11 May-2014, Rahul Verma: In my faded memories of autumn of 1980, I remember visiting you in the hospital after school every day. One day Dad with wet eyes took me to the hospital early in the morning and asked me to touch your feet. I still remember you were sleeping in a white dress calmly with a smile. Next day when I asked Dad why we were not going to the hospital any more, he took me to the balcony and pointed towards a shining star in the sky and told me that she is your mom and she is watching you from the sky.
I always had a feeling that one day you will come back home. I don’t remember your face, your scent, the way you laughed or your smile, or the colour of your eyes. Every day I try to find you in a woman running ahead of her kid to catch a school bus or sometimes in a woman who awakes at midnight just to see her kids sleeping peacefully; sometimes in a dedicated wife, a sweet daughter, a kind-hearted sister and sometimes in a working woman returning home at 8pm and making dinner in 20 minutes flat.
I try to find you in a nurse working beyond her duty hours in a government hospital with full dedication. I try to find you in a primary-school teacher working in a remote village teaching rural kids and shaping the future of India. I try to find you in brave young girls who are no more known as victims but as survivors.
I saw you in a brave woman reporting from Kargil, I see you as an Iron Lady fasting for more than 500 weeks, a prisoner of conscience, who is being held solely for a peaceful expression of her beliefs.
I try to find you sometimes in a woman who is half asleep, half awake, half fed but giving full feed to her toddler; sometimes in an elderly woman who every day loses her wrinkles in a photo album with her picture as a young and bubbly girl.
Why do we always consider a woman to be a mother only when she has actually given birth to a baby? It’s not necessary that one should always have that motherly instinct only on becoming a mother. We should never forget that Mother Teresa failed this test even though her caring attitude, her love and affection for the people, for humanity gave her the status of mother of all. She had the motherly feeling for all those who needed her just like a mother has for its child.
This “mother” word has a vast meaning and you don’t have to have this feeling only on becoming a biological mother. We find her everywhere — in a nurse who looks after an ailing child in a paediatric ICU, or in a teacher who hugs and plays with a 4-year-old crying child, who is missing his mother, to make him happy. You will also find a mother in an “aya” who in the absence of a working mother cleans the soiling baby, feeds him and develops the feeling of motherly affection with the child. Now we can understand why God chose females to play the role of mother, they are more affectionate, patient, sympathetic, caring, ready to face all the challenges for a child.
But it is not like being a mother means being impractical, partial or not scolding the child for his or her misdeeds. I have seen the mother whose focus is not only to nurture a child but also to make him or her a good human being strong enough to face this tough world.
Maybe I was not lucky enough like other kids to take your help for searching out my socks, or to remove chewing gum off my hair. It is unusual but now I don’t regret that you were not there to listen to all kinds of interesting news about my mischief in the school or for sewing the missing button of my school shirt or to check my homework. I know you are not here but I have rediscovered you and today I see you in every woman whose love and bonding is not limited to her biological child and who cares for the entire society.
I find you in every woman who lives with courage and inspires thousands of people to make this world a better place and I see you in every mother who still has an inner child hidden somewhere inside her and who answers the greatest difficulty with silence and a smile. Happy Mother’s Day to all the caring and courageous women out there; I found my mom in you.
(Rahul Verma is founder of Uday Foundation — a grassroots nonprofit dedicated to children, health and human rights.)
[Input source: TOI]