Thursday, January 22, 2009

My beautiful mother

Today I read an article in Ode magazine [here]that created a surge of some unbridled emotions inside me.
Enough to write this article as an ode to ‘My’ mother.
I believe that no love is as pure, complete, wholesome and unconditional as a mother’s love. I still feel my mother’s presence in my life though she passed away more than two decades ago. She died very young. She left, when I needed her the most!

While I was growing up she taught me many things in life. Like reading books. I became a bookworm due to her. She was a voracious reader herself and a closet writer of poems full of revolutionary pathos. She taught me that a lady should be 'seen' and not 'heard'. She taught me how to dress up elegantly always. She told me how being modestly covered is more enticing than wearing revealing clothes.
She taught me how to keep a house, and often chided me to learn cooking. As she believed that ‘the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach’.
Well, here I differed with her. Being a quiet rebel that I am, I did not want to “learn” to please a man as I always felt that love is to be ‘yearned’ and not ‘earned’. You see in this commercial world where everything has to be ‘earned’; don’t you think there are some things in this world that must be left uncorrupted? Like love?
And no man who is worthy of me will want me to “try” and please him. He will first have to accept me as I am, cook or no cook. He has to take me to his heart first and then I will show him how lucky he is to have me in his life, by cooking for him, loving him, and doing rest of the good stuff that follows:)

Anyways…the point is that my mother was the biggest influence in my life. I learnt “what not to do” and “what to do” in life through her. Though there are many lessons that I forgot, there are still few that helped me sail through some very difficult phases of my life. I feel her presence even now. See her beautiful, somber face even now before my eyes. I talk to her, weep before her and lay bare my soul often. Knowing that she is with me.
Of all the lessons that she taught me. The greatest was how to be a mother…
In my life I have taken my role as a mother very seriously. No emotion matches the intensity of my love for the two most wonderful men in my life that is my children.
I was married very young and as a result I was a young mother. In my early twenties when most girls of today are making career choices, having fun and shudder at the thought of marriage I was changing nappies. But I don’t regret it even one bit. As the experience of bring up my babies surpasses all the other creative experiences that I had or am having later.
I wish to share with you all, one of my favourite passage from Maxim Gorky’s ‘Mother’. This was also my mother’s favourite book.

“What are you afraid of? Asked the mother. “Go ahead and kiss each other. Hug each other as tight as you can.”“Shall we?” asked Pavel.“Come on”, said the khokhol, getting up. They embraced strongly – two bodies and one spirit aflame with friendship. Tears flowed down the mother’s cheeks, but this time they were tears of happiness.“Women love to cry”, she said shamefacedly as she wiped them away. “Cry when they are happy, cry when they are sad.”

Ammi, I dedicate this piece to you. May peace be with you wherever you are!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

How Do I Love Me?

"Take out another notebook, pick up another pen, and just write, just write, just write. In the middle of the world, make one positive step. In the centre of chaos, make one definitive act. Just write. Say yes, stay alive, be awake. Just write. Just write. Just write."

I have noted down these words by Natalie Goldberg on my desktop to remind me that writing is the best salvo for all the trials of life and to save myself from classic symptoms of withdrawal when I am deprived of my work environment for too long.
I always say to anyone who is interested in listening that 'writing is my first love'. It is. I keep coming back to it after exploring 'other loves'.
When it comes to writing 'big think pieces' I like to imagine myself as an expert. I write with command and confidence. I am never short of words and thoughts just flow unchecked. I get enough feedbacks to keep me enthusiastic and positive. To keep on writing.

However....recently I was asked to write a letter to myself.
A letter to myself? I never ever thought of that. I am also not the 'Dear Diary' kind of person. Even in my personal journals I write like I am talking to an audience. I never let myself go enough to delve deep inside and 'talk' to myself. I always feel as if someone is standing behind and peeping over my shoulder. Watching me. I have to measure every word. Craft it carefully.
When Dan asked me to try writing a letter to myself I was at complete loss for words. I was floundering ...I was like a kindergarten kid, trying to hold the pen properly...Words looked laborious and unforgiving to me.
How difficult is it to address our self ? To meet our self? To love our self?
Dan asked me if I love myself. As a life coach he is used to coming across people who always find it so difficult to answer this.
Well...I am no exception.
I am reminded of a couplet by- Rumi.

“To be or not to be is not my dilemma. To break away from both worlds Is not bravery. To be unaware of the wonders That exists in me, that Is real madness” !

Rumi spoke of me. Or perhaps many of us who are unaware of the wonders that exist in us. Wonders that we preach the world about, but never pause to apply it in our lives.
Why am I so reluctant to befriend, romance and inveigle myself ?
Maybe if I could just write an authentic letter to myself without fear.... Good Luck to me!