A Tribute To My Mother

1/31/2017 3:36:08 PM
written By : Pamposh Dhar Print

One of Reiki’s principles for daily living is to honour one’s elders.I like to think of “elders” as people who are wise because of their life experience. 

In this context, I want to share my thoughts about what I have learnt from the remaining “elder” in my life, my 92-year-old mother, Indira Kaul Dhar. She suffers from many old-age ailments and is now battling her fourth bout with cancer. Yet she continues to inspire me with her inner strength, which keeps her smiling through her pain and extreme discomfort.

Despite her illness, she remains gracious. After a recent treatment of radiotherapy, she thanked the technicians and her own helpers, who had accompanied her to hospital. When we have visitors at home, she is the first to offer them tea or coffee and remind me, in Kashmiri, to be a better host!

In years gone by, she was a wonderful hostess and fabulous chef. Ironically, although she is mostly vegetarian herself, she was best known for her mutton koftas, rogan josh and other succulent Kashmiri meat dishes.  

Sadly, I have not inherited Mum’s culinary skills. As long as I lived with my parents, she resolutely refused to let me into the kitchen. She wanted me to focus instead on my studies and, later, my work. 

Both my parents considered education to be of great value, both in itself and in its ability to make one financially independent. Mum wanted her daughters to be well educated and to work for a few years before considering marriage. She felt it was important for a woman to know she was capable of looking after herself.

When I was growing up, Mum was always there for me, being a full-time mother, wife and homemaker. She figures in my very first memory of life -- sliding off a tonga in her lap. She held me close as we both landed on the road. Apparently I did not receive a scratch.

As I grew older, she taught me to always speak the truth, without fear or favour. When I was in my teens, I was often a little late reaching school. When asked why, I would say honestly that I had woken up late. I remember a teacher saying to me once, in exasperation: “Can’t you even make up an excuse?” That was a thought that had never even occurred to me because lying was considered so low in our home.

I also learnt from Mum to treat people with respect and courtesy, no matter what their background.

One year, when we were living in Delhi, an elderly gentleman came to spend the winter with us in our home. Mum told me he was her godfather. He lived in Norway with my aunt, but found the winter there too harsh. I loved having him with us because he told me a story from the Mahabharatha every night. 

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