Saying it when it matters…..

For more than forty years she had taken care of me, and not once had I said that I loved her. In our family, we don’t easily tell things like that. It is always in the background, and it is best left unsaid. We are not a very expressive family, and I have not hugged her much. Some years back when I hugged her on impulse, she said she felt good. From then on, I have been hugging her every time I met her.

My father was a very straightforward man, and very little money was there to take care of us eight children. She was always careful that no food gets wasted. Feeding a large family of 10 was no mean business, but she always managed to feed everyone without complaints. In fact, there were times when we had jokingly called her “Jesus” for her ability to feed the entire family with very little food, like some fish curry and a loaf of bread. She used to make small dishes out of leftovers. One of her favourite leftover dishes was the “paniyaram” – the bananas which go very ripe that they can’t be eaten, she used to mash them into a pulp, add a bit of sugar, salt and mix it with atta and fry them as doughnuts – It became a favourite dish between me and her, and since I was her last child, she always made it even with fresh bananas, just because I liked the paniyarams.

She was a pure vegetarian, but she always made very good Non-veg dishes for all of us. On my birthday, invariably she will send my elder brother Sharo to get crabs – for she knew I loved crabs. Only she could cook the crabs that way. I have traveled a lot in the last two decades to various parts of the country, but have never got to taste crab the way she used to make it.

When my father died, she took over the mantle of the head of the house without much ado, and did what was necessary. For more than 25 years, she never forgot even one Ammavasai day. Every Ammavasai day, she will make pumpkin, drumstick leaves or agathi keerai, and offer them to the picture of my father kept in the puja room. She will fast that day and will only eat a small portion of the prasad. All of us children will line up to pray and receive the prasad, a hand mixed mixture of all the rice and side dish that was offered. That prasad always used to taste different. Many a time, we children have tried the combination – But the taste of her hand mixed prasad always eluded us.

20 years back, when I joined Railways, I was feeling lost being in a large organization like Railways. I wrote to her that I felt “lost”. She sent me a card, of a picture of a wooded forest, with the words, “Sometimes if you don’t get lost, there’s a chance that you may never find your way” – That card adorned my table for many years till it got tattered.

All these memories came flashing as I raced to towards Chennai, as soon as I received the news that she was admitted in the hospital and that her condition was serious. At the hospital, I saw her connected with so many tubes and instruments. She was happy to know that I had come. She stayed in the hospital for a week and died. Just the day before she died, afraid that we were losing her, I held her hand, and told her, “Ma, I want you to know that we all love you very much” – She looked at me, her eyes moistened, and she said, “Yes, I know. That is why all of you are taking such good care of me”

Now, it is more than three years since she died, and I am ever grateful to God for having given me the opportunity to say that we loved her….. Every now and then, whenever I miss her too much, I remember that day of having told her that we love her, and that gives some relief. Saying it when it matters has become a very important thing to me now.

26 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Shail Raghuvanshi
    Oct 19, 2010 @ 04:38:36

    Dear Om,

    Yes, I agree. Losing a mother is one hell of a loss, something that just cannot be replaced or compensated. Your happy memories of her are the greatest gift she has left behind for you…

    God Bless.


  2. chenni natarajhan
    Oct 22, 2010 @ 01:43:15

    how can you write like this? you make me cry. your wife’s reply is EXACTLY mine too. Guru/God bless your family


  3. Neenu
    Oct 22, 2010 @ 06:47:55

    Very touching tribute. She was obviously a remarkable person.


    • prakash narayan
      Oct 22, 2010 @ 13:18:10

      Thanks. Nice of you to stop by and express your view. I have only one regret with regard to my mother – she always wanted to pen a book on recipes – and I hope I am able to showcase her recipes in some of my blog posts….


  4. Ilangovan.R
    Oct 22, 2010 @ 15:34:34

    Dear Om. Tribute is a word that undervalues our Moms’ selfless attitude to their lives around. Moms give us the blemishless affection that can never be replaced. Moms are the Divine creations.
    I miss my mom too. I was not able to live with her despite her final days’ wish to be with me.
    A chap who happened to be my boss, despite my repeated requests inhumanly denied me the basic right to live with her since she suffered from brain tumour and had to stayput in Chennai on medical advise.
    I submitted all her medical records and pleaded for a transfer to Chennai ( though my parents were at Chennai, I was working in all places other than Chennai for 30 years) saying that she wanted to be with me in her sun set days.
    They cold heartedly refused despite the fact there were many openings at Chennai. Cruelty runs in their blood. Just after three months she had passed away.
    I LOST HER. It still rankles in my heart. Anguish overpowers me whenevr I thought over it. My dad at 80 lives all alone in her memory.
    A mad rage possessed me like wild fire. But my mom would never favour that. She loved all. She was an angel. I know I can never overcome her loss.
    R. Ilangovan/Salem.


