It is Mother's Day today. The morning newspaper is full of pictures of celebrities proclaiming their mothers' role in their lives.
At the Oscar awards this year, A. R. Rahman, while accepting his award, declared that he owed it to his mother and to God. 'My mother is here with me today', he said joyously.
Whenever I hear these kind of things, I remember my mother. Although she is no more, I feel that my mother still lives with me every moment of my life, in my thoughts, words and deeds.
She was a workaholic who spent her entire life in the kitchen ungrudgingly, ever ready to offer a cup of coffee, a crisp dosa, or tasty home-made snacks, to whoever came into the house. But even as she did her chores, she passed on her moral, spiritual and ethical ideas to us children.
Unlike other ladies of her generation, she was neither orthodox nor religious. She never observed any fasts, nor was she a regular visitor to temples. On festival days she would take us to the temple, but for her, the home was her temple. She had a picture of God on a small wooden stand in the kitchen, where she would light a lamp in the evening. She would make us children say "Swamee, Nalla Buddhi Taranamey" (Lord, give us the power to discriminate between right and wrong).
She believed that a righteous life, performing ones duties towards family and society was all that was necessary to please God. She had tremendous control over her desires, whether it was food, sarees, jewellery or other comforts. She ate very simple food, and had a limited wardrobe, and minimal jewellery. She had the habit of saving, out of which she made a gold chain or a pair of bangles for my sister and me.
I have a long list of attributes for my mother - soft-soken, neatly dressed, lending a helping hand to the poor and needy, bravely facing odds...she had a detatched attachment, and an all embracing endearing look. She was not highly educated - her schooling stopped at standard eight, but she was a living example of sterling qualities.
Motherhood as I understood from her, is 'Practise what you preach.' Do what you expect your children to do. When your children watch you day in and day out, your qualities get passed on to them unconsciously.