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Mother, writer and daydreamer. Also chocoholic and chick-flick lover. But mainly mommy. To two boys, at that! When not escorting my Elder One (EO) to karate class, I'm trying to get in as many cuddles as possible from my Younger One (YO). And when not doing either, I'm hard-at-work trying to maintain a steady relationship with my laptop. And as for the Man I Married (MIM), well, let’s just put it this way – even though we share a bedroom, our most meaningful conversations are held over the cell-phone!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

The Beauty in Her Soul


Losing my father last year, was the most devastating event in my life. And I have had more than my fair share of run-ins with Unpleasant Experiences, Nasty People and Heart-Attack Inducing Moments in my 30 odd years of existence upon this earth.

The pain and trauma of those 20 days in January 2010 have left an indelible mark upon my psyche and soul, and I know it will never go. Yes, the wound will heal eventually, but the scar will never fade.

Being the Daddy's Girl that I was, am and forever shall be, I confidently believed that nobody was more affected by his passing than I. No. Not even my mother. After all, I was a witness to their marriage and it wasn't particularly pretty.

But then I saw her break. Her life-partner, her companion for the golden years ahead, the man she had two children with, whom she struggles with, made sacrifices with, sang with, lived with, loved, disliked, bickered and fought with, was gone. Is gone. Forever.

Now my mumma is a strong woman. She is our rock. We draw strength from her and count on her to be steady and solid and to never falter on our behalf. Gregarious and generous to a fault, fearless and fun-loving, she is my strength. My daddy was always my weakness.

I couldn't bear to see her crumble and cry. It broke me. Her biggest wail was, "How can I live alone now?"

Yes. Her biggest fear had come true.

Because you see, this strong woman who battled everyone's fears and forged ahead on their behalves, actually did have one fear. I lied. She wasn't totally fearless. She did have one fear. One she was always worried about confronting and succumbing to -- the fear of being alone.

After all, this was the woman who had moved continents just so that she could be near her brothers and sisters. This was the woman who willingly and happily turned her as-it-is-always-open-house into a big rehearsal space in the months preceding Durga Puja. This is the woman who has myriad friend groups to fulfill her different loves and interests: an adda group, a theatre group, a movie-watching group, a spiritual group, a charity group, a travel group...it goes on. This is the woman you call and call but who never answers her land-line, because she's never at home. This is the woman who's always game to go out. This is the woman who never says 'No.' This is the woman who just can't be by herself.

So when daddy died, who was she going to come home to? Who was going to open the door for her? Would she now, finally have to start carrying around a key?

My husband, sons and I went for a holiday to Himachal a couple of weeks ago. We took my mother along. It was there, near the steps of a temple, that I saw my mother looking at the expanse of mountains before us. The look on her face was serene, peaceful, beautiful. Without looking at me she said, "I think I can do. I can carry on. I can live."

This woman, who was once a calendar girl in her Shanti-Niketan-Bosonto-Utsob regalia; who her nephews and nieces still remember as being the most beautiful woman they'd ever seen when she stepped in as a new bride in my grandparent's home; whom I used to look at with awe whenever she dressed up in a Benarasi silk sari, was glowing.

Those images of the young woman in the calender, the beautiful bride in those black-and-white-photographs, the Benarasi-clad woman just slipped away from the pages of my memory. Before me stood a woman wearing the wrinkles of her life upon her face. The battles she'd fought and won were specks of survival in her eyes.

I saw her wearing her soul that day -- it was an armour of strength; it was a mantle of inner peace; it was a glimpse of real, true, inner beauty.

Lucky, lucky me.

23 comments:

Aneela Z said...

dekhee would london have this?

Arundhati said...

Superlative.

dipali said...

So beautiful! Truly.

Sujatha said...

Beautifully said, Bee.

thewhiterain said...

beautifully written B. Iya

the mad momma said...

I'm glad you wrote this, babe. It was simply beautiful. Hugs.

Dithi said...

Don't know words well enough to be able to comment on this. Bravo!

Anonymous said...

This is an exquisite piece, B.
Love and hugs, Rita

R's Mom said...

Lovely lovely! its so beautiful just to read this..your mom is a great lady

confusedyuppie said...

your mom sounds just like mom and your dad like mine! and ur life like my life...oh well, you get the picture. seriously though, this story gave me a lot of courage bcoz i am at that stage where i'm dreading the loss of those closest to me and now atleast i know that mama can go on...thanks so much.

Sue said...

God bless her and give her the strength to carry on. I share her fear, I know.

Arnita said...

You know what.......i had tears in my eyes when i read this...can still picturise mashi and mesho during the pujos....loads of love to mashi and a biggg hug to you!!!
- Piu

Swaram said...

So beautiful!
Lovely post!

Cee Kay said...

Wow!! Totally blown away by this. Beautiful!

noon said...

Heart felt writing. Lovely. I see every person who has lost a companion struggling through this - no matter how much they fought or acted like they would be better off on their own - finally feel this tremendous loss without the other. I could visualize this write up like a Bengali movie...starting from the beautiful bride...I am glad your mother feels that strength inside her now to carry on...

Shachi said...

Exquisite and Poignant! Loved it!

starry eyed said...

Wrinkles of life and specks of survival in her eyes....Absolutely profound...touched my heart!

Nandhini said...

Beautiful piece! wearing the wrinkles of her life.... simply touching! Good wishes!

Cuckoo said...

I am sorry about your loss. Your post was really touching...I am glad your mom has found her inner balance again (as readjusted as it could be). Here's wishing more strength her way....
Meera

Mamma mia! Me a mamma? said...

Thank you all so very much! I am overwhelmed by your kindness and acknowledgement. The moment was a strange mix of sad and happy -- very profound in its entirety.

I am glad that this piece touched you as much as the actual moment did me.

Prerna said...

... and this one brought tears to my eyes. and a smile too.

Preeti Sharma said...

B, what a magical piece of writing. So beautiful. Almost brought tears to my eyes. It reminds me of why, even when I have absolutely no time to read blogs these days, I keep returning to yours. You are such an amazing writer:)

La Sirens said...

Nice. heartfelt. And relatable.