An Open Letter to my MOM
Hello my dear friends. Welcome to yet another episode of Morning Cup of Sunshine podcast. This episode is totally different from any other episode I have ever created. It is an open letter to the first working woman I saw up close and personal. It is an open letter to my inspiration. It is an open letter to my mom. Today, it’s been exactly 24 years since my mom passed away. They say time heals all wounds. Do I agree? No, not at all, with all my core, I disagree. Maybe wounds don’t show up, they get covered with scar tissues, maybe the pain lessens a bit but it is always there deep down, hidden somewhere. It’s been 24 years but there has not been a single day that passes without me remembering my mom. Sometimes, it is extremely painful. Sometimes, I miss her so much that it hurts to even talk about her. Sometimes, I cherish her memories through happy thoughts but as I said every single day, I remember her. Then, why this special episode. I am not the type of person who makes a special post on Facebook or any other social media for my mom or dad on their birthdays or death anniversaries. So, why now? Because, this year finally I have started making a breakthrough. Finally, I am starting to understand the grief, the real way to handle that grief, the way to cherish her memories, the way to keep her alive in my thoughts without feeling sad. Finally, I am ready to talk about her, her teachings, her blessings and her journey. I have been passionately creating content for working women. I am trying in my small way to help working women find their passion. Where did I learn anything about this? Where did I get to know the importance of loving your work? Who taught me the way to navigate through your life by balancing work? I think I learnt it from my mom. She is the first working woman I have ever seen up, close and personal. Even though both my grandmothers were working women, my aunts had an amazing career. My mom was the person whom I saw day to day, struggling, juggling, navigating her journey as a working woman. She inspired me in such a way in such a short period that I owe everything to her. I have seen her handle both work and family with such a strength, I saw her handling complicated cases, performing surgeries. I saw her organizing fantastic birthday parties, baking cakes for us with equal ease and zest. Was it easy for her? Might not be but unfortunately I was too young and too immature to understand. So, this letter is for her, to tell her what I saw but never got a chance to express. Here you go mom, hope you can somehow read or listen to this..
How are you? I am sure you must be busy. I never saw you sitting idle, being lazy. You used to be always busy doing something. I never saw you getting up late. You always used to wake up early. Frankly, I don’t even remember your morning routine. Those memories are so blurry. But I remember seeing you always put together, dressed neatly in sadi. You had curly hair just like me but they were always neatly tied in a long braid. You taught me self love, self care through your small gesture. I never saw you in a rush, although busy. How did you manage everything? I remember you had to start from home around 8 to reach your hospital. You always had everyone’s breakfast and lunch ready before that. I never saw you getting agitated or angry at us. I never saw you showing the work pressure, let alone impacting it on us. How was that even possible for you? Here I am, continuously talking about work pressure, rushing through the house work, sometimes losing patience, over stressed and over tired. How were you so calm and composed? I work on machines, if I make a mistake, I can fix it in the next release. This was not even an option for you. You dealt with patients, critically ill patients. Their lives were dependent on your correct diagnosis, and treatment. No amount of work pressure that we face today can match up to that. But I never saw you succumb to that stress. You were always smiling, always taking up new challenges. I still remember asking for pani puris and ragada pattice , dosa and what not for dinner. But you never said, “oh I am tired, let’s do that on Sunday” Fundays were never reserved for Sundays. How on the earth was that possible for you? We talk about work life balance and spend hours discussing ways to find it. I never heard you talking about it but somehow I feel, you were able to find that elusive key to work life balance. What was your secret? I remember you and dad talking about the cases and surgeries you did during dinner time. But it was so casual and so relaxed that it never felt like you were thinking about work after work. I never saw you struggling to stop thinking about work after work. Or were you better at hiding your stress? I can’t imagine how you managed to stay so calm while working in such a high pressure career? What was your secret mom? And here I am, reading books after books, writing episodes about finding ways to stop thinking about work after work. I wish you were here with me, I might not have needed any books to refer to. You would have my guide, my beacon of light.
