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Remembering those who nurtured us when our mother couldn't be there.



It is said that in the moment a child is born, a mother is also born. Before the child comes into being, she exists as a woman. With the birth of her child she assumes a new role – that of the mother.

A mother not only creates a child in her womb but from the moment of its birth she is the protector, provider and the very center of the infant’s universe. She dotes on every smile and attends to every cry of her baby.

In fact her own existence changes irreversibly from the day the child enters her life. She carries her child for nine months in her womb, in her arms for the first  three years and in her heart for the rest of life.

As a child grows, rapidly leaving infancy, teenage, and then youth behind life comes a full circle and before she knows it, it is her turn to be a mother – a time when she first begins to grasp the magnitude of motherhood in its entirety.

It is as if life goes through an action replay. The images of past memories merge into the present moments and as our childhood faces reflect in our children’s smiles and twinkling eyes, we cannot help but reminisce our mother's gentle touch, her mock anger, and comforting voice in the chaos of those initial days of coping with the newfound gift of motherhood.

It is moments like these – rocking a baby to sleep, soothing a bruised knee, or washing a little brat covered in mud, when we contemplate the indescribable love and nurturing care we received from our own mothers and that is when we begin to truly comprehend the true power of motherly affection.

Invariably we also come across moments when we may not be physically present to care for our child. We are faced with difficult moments for both the mother and the child when either the call of duty or a pressing need of any other kind makes it necessary to leave our children in the care of others.

It is in moments like these that we realize the contribution of all those people who rose to the occasion and offered us the safety and warmth of their lap when our mothers had to be elsewhere.

Remember your grandmother. Remember her salt and pepper hair adorned with jasmine; her eyes twinkling behind gold framed glasses as she defied age to tuck in her pallu at the waist before stooping to pick you up despite her aching back.

You might also remember grandpa, no more mindful of his carefully ironed kurta when it came to giving you a ‘horse’ ride around the living room table. Remember how your dad playfully chided him for the stark transformation - from being a strict father to a now gullible grandfather; easily giving in to your childish whims and desires, all just to see your beaming face ?

My elder sister was always that mother for me when maa was not around. My favorite memory of us is of a pretty summer afternoon when unknown to our parents we snuck out to play in front of our house. Dressed in our elegant summer frocks, aged 4 and 6, we raced around.

 I can still remember my panic when I fell and badly scraped both my knees on the tarmac. Even at that young age, the impressionable younger daughter of two doctors, I was quite certain that my time on earth was over and that the germs from the bruise would cause the end of me. Oh! How can I ever forget the soothing voice of my elder sister, barely a year and a half older than me? She took me by the hand and cleaned my bruises with saline water she found in the bathroom. She still stifles an affectionate giggle as she remembers how with the most serious countenance I thanked her solemnly for ‘saving my life’ and promised my eternal love to her that very day.

And then there was Parvati maa, the sweet, unassuming woman who helped my mother to look after the house. I remember countless evenings when she sat quietly and patiently by the main door, way beyond her paid working hours, guarding us tiny tots when maa and baba were both stuck at the clinic. Ever smiling, never complaining, she never stirred from her place by the door till my parents got home. She never even demanded any extra pay for the times that she had to go beyond her due hours. She just smiled understandingly at my mom’s apologies for being late, saying …"but these two are like my daughters, why would I mind looking after them? ”. You too will always be a mother to me Parvati maa.

And there are countless others that I can think of, like my English teacher who encouraged me to publish my first poem in the school magazine, or the book store owner at the end of the street who always made sure he stocked the rarest book I may have asked for, sometimes even letting me have it for a fraction of the cost. I cannot even begin to think of how many such people have contributed to making me the independent, accomplished and confident woman that I am today.

Yes, it is true that in the moment a child is born a mother is also born, but is also true that to raise that child it takes an entire village.

This Mother’s Day when we remind our mothers of our undying love and gratitude let us also remember and be grateful for all those people who were mothers to us in moments and places where our own mothers could not be with us.

Who was that mother for you when your mother had to be away ?

Here is wishing a Happy Mothers’ day to all of you!




Article By : Bhavna R