Read #1 book on Hinduism and enhance your understanding of ancient Indian history.
Read #1 book on Hinduism and enhance your understanding of ancient Indian history.

Sujatha Rao

Drama Inspirational Others


Sujatha Rao

Drama Inspirational Others

A Mother Unlike Any Other

A Mother Unlike Any Other

5 mins 131 5 mins 131

Srija was lost in thought. Every Mother’s Day brought back the memories of her mother Shambhavi whom she had lost five years back. Remembering her mother always put a smile on her face. She knew her mother was not like any of the other mothers she had observed from close quarters in her life.

In a way Shambhavi was a bundle of contrasts. Her diminutive frame of the body, and the plain Jane kind of looks belied the strong, resilient spirit that lay within, that had served Shambhavi and her family well through a life of rigorous toil and multitude of hardships. Srija was aware the struggle behind the rags-to-riches story of her parents. 

Over a period, Srija had come to understand that hidden behind that harsh and almost uncaring attitude Shambhavi put up for the world, there was a very caring and brave human being. But it took a long time for Srija to get to know her own mother, who defied all stereotypes, better. That’s partly because all through her childhood, Srija got to experience those confusing mixed signals about her parents.

Srija’s parents never visited the schools or colleges their four children studied in, with their admissions into them having been taken care by people who were acquaintances or at times outright strangers. Both the parents Srija would bet, would give wrong answers if they were to be suddenly asked in which class each of their children were in, at any given point of time.

But at the same time, Srija’s parents made sure that their children had a good tutor for private tuitions at home. In spite of both of the parents not being highly educated, they were very fond of reading and the children grew up in an atmosphere where everyone spent some part of the day reading.

Both the parents also believed the adage ‘spare the rod and spoil the child’ and hence the rod or the equivalent of one was used quite freely in their house for punishment of any sort.

Despite Srija being the only daughter, Shambhavi always kept Srija very busy with all the household work without the help of any maids at home, quoting that ‘an idle person’s brain is a devil’s workshop’. At times, Srija drew solace from the empathetic neighbours who always took Srija’s side in any kind of argument and often chided Shambhavi for being a very strict disciplinarian.

In her nascent years, all these things led to Srija feeling that her parents didn’t love their children as much as the parents of her friends loved their children. But it was Srija’s casual conversation with her uncle Ram, which had almost broken her heart.

“Do you know I was one of the first persons to see you after your birth - that is even before your father did?” Uncle Ram had asked out of the blue during one of his extremely rare visits to their house one day.

“What?” a dumbstruck Srija asked.

“Your mother was all alone at the time of your birth as your father was away on some work. Sensing that you were about to pop out, your mother made loud noises banging a metal spoon over a plate in the early morning. Hearing that, the neighbourhood lady dropped in. She was aghast and all thumbs when she found you lying next to your mother howling away to glory.”

At this point, Ram chuckled away loudly. But Srija found it the least amusing.

Continuing his narration, Uncle Ram said “A local midwife was summoned immediately. On her arrival, she took care of the other things.”

By then Srija’s mind had gone numb and she hardly heard what her Uncle was saying. This revelation, for her, felt like the ultimate proof of her parents’ apathy towards their own children.

It was only when Srija became a mother of a daughter in a nursing home, decades later, amidst a lot of caring people including her parents, who were anxiously waiting for the good news with bated breath, did she realize how brave and undemanding her mother had actually been.

She realized that despite her mother not having help of any kind, she had held her literally ground and made her daughter’s entry into the world possible. Though her mother was deprived of her right to have caring people around her in her hour of need, she wholeheartedly took on the responsibility of seeing to it that her child was safe. Throughout her life of 80 plus years, Srija didn’t hear her mother passing on the blame to anyone.

When she became a mother herself, Srija realized that in that moment of her own entry into the world, her mother had taught her the biggest lesson of life, of self sufficiency and survival with a positive bent of mind.

Srija felt her mother fully lived the meaning of the following words of Khalil Gibran though she had never read them:

     “Your children are not your children.

,     They are the sons and daughters of life’s longing for itself!

      They come through you but not from you.

,     You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth."

Srija realized that Shambhavi derived pure joy untainted by expectations of any kind in letting life come through her. In doing so, Srija knew she passed on a very valuable legacy to her - the spirit of passing on lessons by living them and not by simply preaching them.

This is a true story with certain names changed, and it is being submitted on the Mother’s Day, in celebration of all the mothers out there.

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