A mother is a powerful inspiration in a little girl's life. In fact , the first point of contact with the world and a child's interactions with its mother lays the foundation for his conduct, thought process and behavior in his adult life. As parents, its not always about teaching the right things but its also about setting the right example before our kids. The way we respond, react to situations and treat not just others but ourselves as well (with respect, love and care) is something the child watches and emulates.
My mother has been a big source of inspiration for me. I had written about why she is not an ordinary woman (I do not say this just because I am her daughter, but if I stand aside and take an independent view of this as well, I would not view it an differently).Some of the most empowering lessons which I have learnt and try to imbibe in my life through her are:
1) There is no limiting factor which can stop you from attaining your goal.
If there is, it is a mere artificial barrier erected by you. Very often as we grow up and get comfortable with our routine, our daily cycle, the same old jobs, the comfort of our monthly salary, we just get complacent. At times most of us want a change but we are afraid to break the cycle and do something different. We often say "oh but how can we take up a new profession or switch our career, that would mean investing so much time and efforts. We may even have to get back to books, get a new professional degree, is it even possible to study and write exams again? Sound familiar. I would say - why not? When a woman can do it in her 50's , so can anyone else.
My mom has had myriad experiences from working part time in a bank, to working in sales, quitting it post my birth and taking up tutions rather than sit idle, then run a catering business, join a school as a pre primary teacher, work in a call center and then back to the teaching profession as a coordinator and now finally as a Principal of a school. Life has indeed come full circle for her. For some it may sound like here is a person who could not stay put in any one job, I look at it differently since I know the reasoning behind the change. Not all of these were out of choice, some of it were compulsions due to the situation which warranted her to take it up. Like working in a call center to support us when we faced financial difficulties or giving up her full time sales job in a government owned reputed industry because she wanted to be a stay at home mom and bring up her kids.
These changes came with varied experiences and life's lessons which only made her stronger as a person and much wiser.
2) She once told me and she always does "There is no job in the world that a woman can't do, don't make anyone indispensable in your life. Learn to be self reliant and set the right example before your daughter. This is the best gift you can give her."
We have always been conditioned that some work is only a man's work like electrical fittings, lifting the gas cylinder or heavy objects, house shifting the and so much more. I have seen my mother defy these age old gender biases and take up whatever work comes her way. There is this attitude of "I can do it" which is a powerful example of being self dependent. This does not imply you are trying to show off you are better off than a man, it just implies equality of the sexes. Wouldn't we all want to see the day when a man would enter the kitchen without any inhibitions and the woman goes out to buy groceries, the day we could assume each other's roles and switch them without finding it unusual, we can say we are in a gender neutral society.
3) Your passion, resilience and focus can get you anything you dream of.
Nothing can come in your way. The best example I could quote is getting back to studies at the age of 51 when pursuing a call center job that required her to work in the night. She took up the Montessori teachers training course, attended classes in the day, studied, completed the household chores and wrote her exams as well. And all this not after a good night's sleep like most of us, but after a long night spent at the workplace. She scored the 2nd highest marks in her class and the owner of the institute was so impressed that she offered her a job of teaching further batches in that institute. Things went well thereafter and she moved out of the call center and took up the job of a coordinator in a reputed school. All because , she wanted to alter the course of her career, she wanted a change, she willingly took the risk and worked relentlessly towards her goal , the end result was rewarding. I still cant fathom though when did she sleep?
4) Be good to others and help those less fortunate where you can, the goodness will come back to you in some form or the other.
When my mom was an instructor at The Montessori institute, she met many young woman who had taken up the course, they were badly looking for a job to supplement their husband's income, they lacked the confidence though having never stepped out of the confines of their home. They also had below average communication skills. Who would want to hire them then, in this age of confident english conversant people , was there a place for them? My mother believed that by instilling confidence in them and helping them get jobs by referring them to schools looking for teachers, grooming them for the interview, conducting mock interviews , she could make that difference. Many of them ended getting jobs, the love and respect and sense of gratitude that I see in their eyes till this date make me believe that goodness does exist and it pays off.
