By Shweta Pathak
Contributing Author for Spark Igniting Minds
Mother, I am going out to play’ said Guddi aloud to her mother. She replied hurriedly, ‘Wait! Take your brother also’. Guddi’s stopped and picked her brother and a little enthusiasm left her as she left home; she went to her friends and watched them play as she carried her brother in arms.
Guddi was my mother’s nickname. Guddi was a domestic girl and grew up in a conservative Brahmin family. It was a big joint family comprising of her parents, 5 of her siblings, and the family of her uncle (father’s brother). Right from childhood, she was an ardent devotee of Maa Durga and truly carried a part of Her within herself. How else, was she able to do things unimaginable and unthinkable for anyone, let alone a woman who is considered weaker; at least, in the world she lived.
My mother possessed resilience rare to find. She was my only hope to get a life that a girl truly deserves. She was a single parent who lost her husband at the age of 24 and had to raise a three-year-old girl child alone. She was abandoned by her big family including her parents.
Getting a compassionate appointment in a state government job based on her late husband’s work, she picked up the broken pieces to face the world. A girl who never stepped out of the house to even get vegetables had shifted to a government; she had stepped out to get happiness for her daughter.
She faced a harsh reality when her elder brother-in-law made an absurd claim, ‘Whatever part of property my father has given you, that should be divided amongst all of us, because you don’t have a son and what is the need of such property for a girl child?’ The tradition of the family was to have Ghoonghat (cover your face in front of elderly men from the family). In a lower tone but determined voice, she spoke from her Ghoonghat courageously, ‘I have no greed for this property but mentioning of not having a son, you have insulted my daughter and my husband too, as we felt blessed to have a girl child, so I would donate this to you only in the name of my late husband’.
The world saw her strength in the form of determination, when she decided to admit her daughter in a co-ed school, something that never happened in the entire family or in the neighborhood. She faced strong opposition when people questioned her how a girl can study with boys. I grew up and time has again put her to test when the matter of higher education of her daughter came up. With no good option available in the village, she decided to send her daughter to another city, which was impossible for the so-called family to accept. A daughter going out of the house had never happened earlier. Many also asked her, ‘Why are you spending so much? You will have to marry her and so you won’t get anything in return’. This time as well, she only thought of her daughter’s secured future, she saw herself and wanted her daughter to be well educated and self-reliant. She wanted her to choose her education, decide the direction of her life on her own. In short, she raised her daughter like a son.
In spite of being a single parent, working in the office for the whole day, she never lost the focus from value-based parenting. She didn’t let adversities of her life make her pessimist. Everyone right from my friends, her colleagues, and the distant relatives of our family just enjoyed her company. She was a jovial person and still is; she loves to talk, socialize, crack jokes, and most importantly greet everyone with a warm and genuine smile. She pays gratitude to God every day for many blessings such as her appointment in place of my father. She loves gardening and cooking; and more than that she loves to feed people, forcefully unless one feels they’ll throw up. Never in my whole life have I seen her depressed and cribbing about whatever we faced. She believes that one should forgive and move on. She is unfailingly compassionate to other living beings and holds a special love for trees and animals, the cow being her favorite.
She has been instrumental in inculcating strong values in me. Some of the most important lessons that are imbibed in me are by her. She taught me to always focus on doing my part well, being a responsible citizen towards my Nation, a living being to Mother Nature and her other children, an employee to an organization, being respectful towards every living as well as non-living being (I still remember a funny statement, ‘iss pankhe ko thodi der band kar do, behchara thak gaya hoga’). She taught me how powerful generosity and politeness is. She insisted that whatever role has been assigned to us, we should play it with dedication and sincerity. She taught me how to be resilient – have faith and get up, no matter what the situation is. She always said that there is a lot of goodness still remaining in the world and God has been very kind. Although these qualities were consciously imbibed in me by her, some things I inherited from her are courage and perseverance. She is proof that value-based parenting doesn’t depend on the amount of time one spends with the children. But the effort parents take in character building of the children. She believed that parents must focus on character building and the rest of the things children will build for themselves.
I am indebted to my mother Mrs. Kiran Pathak, not only for giving me a birth but giving me life, dignified and self-reliant. On this Mother’s Day, I pay my heartfelt gratitude to her and feel that I am the most blessed girl in the world. This is the real-life story of a warrior who fought many battles and is still fighting of course with a warm genuine smile on her face.
Happy Mother’s Day Maa!
About the Author
Shweta is an L&D OD professional holding a decade long experience. She is a Nature lover and likes reading fictional as well as real stories and Vedic Scriptures.
She has recently started a journey to explore Spirituality through the path of Vedant Philosophy.
She is keen to participate in the causes of environmental conservation and animal care.