Reflections Relationships

My Mother, My Self

My Mother My Self. A letter to my mom

Dear Mi,

And another year has whizzed by. I find it hard to believe that it is now nine years, Mi. Of course, you are in our hearts, encouraging us with your wisdom and humor, but it does not compensate for your presence. Yet, what can we do? Keep your memories alive, that’s all we can do.

April is such a special month, Mi! Your birthday. Festivals. April holds another precious memory! As I went through my precious box of letters, I came across the little card you sent me after I called you to give you the news that I am going to be a Mom, in 1997. I am glad I took a pic of it, because I think I may have smudged some of the words with my tears over the years.

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Letters. Lovely to receive and in my case, lovely to write.⠀ .⠀ My Mom was a wonderful letter writer and whoever received them treasured them. She sent me this note along with a ten page letter in April '97 after she whooped with joy when I told her I was going to become a Mommy. The letter had loads of advice, loads of love and tips. I still have it.⠀ .⠀ I treasure the letters I've received from my favorite people. I have started to take photos of some as they're practically disintegrating–old paper you know. So precious!⠀ .⠀ During my childhood, we'd settle down every Sunday, after lunch to write letters to family and friends in other cities. Some would get post cards, some inland letters and the dearest ones, an envelope with a card and a longish letter. I remember my aunts and uncles kept my letters for decades–and would read and re-read them.⠀ .⠀ Then there were penpals. People we did not know but became friends with, through the laborious process of sending handwritten letters to different countries. Sigh. Lovely days!⠀ .⠀ .⠀ .⠀ .⠀ #fms_letters #fmspad #fmsphotoaday #instagood #lifethroughmylens #nostalgia #mymomsletters #handwriting #mindfulness #snailmail #happymail #penpals #youvegotmail #penpal #snailmaillove #sendmoremail #stationery #snailmailrevival #postcrossing #outgoingmail #handmade #stamps #writemoreletters #letters #postcards #outgoing #post #snailmailideas

A post shared by Vidya Sury (@vidyasury) on

This reminds me of the inspiring quotes you would write in the letters and cards you sent me when I was in the 6th standard, away from home in the boarding school. There was this one particular quote that stayed in my mind. Something about great people (focused people?) studying in the light of the street lamps–how they struggled to reach their goals. Years later, when I sat up late to read books, you’d always tease me about the impact that quote had on my life!

April is full of celebrations with Rama Navami and the Tamil New Year but the biggest celebration is your birthday. I am laughing to recall one of your birthdays when we were broke and resorted to making idlis and sticking a candle in one, then singing happy birthday. That became the broke birthday bash ever after! And you’d say it is only a matter of postponing the party to when our pocket was plentiful!

So anyway, yesterday was Rama Navami.

I have fond memories of Ram Navami but my favorite is the one with you and Vidur. I remember when he was just beginning to read, the two of you decided to read the cartoon Ramayana because he wouldn’t let you read the Sundarakandam from the Ramayana that you usually read over the ten days preceding the festival. You’d laugh helplessly at how quickly that finished! But oh, those proud moments of offering the prasadam of the day.

Why did we never take photos of those? Sigh. Had it been now, we’d have a photo for every moment like this! I guess that’s why the memories are beautiful, without the distraction of clicking photos! I am glad though, that there are lots of pictures of you and him together. Yep, a bit envious that we don’t have that many together, what with mostly being behind the lens.

I had the dilemma of whether to make payasam or chakrapongal. Some consultation later, decided to make paruppu payasam. I am sure you would have made both if you’d been around. In honor of Ram Navami, I enjoyed salad and neer mor. Forgot to get the raw mango which takes the salad to the next level!

I made the paruppu payasam yesterday instead of for New Year’s today, as Sury will be traveling and I figured it is better to make it when he’s around to enjoy it. Reminded me of when we’d push around festival days to our convenience because you believed that you need people to celebrate, not some date on the calendar. And now, that’s precisely what I do, too. Festivals are when the three of us are together.

We are celebrating your birthday by serving the kids at Seva Sadan breakfast today, Mi. There will be a sweet with the meal. I am also taking things to the kids at the construction sites around our place, just like you used to. I always admired you for carrying that bag of yours with something in it every time you stepped out of the house, to give away. I loved how aware you were of the people you saw or met when you were outside. Oh, the flower ladies remember you fondly and gratefully and always mention how you always took them things or clothes. Most of all, they remember how you listened to them.

These days, I grate cucumber instead of dicing it. I then mix it with curd and enjoy it. You’ve no idea how much I miss you when I make it—you used to enjoy it so much and appreciate every spoonful!

