I must have been 10 back then. I wanted to eat an apple but had no clue about using a knife. Nevertheless, I put it on my hand and thought of chopping it in one stroke like a karate chop. The apple fell down but the knife did quite a bit of damage to my hand, which started bleeding profusely. While dad sneered at my stupidity, mom quickly gathered her purse and hailed a rickshaw to take me to the doctor. All this while, she had wrapped my bleeding hand in a quick fix bandage. She never scolded me once.

The heart desires a gentle, calming hug when in pain.

She had lovingly prepared homemade ketchup and bottled peas. Hours of painstaking work had gone in. She had warned my brother and I to stay clear of that zone where the glass bottles were carefully arranged in a cupboard. What do you know? We forgot that and played hide and seek in the very same area breaking most of her bottles. That is the first time, I saw her in a Kali Ma avatar. It was as if a volcano had erupted. Oh yes, mother could pack a punch. When she roared, even dad looked scared. She was a parent and could clearly throw her weight around.

That she preferred to use love to teach us did not mean we could take her for granted.

She packed me a suitcase full of homemade pickles and edible stuff she knew I liked when I was leaving for the US. “Oh, you will be hungry!” she said. I rolled my eyes back then. Well she was right! To this day, I hunger for the food she could so effortlessly conjure. She showed me how cooking is not a mere chore; it is seva (service). She showed me how food satisfies more than just the tummy.

Food satiates the soul. It nurtures those we cherish.

She was on her deathbed. Her mouth covered in ulcers so big that she couldn’t talk. But her eyes spoke tearfully. The joy in her eyes to see me was something that will never leave my heart. I could see my wedding albums and other pictures strewn around her. I was newly wed and had flown back from the US. I tightly squeezed her hand. She squeezed back. We stared at each other. I held back tears; she didn’t make any such effort. She was no more in 4 days. She had held on just long enough before letting go.

A mother’s heart dwells in her children.


What do I say about ma that I haven’t said before? A conventional beauty, she was quiet and loving yet strong. She and dad were so different and yet complemented each other perfectly. All that I know about relationships, partnership and marriage I imbibed by watching them. When she was alive, I never told her how much I loved her. Perhaps, she knew. All mothers know. But, I will always regret not saying it to her. I took her presence for granted. She was supposed to be around when I had my first child and then second, when I went through the troughs in my life, when I visited my home with my family. It was hardest to reconcile with her absence in those hard times. Why did she have to go so soon?

The good, the bad, the ugly, we lived everything together as a family. When everyone had deserted us, we siblings with my parents stood by each other, watching each other’s backs. We do even now! Perhaps that is the biggest lesson she taught me — Family is supreme!

Fourteen years since she passed away at the age of 52, I still remember her with love and joy. Perhaps, that is the biggest tribute to the person that she was. To others, she may be just a simple homemaker sitting at home looking after her home and hearth, doing unglamorous things like cooking and crocheting. To my siblings, my father, and me she was the cornerstone of our life and the glue that cemented our love. Her warmth still lights up our hearts and memories and guides us through our darkest times.

56 Thoughts on “The mother that she was

  1. Beautiful post Rachna. Your mother sounds like an old soul – someone who us sent on this earth to make a difference.

    May her soul rest in peace…

  2. Made me tear up. Your love for her shows in every word you’ve written

  3. It is so good to be able to put in words the thoughts that most of us feel about our parents, mother especially. They just know when to scold, when to hug and when to just leave the child alone to work out a problems on her own. Oh, they are divine, indeed.

    • They are divine and so taken for granted too. Having my own children now makes me understand her and appreciate her more. Sad that she is not around to share the tales, the laughter and the sorrows with. Cuts through my heart.

  4. Mom occupies a special space in our hearts and lives.A very well narrated post that one could relate with.Best wishes for the contest.

  5. Mums will always have a special place in our hearts. Their sacrifice, dedication… the things they teach without actually teaching is just beautiful. It’s sad that we often take for granted what is most precious. Your words are gracefully written, tugs at hearts and makes me remember all the things that my mom did and still does.

  6. You brought tears to my eyes, Rachna! That’s all I can say. Loved reading this.

    • Thanks, Beloo. I was frightened by the emotions I felt as I penned this piece. Since I became a mother, I’ve felt even more connected with her.

  7. Hugs Rachna. Sorry to hear about your mother’s painful departure. A very emotional read, can related to many things. :'(

    • Thanks, Saru. It was a very painful time. Flying back to make in time to meet your sick mother is the worst situation any child can live through. This when she was perfectly fine just 4 months back. It makes me wonder about the ways of destiny.

  8. I know you can never make peace with the loss of your loved ones. Hugs dear. My mom will turn 52 this year. Just to imagine how it would be without her…that itself is a night mare. I can totally feel your loss. But their love and memories are what we dwell on for the rest of our lives. I am sure she is watching all of you and giving her blessings. Good luck for the contest. 🙂

    • Yes, I know where you are coming from. It’s difficult to imagine them gone.I would like to console myself that she is watching over me but it sounds so empty the words. I want her to be around.