    • omsmusings
      Oct 23, 2010 @ 13:05:53

      Dear Ilango,

      Really sorry to know that you could not be near your mother when she needed you most. One can see the extreme emotional struggle that you must have undergone, especially when she was suffering from cancer. It is really sad.

      For me too, I have come back to Chennai after a hiatus of 10 years, after so many requests and struggles, since my family situation needed me badly. I too can’t brush aside the fact that my mother, who was fondly hoping for my return to chennai, died in 2007, before I could come and live with her.



  5. Nelgin
    Oct 22, 2010 @ 19:06:40

    It is so touching….expecting more like this
    With love nelgin


  6. chenni natarajhan
    Oct 23, 2010 @ 05:40:45

    someone compared Moms with welcome showers. Does it expect anything from us? That is pure Love. What we feel is our own. Hers is pure Love.


  7. vimala ramu
    Nov 16, 2010 @ 14:39:47

    Very touching.


    Dec 14, 2010 @ 16:43:31

    Dear Sir,

    I have read.The experiences you have very rightly written. I could feel your feelings. You can not see GOD , so only MOTHER is GIVEN.Infact very touching and read with emotions. IS there any one to replace in herPLACE !

    Leave a Reply


  9. Dr Anil Pande
    Dec 26, 2010 @ 13:44:50

    Dear Om ,It was very nice to read both the posts and i liked them for the truth and reality they so beautifully reveal.
    May i suggest the following books to read
    On death and dying -Elisabeth Kuber Ross
    Death Dying and Beyond -Dr Alok Pandey
    Ageless Body Timeless Mind -Deepak Chopra

    But as you write so well ,we really do not know the reaper well and despite a experience with death few would have,being a neurosurgeon and dealing with so much loss and also having to explain it too ,i realise my ignorance and lack of ablility to deal with it,
    Anil Pande


    • omsmusings
      Dec 28, 2010 @ 15:08:23

      Thank you, Dr.Anil. As you rightly said, we do not know the reaper well….But having seen you at work by the side of one of my close relatives, I always felt assured by your presence.

      And, I will surely read the books suggested by you.


  10. Sudha
    Jul 23, 2011 @ 16:26:37

    I do not know what to say – but would only say that you have given expression to an universal emotion – something which everyone had wanted to say, but sadly, did not! “Saying it when it matters most” – it is a lesson everyone has to learn. Thankyou, Om!



  11. suji79
    Sep 13, 2011 @ 11:43:44

    Nice one… liked it so much


  12. gc1963
    Oct 17, 2011 @ 02:19:43

    This is an old blog of yours and I am glad that I read it. It is touching and educating as well. We always forget to say those little things that can make a huge difference to our lives as well as lives of those who are near and dear to us. We take for granted our relationships which are so important to us and small gestures of appreciation and care take the backseat whenever they are required to be articulated.

    Most part of our days we are so busy with worldly worries that we overlook these significant communications. Saying when it matters should become the guiding rule of our lives and actions which we more often keep aside for a later time and day.


  13. Brinda
    Sep 17, 2012 @ 17:00:28

    Thanks for sharing this Om. I can honelty say that I had a lump in my throat after reading this. Mom is definetely a very special person.


  14. nataraj thatha
    Sep 18, 2012 @ 01:56:55

    yesterday was my Dad’s Birth Day. He passed away about 40 years ago. as you said my Mom took over for the next 30 years. i am the last one as you. you reflect most of my thoughts. i don’t remember to have expressed as you did. But i was there with her when she breathed her last, holding her hands..praying..both silent.Guru Bless You Om. Jai Guru.


  15. Babu
    Sep 18, 2012 @ 02:31:36

    Om ..Message have Melted me like something… bcox right from my childhood I loved her soooooooo much and as a friend I have shared everything with her till her death . There is no words to say.


  16. Kumarendra Mallick
    Sep 18, 2012 @ 06:54:41

    Dear Om, I share your nostalgic moments of remembering mother, the most precious gift to man from god!


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