From you, I have learned to live in the moment, Mi. Appreciating the small things. I’ve learned to let go of expectations—from people and situations. Sometimes it is really hard, especially when the person appears close. I try my best to do things simply because they make me happy. I try to give, with no thought of reciprocation, just like Grandma and you did. Although, I am not completely there yet.

I know I’ve said this before, but I never associated the word “old” with you. And now, I sadly realize that you didn’t stay around long enough to be called old. You left us when you were barely 64, suddenly and unexpectedly, just when we were looking forward to your recovery. I also realize that you never acted old, what with your cheerful attitude and unconditional kindness towards all. I consider myself fortunate that we were not just mother-daughter, but also best friends of the best kind. I’ll never have another friend like you. As my mentor you always encouraged me forward, urging me to experiment and stretch out of my comfort zone.

When I came back home from the boarding school after the sixth grade, I remember how you enjoyed me singing this song to you.

Mother of mine, you gave to me
All of my life, to do as I please
I owe everything, I have to you
Mother sweet Mother of mine

Happy birthday, Mi!

In loving memory my mom my self

My Mother is the most generous soul I know. Generous in life, generous in death. Her last wish was that we donate her body to medicine. We did, to St. Johns Medical College, Bangalore.

My mother my self. A letter to my mom on her birthday

16 Comments

  • Reply
    Soumya
    April 15, 2019 at 6:09 pm

    This breaks my heart and yet makes me smile.

    You are a gorgeous reflection of your mother, Vidya. Her presence is felt in everything you do and say as well.

    Lots of love! <3
    Soumya recently posted…M: Michelle Obama #AToZChallenge

  • Reply
    Roshan Radhakrishnan
    April 15, 2019 at 6:47 pm

    This is such a lovely heartfelt tribute. I love that you are honoring her by serving needing children. The best possible way to do so.
    Roshan Radhakrishnan recently posted…Local Police & Firefighters give Autistic boy the best day of his life

  • Reply
    Dawna
    April 15, 2019 at 6:56 pm

    Sending you love, Vidya! My mom passed in 2007, and I promised her that I would always celebrate her life on her birthday, April 10th, rather than mourn her passing on her “Angel Day”. May today be a gentle day for you. <3
    Dawna recently posted…Miracles, Everyday: A to Z Blogging Challenge

  • Reply
    Lael
    April 15, 2019 at 10:03 pm

    This is a gorgeous tribute. <3
    Lael recently posted…M is for *Melatonin For S.A.D. A-Z Challenge.

  • Reply
    Geethica Mehra
    April 15, 2019 at 10:23 pm

    You must have relived every moment while writing this letter to your mother. Many times I remember my maternal grandma this way. She was also a Tamilian and I grew up with her only when my mom was in the job. There are many special moments just in our memory and not on the camera reel. I guess that is why they are special.

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      April 16, 2019 at 4:16 pm

      True, Geethica. The mind remembers everything. You’re fortunate you had a wonderful Grandmother. Thank you for your lovely comment.

  • Reply
    Inderpreet Uppal
    April 15, 2019 at 11:07 pm

    This is so loving and emotional. Happy birthday to your mom. Hugs Vidya. It’s a beautiful post. I really enjoy these posts filled with your love for your mom.
    Inderpreet Uppal recently posted…M is Mexico #TravelWithBooks #AtoZchallenge @AprilA2Z

  • Reply
    Shilpa Gupte
    April 15, 2019 at 11:33 pm

    I was imagining you sitting at your table and talking to your mum as you typed this post, and your mum, looking at you lovingly and nodding her head as you reminisced about the days gone by.
    Hugs, Vidya! It was heart-warming and touching, all at the same time. <3
    Shilpa Gupte recently posted…M – Practise Mindfulness. #AtoZChallenge.

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      April 16, 2019 at 4:14 pm

      Thanks, Shilpa. She really was my best friend and there’s no one like her. I am grateful to have wonderful memories of her.

  • Reply
    Rachna Parmar
    April 16, 2019 at 8:58 am

    This is so beautiful, Vidya. You made me tear up especially since April is also the month when I lost my mum. They always live in our hearts, Vidya, and continue to guide us. Love and hugs.
    Rachna Parmar recently posted…Methi Muthia Recipe | How to Make Methi Muthiya (Step-by-step Recipe)

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      April 16, 2019 at 4:14 pm

      You are right. Hugs, Rachna. We may carry on, but the pain never goes away. We can only console ourselves because we’re blessed to have our Moms.

  • Reply
    Alice Gerard
    April 19, 2019 at 8:22 am

    What a beautiful tribute to your mom. It is painful to lose a parent and not to be able to make memories with that person anymore. I love the letters. They are such an expression of love.

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