  9. Hi Rachna, Sorry to hear of your loss. Her positive influence clearly lives on through you. XO 🙂 Shelah

  10. Mothers know. You nade me cry. Hugs Rachna!

  11. “To my siblings, my father, and me she was the cornerstone of our life and the glue that cemented our love.” That was so well put.

    I’ve been trying to write on this topic for the last one week, but, finally I gave up yesterday. I lost mine 18 years ago. And every time I sat down to write on this topic, all I could think of was stuff I could never get to do with her… memories I would never have with her. (Some of them are similar to what you’ve mentioned in your post.) Eventually, I decided not to write on this. It was becoming too painful.

    Moms, if they depart from this world early, leave a void in our hearts that nothing and nobody can ever completely fill. Right?

    • I understand, Chicky. I wrote and rewrote and still don’t think I did justice. Some emotions and events were too raw to revisit. Yeah, the things I didn’t get to do make me so very bad. No replacing that with anything else ever. Yes, the void will always be a gaping hole. I guess I will take it to my grave. Wishing strength to you too.

  12. Our moms are definitely the cornerstones of our families! I loved the anecdotes about her that you shared!!
    Sending you warm hugs!! 🙂

  13. Such a beautiful tribute to your mother. I’m positive she knew you loved her – mother’s always know.

  14. Beautiful, just speechless on reading this, God bless.

  15. I remember doing a bad imitation of the girl from the Nirma ad, knocking over a 1 l hair oil bottle my mom had just purchased the previous day ….the perfect don’t take me for granted moment 😀

  16. A mother daughter bond is like a umbilical cord. You yearn for her on your saddest and happiest days.

    You’ve imbibed the best from your parents, Rachna. I’m sure she’s smiling from up there.

    • You said it, Purba. We always crave mums. In my vulnerable moments, I want to believe that she is watching and smiling. I’d rather have her here but one just has no choice sometimes.

  17. This was so heartfelt, so heart breakingly beautiful. It left an ache in my heart. Our parents teach us more by example than words don’t they ! Through this post, I can sense your love and also the pain of your loss.

  18. Moms are so strong and so important. Without our moms we would be nowhere. My mom has been our strength forever. She suffers so many things in silence just to walk around, and on top of that she does so much for us. I am sorry that you lost her so soon. I felt that heartache and heartbreak in this post. I am sure about this though where ever she is, she is smiling at you thinking that’s my girl!

    • I hope so, Jaibala. That way I still feel she is around and connected. Indeed, mothers are something else. How much they do for us and how willingly and effortlessly we don’t even realize. She did go way too soon. Don’t know what else to say. Some days it is so hard without her gentle wisdom and brilliant smile.

  19. Mother’s do so much for us… We do take them for granted, don’t we? Because they know, they always know..such a wonderful write up Rachna… What can we be without our mothers, in essence & in spirits!

  20. Oh…I knew you lost your mother young but didn’t know she was just 52. If it is any solace, it looks like she crammed several lifetimes of wisdom and love in just this one short one.

  21. Your post brought tears! I have not written for this prompt for some reasons that I will share later but yes, mothers are pillars of our lives. I am sorry, your mother is no more but I know you are like her – kind, loving and caring!

  22. Your mother sounds like she was an incredible person, Rachna. I could feel your pain and the agony when you spoke of her being no more. Not having her around in some of the most important steps of your life must have been so difficult. Hugs, my dear. May she rest in peace and always smile down upon you and yours. Brought me to tears, this post <3

    • How deeply we connect with mothers. I am happy that so many connected with the sentiments in the post. Her loss will always be deeply felt. Not having her around will always hurt. Thanks for your warm and loving words. ♡

  23. She continues to live, in your dreams and hopes and I am sure she must be really proud of you! And, like you said, She knows. Mothers awlways know.

  24. Heart warming post Rachna. I have wonderful memories of Mom and Dad, who taught me the essence of things and how simple joys in life matter. I am sure ur Mom is with you forever and looking at you from the sky.

  25. My eyes filled up with tears as I read your post as I terribly missed my mom. I know how it is to lose one’s mom especially when ubhave recently got married. I miss mine on all the important occasions of my life. I m expecting my first n I cant tell u how much I miss my mother. Had she been around there was so much I could have shared n learnt. Beautiful post!

    • Oh Shaivi, warm hugs, dear girl. I am so sorry to hear that you’ve lost your mother. I wish you the best with your baby. You will miss her for sure but all that you can do is take solace in her memories. Trust me, they will help you go forward. So much sharing and learning we could have done. Just makes one feel so helpless. Thank you so much for sharing. <3

  26. This made me teary eyed! A beautiful, heart-warming and a moving tribute to your Mom! Moms always know the best… when we needed that comforting hug and when a knock on our heads.

  27. Mothers never die, Rachna. She is living in your heart. Wherever she is, I’m sure she is feeling proud and smiling at you.

  28. Rachna this made me cry. She sounds like an incredible woman. They did teach us the biggest lessons in the simplest ways. Hugs and much love!

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