When we do good to others, Almighty blesses us with good things in life. This is something I have seen and it has reinforced my belief in doing good. Not that it may pay off every time and not everyone may be greatful but there is someone watching and balancing the scales.
5) Be vocal and do not suppress your voice, do not bend thinking about what would people say.
How many times have we wanted to shout aloud at someone , ask them to mind their own business or tell them that what they said is unacceptable but we have kept quiet in the fear of hurting them or just because they are senior to us at the workplace or by age. Its always about "what would society say and think of us". It like all of us want to be the good boy/good girl in the eyes of everyone. But when this good boy/girl is in trouble, is sick and needs to be tended to, is in a financial mess or any other problem, does society come to their rescue? NO. It's you and your family who stands by you through good and bad times. So why care a damn about satisfying the false ego of society?
Not that we pick up a quarrel with someone on each and every thing, of course one needs to exercise tact and judgment and there may be instances where we choose to keep quiet and let it pass, but at times when things seem to be getting out of control, its important to break the silence. This is yet another valuable lesson I have learnt from my mother when I have seen her give them a piece of her mind when required. The attitude of "I live my life on my terms, if you dont like it, thats your problem not mine" is what has made me much bolder in speaking out my mind and not bend down to the pressures of society be it in term sof the age I chose to marry at, procreate at or any other matter when it came to defying the age old barriers set by society.
Above all, the unconditional love that she showers on us is what makes this bond so special. I only hope as a mother I can set the right examples before my daughter and raise her as a confident young lady who loves and respects herself and chases her dreams with passion and vigor.
Bhagwan you speak English with your daughter? What is happening these days?
People want to show off and are forgetting their roots”. I have heard this many times. Earlier my
reaction used to be - apologetic. I would keep quiet and try to ignore the comment
and find an escape route. But now if someone dares to talk to me about this
matter, I snap them off then and there. I am unapologetic I don't think I have
done anything wrong which I need to feel ashamed about. So yes I do speak in
English at home and this is my first language. No qualms about it. And
it's not because of an inter caste marriage in fact I have been speaking
English as a first language right since childhood. To give you some background
on how this came to be. My mother’s parents belonged to Mangalore ( it's a
coastal town in Karnataka) they migrated to Bombay in search of a livelihood
when they were young. They married, had kids and their kids were brought up by
a maid. As my mom and her brother lived…
Now let me confess- I am really NOT someone who loves watching
daily soaps. I know reading the tile you thought- what the heck, if it’s a
daily soap on TV it is bound to be stereotypical, full of nonsense and drama
and if you watch such stuff why complain, and if complain why watch? There was a
time when I was in college, all naive, and this was when internet was all about
going to the cyber cafe and getting all excited about entering the chat room
and typing asl (age ,sex ,location) and talking to strangers. At that time, the
only source of entertainment for young people like me was the idiot box so I won’t
lie- I used to watch the Ekta Kapoor soaps and probably even like that at that
point, that’s why I use the word Naive. As I grew up, met
diverse set of people, read and experienced new cultures, my thought process
changed. With a hectic job, I hardly found time for any TV watching. My Mom who
is also a working woman used to watch a few Marathi soaps. She always told me
A visit to the shopping mall and all kinds of people dressed in
varied shades and type of clothes is what catches the eye. While the guys
longingly ogle at pretty girls and women check out each other from top to down-
right from how has she done her hair to her toe nail and the shade of nail
paint, one cannot fail to notice some middle aged aunties all dressed up in a
pair of jeans or a skirt, some of them look around awkwardly, adjust their
dress and try to look comfortable but it’s apparent that they are not. How
could they possibly be? For around them are so many eyes scanning them, some
are whispering to others and guffawing. It is quite evident that people find it
amusing when a fat lady wears jeans. She's your regular
woman who has those tires around her waist and some generous dollops of flesh
on her thighs. She is the one always trying to hide these so called flaws by
wearing an ill fitting salwar for hasn't she heard time and again from
everyone- “you are FAT, you are…