The Best Gifts From The Bold Lady.
I hang up the call and sat there, while millions of thoughts ran across my head. What did he just say? "I'm sorry but she had to be put back on the ventilator". But why? She was doing fine yesterday on the oxygen mask. Why is this happening? I closed my eyes. I saw her face. I sensed her smile. I heard her saying, "Don't worry about me. I'm totally fine". I un-frowned, I smiled and took a deep breath. After seeing her through my mind's eye, after recollecting what she said over the video call the day before, I haven't felt distressed any longer. She is my therapist. Yes, the lady who has been lying there on the hospital bed for the last 25 days, is my therapist herself. She has been my therapist for all the 29 years of my life.
"My daughter is my resposibility. I will educate her and mould her into a good human being" - She told herself and to people around her when she had to suffer a separation from her husband. That single mother has never told me anything all my growing up years about what life is, about the code of conduct, about confidence, about being self-reliant - in fact, she "showed" me all of being that. I grew up "just watching her do". I grew up seeing her starting her day at 5am, teach subjects to children at home and at school, come back home to teach music, finish household chores and end the day at 11pm only to wake up at 4am. I grew up watching her keep "unwanted people" away from me, not by protecting me but by educating me on how to protect myself. I grew up watching her manage multiple tasks singlehandedly asking for no one's help. I don't remember anyone asking me the whereabouts of my father ever. May be, "No one dared to". I still remember how I learnt doing every single work right from travelling alone to filling in the application forms, taking bank drafts etc. all by myself. She never helped me. Even if it was the first time, she said, "Start doing it, you will learn it by yourself". I felt annoyed many times looking at others and felt jealous about how they were helped in everything by their parents. But today, I'm proud. I'm thankful that she just "facilitated" me and never "did" anything on my behalf.
When I have not done the homework and asked her to speak to my teacher, she said, "Not finishing the work is a mistake. There is no genuine reason behind this. So, accept the mistake in front of your teacher and take the punishment. Remember not to repeat it." That incident is still ringing in my head and I eventually learnt that mistakes are to be corrected and are not to be repeated again. When someone harassed me in my teenage years and I sat crying the whole day giving away with my studies and playtime, she said, "The one who made the mistake must have spent his day well. But you have spoiled your whole day. When there is something wrong happening to you or around you, even if you aren't able to fight it, at least 'voice' it out. Raise your voice and see how it works". I cannot even put in words how many times since then, I could defend myself. If I should mention incidents like these, there are hundreds of them.
The lady who always looked ferocious and bold, also showed the 'kind' side of her many times. When two girls studying in her school lost their father in an accident and their mother decided to marry them off, she took the responsibility of continuing their education. She paid for them and made them self-sufficient. She never saved money for my marriage, she never saved money to buy me gold because "I'm a girl". She just focussed on giving me good education along with making me proficient in all the activities I showed interest in. Today, even if I am left alone in life, even if I have to start from square one, even if I lose everything what I have earned; I will not be dejected. I know that I have many other doors open to me, if one is closed. I have also learnt how to "grow collectively" with people around me. I realized how privileged I am and I try to put in efforts to make way for the less fortunate.
She taught me how to be brave and strong yet kind, loving and compassionate. I still wonder how she never complained of a headache, fever or anything! The zeal to cater to me kept her healthy all the way. Even now, when she is suffering from severe covid pneumonia, she is the same. She always took one task at a time and finished it without letting multiple thoughts disturb her peace. Even now, I'm sure she will handle this with the same willpower and come back to me. When doctors are doing their best and when my brave lady is so positive, why do I have to feel anxious?
Well, to all those who 'fear', this is your takeaway from my 65-year-old mom. "Most of the times, fear emerges out of 'imagination'. When you are afraid, please ask yourself, if you are really in trouble or you are imagining it. If you are in trouble, sit and think about what can be done, take help and things will get sorted. If it is your imagination, I don't have to tell you anything but 'stop imagining'. Life is meant to live and not to be depressed about always". Well, saying it is easy but again, life becomes difficult if we don't make efforts to practice it.