Manpreet K Chandpuri
When you love someone you don’t stop trying for their happiness and well-being.
Mum says, “Don’t be distracted from food while eating”; mum says, “Get 8 hours of sleep every single day instead of catching up over the weekend”; mum says, “rise and sleep with the sun”; mum says, “Don’t follow trends, develop your individual style”; mum says, “it’s better to be alone than to be in bad company”; mum says, “Don’t ever grovel before anyone”; mum says, “always do your duty regardless of whether it is appreciated”; mum says, “self-respect is more important than money”; mum says, “siblings are for keeps”; and mum says, “the most important thing in life is peace of mind.”
All good things and the list goes on; but the best lessons that I have learned from my mother are the ones that she has not intended to teach me. Unbeknownst to her, mum has taught me more by the way she has led her life than by giving explicit advice. Actions always speak louder than words and leave a lasting impact on many an impressionable mind.
The biggest lesson from mum is to never give up on the happiness and well-being of the people you love. Every so often a friend, a relative or a child fails, either in life or in living up to our expectations; and we are quick to jump to the conclusion that the person is beyond redemption. We give up on people too quickly; but not my mum, she roots for her near ones and tries to do her best for them.
A more practical person might think that she is fighting a battle lost from the word “go”. There are times when we are so exhausted from fighting life’s countless battles that we give up on our dreams and aspirations. In those times having a loved one who believes in us and is rooting for us, can change our perspective. My mum’s childlike faith in people is so touching that it has brought tears to my eyes on more occasions than one. The lesson that I have learned is that when you love someone you don’t stop trying for their happiness and well-being.
My mum is the ideal eldest sibling, the one who left no stone unturned to make sure that all the younger siblings were settled in their respective homes and careers. Being a daughter in a traditional Indian home settling the younger siblings wasn’t her responsibility but she willingly took that responsibility because she loved them and wanted the very best for them. Her siblings might have let her down but her loyalty and devotion to them never wavered. She still adores them and still stands up for them. All her siblings are well settled now and have grown-up children but my mum is still very protective of them and refuses to hear a word of criticism against them. The lesson that I have learned: “Siblings should protect each other.” Do not join the rest of the world in pulling a sibling down; shield them like a protective cocoon, and stand up for them.
I must have been about six at the time when I was playing around the house one day and I broke an ornate mirror; I was scared of telling my mother about it. Nevertheless, I mustered all my courage and told her about what I had done.
Contrary to my expectations, she shrugged it off and said, “so what!” She assured me that it was too trivial a matter to be concerned about and ascertained that I didn’t have an iota of guilt. That was my first lesson that when it’s a case of things versus people the choice is very easy.
Mum has had her ups and downs but she hasn’t lost perspective that people matter more than things. She hasn’t lost sleep over material things but she has lost sleep over a near one’s suffering. All of us have had our share of monetary losses, its useless to shed tears over them; in the ultimate analysis, we are defined not by our material gains and losses but by the friendships and relationships that we nurture and the memories we create.