Sunday, January 31, 2010

Mother is Mother

Mother is Mother

I choke every time I read this story about the Mother. It reminds me how precarious life is and how precious it is to tie the lose ends of the life, and recieve blessings from your mother. Don't let a moment go by, pick up the phone and give her a call or better yet, go visit her. If she is not alive, there is a friends mother or a stranger that you can give that affection to.

Nine Februaries ago, on a Saturday Morning in 2002, I received a call from my Mother from India; she started telling me to carry on with life and take care of myself and my family. I sensed her last moment had come and I started crying a like a baby with my late wife, son and daughter around me. It will not amaze Indians and Perhaps Pakistanis’ and Bangladeshis of my generation (born in 50’s) that culturally we rarely verbalize our affection for parents or even say thank you in words, it is all non-verbal communication through caring and doing things for them.

I want to thank God for giving me the sense to tell her in time that I loved her, and thanked her for making me whoever I am today, it is because of her I am who I am today. It was the first time I have said those words in my life to my mother and turned out to be the only time I ever said. Thank God for that. I would have been a farmer in Irgampalli had it not been for my mother. I told her like they say in the Indian Movies, Ma, I am coming, and you are not going anywhere until I see you. Damn it, my eyes are wet now.

I reached Bangalore Airport at 2:00 AM, none of my three brothers were there to receive me, finally I took the taxi and reached my home about 6:00 AM – my Mother’s body was placed in the middle of the house. I sat next to her…. And every one was figuring out what was happening to me as I was smiling at her beautiful face, admiring her for tying all the loose ends of life, she had called every one for the whole week to forgive and be forgiven.

Prophet Muhammad was asked by his associates, who is the most important person in one's life. He says, Mother, they asked him again, who is next, he repeats Mother, they ask him again and for the third time he says, it is your mother and on the 4th call he says, it is your father. The importance of mother is stressed in every faith and culture and indeed, the Prophet said, the paradise is under your monthers feet. Such is the prominence given to mother. In Jewish tradition it is the Mother through whom the Jewish tradition continues, in Hindu tradtion Mother is venerated to nearly the status of God, there is a beautiful song, " o ma, your face is nothing different than God" ( us ko nahin dekha hum nay kabhi, per us ki zaroorat kya hogi, ai ma, teri soorat say alag, bhagwan ki soorat kya hogi - song link below) you find similar values in all traditions.

She was the mother of my town, as my Dad was a Mayor once, she had earned her own place in the community, all her Hindu, Christian, Jain, Parsee and Muslim friends were visiting her and doing their own prayers for her soul to rest in peace. I was admiring her for leaving a beautiful lesson for me to learn… tying the loose ends and going in peace, what a way to go!

And when I read the following story, which my fiancĂ© sent to me, my whole life went back to Saturday, February 23, 2002. I am yet to tie all the loose ends. However, one of the most pleasant parts of my life was the way my late wife Najma departed on her eternal journey – we cleaned each others’ slate, tied the loose ends and had the luxury of saying bye to each other. May God bless her soul, she is in peace and I am in peace, it was a perfect Michami Dukkadam, a greeting phrase the followers of Jain faith say to each other – Michami Dukkadam, simply meaning, let’s clean each other’s spiritual slate and refresh our lives for the next year. I have simplified my life by reducing all my goals and things to do in writing… It is a reminder for me to keep the life as clean as I can, and as simple as I can.

Amma, here I am, I will continue to tie the loose ends of life and when I go, I will have few things or none left to be done and God willing I will be smiling as you did. Amen!


I learned that arguing with mother is the dumbest thing to do, she wants the best for you and why do you want to disagree in a conversation that gives her joy and you lose nothing. I realized that little late in my life, but was able to have a happy relationship with her in the last several times I visited her including the one in 2001, I would go home and sit next to her for the whole day, and let her talk and I would listen, it was a feast to her that I'd listen to her without interrupting. One time she slapped me ( Ofcourse with affection and I was 48!) when she realized that I had gone to sleep while she was talking. But she was the happiest woman seeing her son spend time with her. Please do that for your mother, she would love that and you'd be blessed for the rest of your life. They say, Mother's wishes (prayers) are a boon in one's life.

The song in praise of mother in Hindustani ( Hindi/Urdu) language -

Mike Ghouse


After 21 years of marriage, my wife wanted me to take another woman out to dinner and a movie. She said, 'I love you, but I know this other woman loves you and would Love to spend some time with you.'

The other woman that my wife wanted me to visit was my Mother, who has been a widow for 19 years, but the demands of my work and my three children had made it possible to visit her only occasionally.

That night I called to invite her to go out for dinner and a movie. 'What's wrong, are you well,' she asked? My mother is the type of woman who suspects that a late night call or a surprise invitation is a sign of bad news.

'I thought that it would be pleasant to spend some time with you,' I responded 'just the two of us.' She thought about it for a moment, and then said, 'I would like that very much.'

That Friday after work, as I drove over to pick her up I was a bit nervous. When I arrived at her house, I noticed that she, too, seemed to be nervous about our date. She waited in the door with her coat on. She had curled her hair and was wearing the dress that she had worn to celebrate her last wedding anniversary. She smiled from a face that was as radiant as an angel's. 'I told my friends that I was going to go out with my son, and they were impressed,' she said, as she got into the car. 'They can't wait to hear about our meeting.'

We went to a restaurant that, although not elegant, was very nice and cozy. My mother took my arm as if she were the First Lady.

After we sat down, I had to read the menu.. Her eyes could only read large print. Half-way through the entrees, I lifted my eyes and saw Mother sitting there staring at me. A nostalgic smile was on her lips.

'It was I who used to have to read the menu when you were small,' she said. 'Then it's time that you relax and let me return the favor,' I responded. During the dinner , we had an agreeable conversation nothing extraordinary but catching up on recent events of each other's life. We talked so much that we missed the movie. As we arrived at her house later, she said, 'I'll go out with you again, but only if you let me invite you.' I agreed.

'How was your dinner date?' asked my wife when I got home. 'Very nice, much more so than I could have imagined,' I answered.

A few days later, my mother died of a massive heart attack. It happened so suddenly that I didn't have a chance to do anything for her. Sometime later, I received an envelope with a copy of a restaurant receipt from the same place Mother and I had dined. An attached note said: 'I paid this bill in advance. I wasn't sure that I could be there; but, nevertheless, I paid for two plates - one for you and the other for your wife. You will never know what that night meant for me.

'I love you, son'

At that moment, I understood the importance of saying in time: 'I love YOU' and to give our loved ones the time that they deserve. Nothing in life is more important than your family. Give them the time they deserve, because these things cannot be put off till some 'other' time.

Somebody said it takes about six weeks to get back to normal after you've had a baby... somebody doesn't know that once you're a mother, 'normal' is history.

Somebody said you can't love the second child as much as you love the first... somebody doesn't have two or more children.

Somebody said the hardest part of being a mother is labor and delivery....somebody never watched her 'baby' get on the bus for the first day of kindergarten... or on a plane headed for military 'boot camp.'

Somebody said a Mother can stop worrying after her child gets married... somebody doesn't know that marriage adds a new son or daughter-in-law to a mother's heartstrings..

Somebody said a mother's job is done when her last child leaves home... somebody never had grandchildren.

Somebody said your mother knows you love her, so you don't need to tell her.... somebody isn't a mother.

Pass this along to all theGREAT'mothers' in your life and to everyone who ever had a mother.

This isn't just about being a mother; it's about appreciating the people in your lives while you have them... no matter who that person is!

The Indian song praising the mother -


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