A mother/amma is the one who has warmth and cares for anyone who needs it; needless to say, we all do, don’t we? One need not deliver an offspring to be called a Mother. Not everyone who does can be a caring mother. To all those wonderful beings who nurture anyone in need with care and love – Happy Mother’s Day!
It will take me another forty years to describe my mum, Sarada, her warmth, and nurture. Born in an affluent family, being raised with utmost love, she molded herself to the needs of the family she is married into. My dad hailed from a lower middle class and always was quenched in his thirst for knowledge, but he had the responsibilities of his siblings-older and younger. At a very young age of 21, he joined as a lecturer and continued his quest to learn deeper and more by doing Ph.D. But alongside, my mum was the one who had a lot of compromises and sacrifices to make to let everything run smoothly.
Over time, with my dad, Dr. Ayalasomayajula Gopalarao garu, becoming a well-respected and busier literary personality, she resigned from her job as a teacher at a school where my sister and I studied, and continued her studies online and earned her master’s degree. But, none of us had to do any compromises that may have had her duties lessened. My mum, who never cooked until she got married, believed the same in raising us. She always believed women should be financially independent and thus always did what she had to, to make us totally believe that we were in the ‘student phase’- only studying and having the fun a child deserves, and encouraging us to make great friendships- nothing else was thrust upon us! At that point, me and my sister were the only ones from our neighbourhood who went to an English medium private school that was then the top most rated in the town! My dad took every cue my mum gave him with regards to our raising. To date, she has this fascination of speaking fluently in English- that I am sure, we, as her daughters fulfilled.
My dad growing up with financial restraints and unable to study at University as a full-time student, always had a special place for students with similar struggles. So, he continued the tradition of ‘varalabbay’– feeding students on 2-3 specified days of the week at home. He couldn’t have done these without my mum’s support as she has to cook fresh for all of us on those days, and not an easy task! Those students considered my parents as theirs.
One of the best memories from childhood usually are the birthday parties. Until now without needing any reminders, friends and relatives wish me on my birthday only because of how my mum used to host the parties. Dad is also all up for celebrations too. Mum is an excellent cook and used to bake egg-less cakes in a pressure cooker on the sand in place of water. Those were the days sans internet- WOW! The other regular birthday dish was ‘saimya pulao‘. The whole neighbourhood buzzed with her hospitality. I have had so much fun celebrating birthdays with friends as a kid and a young adult, now I make it a point that I celebrate it not by partying but by giving it to those in need. Here, I have to thank my husband, who cares and shares this joy of giving.
My mum is a softhearted person with self-respect and due respect for others. I am sort of short-tempered, and all she tells me is to hold on to my emotions and reminds me not to let them loose; however others may behave, I shouldn’t change my core principles but be my caring self; I shouldn’t do anything that makes me regret of my deeds in years to come. A tough ask, but I am trying my best. At this juncture, I must mention my maternal grandparents, who were as soft and enamored with this culture of spreading love and warmth.
Mathru devo bhawa,
Pitru bevo bhawa
acharya devo bhawa
Athidhi devo bhava
–Respects to Mother, Father, Guru, and Guest. They are all forms of God.
This is the culture that nurtured me and alike.