She was totally different from what all you imagined and
 you had  a different experience altogether.
She could not talk or walk.
Not an intelligent child that made you smile. After all you
too were a woman.You had initial
 anger, sorrow, denial and ’why me?’ feeling.
But Amma you easily came out of the web and felt that
there is a reason behind God’s Will. After all it was your child.
Soon all your negative emotions were replaced by positive
and hopeful ones. I still remember your words
”There is  no time to sit, think
 and worry.Time to act has  arrived.” What a grit and
determination, you had, Amma!
You gave her all the mental support inspite of scornful
remarks by neighbours.You made her do everything slowly
 in her own space giving her lot of encouragement.Every day
was an experience to you. Every failure was a challenge. If any method failed, you didn’t get dejected
 but switched over to the next step.
 You appreciated the simple upma she made, the aromatic
sambar and vathal  kuzhambu  she prepared setting aside
the single digit marks she  scored in Maths. Academic
 brilliance  could never be achieved,but  you made her
 stand on her own legs.She got married and begot
four children and was able to run her family.
What better achievement can there be for a mother!
Were you here, you would be proud to know that she is the
strongest among us and she could withstand any challenges with the same strength of mind which you have creditably passed on to her.
Amma, when I look back, I am reminded of  all your
 experiences in a big joint family with very limited resources.
Comparatively we are better placed academically and financially. With two children, I frankly admit that we are not as resourceful as you are, though we may attribute
hundreds of reasons as peer pressure, media challenges,
communication development and so on.
Amma, on this mother’s day, I offer  my humble pranaams
 to you for all the guidance you have given us.
My special thanks to you for making me understand
“A mother is not a person to lean on, but a person to
make leaning unnecessary”-Dorothy C Fisher.

*Tribute to her beloved mother received via Exrbites Group email from Smt Vathsala Jayaraman on Mothers' Day 2020. Quoted with assumed permission.
B. Nature's Most Peaceful Animals 

I loved this selection of peaceful animals. 
I don't know how much time you will need to name 10 living peaceful humans. That's where we are!

C. Current links:

1) Mother’s Day 2020 | HISTORY

I have observed my mother as a loving and loved daughter of my grandmother. She was third daughter and had a brother and two sisters younger to her. Still, I felt my grandmother trusted my mother more.
Due to some circumstances, a larger portion of my active childhood period was spent with my father. My mother distributed her care, love and affection among all the members of the large joint family, she was part of. My perception is, she didn't get back proportionate return for all her sacrifice.
Later in life, she was with us for 6 or 7 years.

2) When the cow came home

Actually, a milch cow became part of our family's belongings a few months after my birth. Those days, to take care of the nutritional needs of children in the family, rearing cow or goats was a preferred option.

D. A change in attitude is overdue:

Dear Reader,
Your comment on the article ' What a change of fate?' is now live on
last three months have seen more experiments and debates in the media on liquor than about preventive measures and developing medicines to fight the deadly virus.
a change in the attitude of, yes, we the people, is overdue.
To reply to this comment , or see the whole conversation, click here.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
 Team TOI


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