You were absolutely brilliant. I still remember you solving extremely tough Math problems while cooking, washing dishes without even taking pen and paper. Do you know, the other day I met your long acquaintance, that too here in the US? I didn't even know that she used to know you. She was telling me about your extraordinary diagnosis and surgical skill. I felt so proud. I did not even realize when my eyes were filled with tears. You were an exemplary doctor. Your passion to help people was unparalleled. I still feel extremely proud when someone introduces me as your daughter. I feel out of the world happiness every time I see your name written in your school as one of the top ranked students. I just wish I could have told you this in person. I was too young to express this but I remember feeling so proud and amazing just looking at you. You were extraordinary in your job but at the same time, you were so passionate about the little joys of life. You were our partner in crime, when we used to buy that ice lollies from that kulphiwala bhaiya without telling dad? You were my buddy in my silly plans to organize, reorganize and even name my one drawer study cabinet. You were so full of life, your zest for life was so strong that you fought your terminal disease long and hard. You were the first person I ever saw who loved planning and organizing. I remember you planning for everyone’s birthday almost a year ahead and getting new clothes, gifts by shopping the sales. I absolutely love it when someone says, I am just like you in terms of planning and organizing. How did you manage it? Wishing everyone on their birthday, giving them a gift, something special, might be small but thoughtful, for sure, you never missed a birthday. Was it the planner in you that helped you keep track of birthdays and anniversaries or was it part of your personality? Did it come naturally to you or you used to put an effort into it? I guess, I will never get an answer to these questions but at the age of 35, I am realizing how difficult it could have been for you to do everything. Being a working woman comes with its own set of challenges and on top of that balancing all these extra responsibilities is not an easy feat. But you did it and you did it with a smile on your face.
Do you remember that you used to sew dresses for me and tai? You used to knit, actually knit an entire sweater. I don’t know why but neither me nor Tai got that skill from you. I don’t think we will ever try. I wish you were here to teach us, maybe we would have learned. On second thought, I don’t see that happening even then. Jokes apart, but you taught me how to follow your own passion even when you are busy. I don’t remember you deliberately telling us those words of wisdom but through your actions, you always showed us how having passion is important in life. You taught us to work hard for your own passion, your own happiness. I don’t know how this became my purpose in life. But I am determined to help as many women as I can to find and pursue their passion. You showed us that there is more to life than you can see. You showed us that life is beautiful. Unfortunately, it was very short for you. You showed us that life is worth cherishing. You taught me to look for small moments of joy, pockets of happiness. You taught me to find happiness around. You taught me to spread happiness through actions, words, gestures. You taught me the importance of hard work, self sufficiency. You taught me how important it is to be independent. The way you handled the clinic single handedly when dad was doing post graduation, it was no more than a miracle. You showed me how a confident, strong and down to earth woman looks like. You showed me how you can go from strength to strength just by believing in yourself. Most importantly, you showed me what a strong mom looks like.
My mom was not a typical mom, she loved us dearly but she took a decision to send us to our grandmother for school since the schools where we used to live were not up to the mark. She sacrificed a lot for us. She might have heard judgments from others for sending us away at such a young age but she knew in her heart that this was best for us. She kept on visiting us every single month, every time before our exams, on our birthdays. She must have felt bad but she was strong and determined to provide us the best education. I can not thank her enough for instilling such deep love for learning through her actions. She was not a typical mom, she was unique, she was one of a kind. She was special. She passed away 24 years ago but till date, I learn something new from her. Sometimes, I feel sad that nobody was there to teach me basic wife skills, she was not there to teach me how to cook or how to take care of a baby or how to organize my home or so many how tos. Sometimes, I feel sad that I can not visit her and dump my kids on her for a day or two and just ask her to pamper me. Seems selfish right? But yes, sometimes, I wish I could just tell her that I am tired and I need a break but then again I think to myself, she has given me an even better way to handle this situation. She taught me to ask for help. She taught me that you do not become less efficient if you ask for help. She gave me all the tools to succeed in life. She paved the path for me. She showed me the way. She gave me the keys to open that door of fulfilled life. She is the one who showed me how to love your life, how to love your work, how to be okay being different. She showed me in person, up close how to be a better person, a better human being. She is the one who told me to work hard to get closer to your dream. She is the one who told me to see big, bold dreams and be okay with it. She is the one who told me that it is okay to be scared, it is okay to fail, it is okay to fumble, the important thing is to think big, dream big and live life to the fullest, however short it is..
So, Aai, I am okay, working on myself everyday, thinking about you everyday. Learning, relearning, unlearning. I miss you every single day