Friday, June 12, 2009

My Mother

- By Janaki Krishnan

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.

12 comments:

Anju said...

what a lovely piece. thanks for writing it. i often think of radhamma, and her sweet and gentle ways. you have captured her perfectly.

Deepa Krishnan said...

It is like an unending song, Anju...As my grandmother taught my mother, so my mother teaches me, and so I teach my daughter. The legacy goes on. People don't die, they live on, in the memories of their children, and the song continues.

I often think that in countries which have lost these songs, life is very arid indeed.

Mallya said...

Excellent post. Reminded me so much of my mother. They lived their life so simple.

- Mallya

Vandita Pant said...

Dear aunty,

What a beautiful piece..this simple tribute to your mother reminded me of my grandma, who passed away two years back. I learnt a lot from her, as you said the mothers/ grandmothers teach without 'telling you so' but by just 'being what they are'...and I know how we (Deepa, Roopa, I and many others) are trying everyday to inculcate the things that we have learnt about 'being and life' from our respective mums to our kids....Thank God for creating mums!

Sowmya said...

Really liked the blog. When I think about it I have absorbed so many traits from my Mom. Good parenting advice too - simple and vital - to be a good role model to our kids....

Ravi Raman said...

Do what you expect your children to do? - How simple and true.

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Anonymous said...

"Nalla buddhi taranamey" means "give me wisdom", not "let me discriminate between right and wrong"

Deepa Krishnan said...

Yes, Anon, however there are some families which understand the underlying philosophy differently, and this is our interpretation of the phrase. A richer meaning perhaps, than just wisdom?

- Deepa

Ravi Ramakantan said...

That sure did stir something deep in me!

Archana said...

Just happened to chance across this blog, and I have to say this is such a beautiful concept. Three generations of women all in one blog is lovely!

Secondly, this post is fantastic. It is true that what a child sees his/her mother do, resonates in their personality. Very beautifully written & something I'm off to go share with my mother over a cup of chai. :)

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful piece about your mother, you have written. Reminds me of my beloved patti (who is no longer with us) in so many ways. "She believed that a righteous life, performing ones duties towards family and society was all that was necessary to please God." - is just beautiful.