My friend, also my colleague, lost her Mother last week and naturally I feel very sad, more so because our lives touched. Like my Mom, she was kind and generous.
I met her a few months ago. I was de-cluttering and asked my friend if she was interested in large containers. She said yes and I packed half a dozen for her to take. Not wanting to give empty containers, I filled one with biscuits. As it happened, she couldn’t come home to pick them up as she returned home late every evening. I told her not to worry and said I would drop them off, since she does not live far from my place.
So I set out, with the large bags and after some difficulty found her place. Her Mom welcomed me in. She was pleased that I had dropped the containers off and insisted that I have some coffee. Now, that’s usually an offer I can’t refuse – and didn’t. Conscious that I had to get back home as soon as possible as I had work to do, I had the coffee and got ready to leave. Then, rather reminiscent of my own Mom, she asked if I had had breakfast. I hadn’t. She refused to let me leave and said there was no way I was returning home without eating breakfast at their place.
I was touched by love
What followed was a very loving experience that reminded me so much of my own Mom. I had masala dosa with coconut chutney and sambhar, which she made while I waited. I felt pretty much like a beached whale after I topped it off with another coffee. When I finally got ready to say ‘bye, she gave me a coconut and two chunks of jaggery. Traditions vary, but it is usually customary in South Indian families to offer married women a turmeric and vermillion when they leave. If available, a coconut, fruits, betel leaves with betel nut, flowers, a gift and so on. Sometimes we add bangles depending on what day it is. It is especially auspicious to offer this on Fridays.
So, anyway, my friend’s Mother offered me bangles as well. But they did not fit, so I gently declined them. Just as I reached their gate, she asked me to wait and rushed back in. She brought a little box with these beauties inside. Ceramic salt and pepper shakers. She said there was no way she was going to use them and gave me the box. I was, of course, delighted and as soon as I reached home, couldn’t wait to place the set on my kitchen shelf where I would see them every day.
As the months went by, my friend’s Mom decided to replace all her kitchen containers with the set I sent her, and I was inspired to pass on another dozen or so. And each time I would send her biscuits, because my friend told me they became her Mom’s favorite.
We were all worried when she had to be admitted in hospital when her health took a turn for the worse. Sadly she did not recover and breathed her last two weeks ago. Her eyes were immediately harvested and thanks to her, someone has the gift of sight today.
Today they had the “vaikunta samaraadhane” – these are rituals performed on the thirteenth day after a person dies and the day when the departed soul reaches its heavenly abode or vaikunta.
I was invited for lunch and went along with Vidur since he was back from school. We had a sumptuous lunch in the traditional South Indian style served on a banana leaf. The cooking was superb and I thanked the caterers who had lovingly served the food, cajoling everyone to eat a little more of this and a little more of that.
Later, while leaving, my friend took me to her kitchen to show me how her Mom had arranged those containers. I just couldn’t speak, I didn’t trust my voice. I came back home with a full, yet somewhat heavy heart.
Touched by love.
Who knows when a loved one will cease to exist.
So please, celebrate all those lives you touch with love, the lives that touch yours, however fleetingly.
Don’t hold grudges. Look at the positive side of things.
Live with intention.
Don’t forget to feel grateful.
Don’t forget to say your I love yous.
Thank you for your presence here today!
May your life be as bright as these rangoli designs made by children – school kids! They are colored with colored powder. The base is white – mixed with colors to produce different shades. Sometimes flower petals are also used.
Question for you:
Have you been touched by love? How?
Please share in the comments!
P.S.: I’ve validated my word count for the NaNoWriMo although my novel is far from done. Did you participate? How’s it coming along?