We Are The Choices That We Make

Dear Armeen,

Your mother was one of the most headstrong women I knew, but that is something you've probably already figured out by now. Whether it was waking up for school after me so she could get the extra 10 minutes of sleep, or spending all of her time waiting for the job offer that would justify her talents while letting everything else that came her way pass, she knew exactly what she wanted and how she would get it. More importantly, she always believed that things would eventually work out in her favour, and that patience is the key. It was very rare that I saw her lose her temper on anyone (except for me, of course) and the calmness and grace with which she would handle every challenge that came her way was something we all could learn heaps from.

There is this one hilarious incident that comes to mind when talking about how your mother handled certain situations. She had gone to watch a film in one of the movie theatres in Mumbai. It was around that time, that the government had passed a law stating that the Indian National Anthem is played before the start of any movie in theatres, and in effect, audiences were expected to stand for the Anthem. There was this one particular gentleman, who by virtue of his terrible luck, was seated next to Sam. For reasons best known to him, he decided not to stand up in respect of the National Anthem. This obviously irked your mother. Now Sam always loved putting people in their place, sometimes just for the fun of it, and this was the perfect opportunity for her to put her "moral policing" façade on. She turned around casually, flung her bag over her shoulder making sure that it hit the man right across his face (hard) and caught his attention. He looked up at her wondering what on earth was going on when she politely reminded him about the anthem playing in the background and asked him to show some respect to the Nation. He stood up without a word.

Your mother’s inputs have always been extremely crucial in whatever we have decided to pursue in our lives. By rule, I had to consult her on every little decision I would make, whether I liked it or not was immaterial. Most times, her advice would be exactly the opposite of what I’d want to hear, and I’d hate her for it! Needless to say, in the long run, it always worked out for the best. Her standard statement then would be, “Loser, always listen to me!” And then, I'd hate her even more ;)

It wasn’t just me that she would lend her pearls of wisdom to. Our parents couldn’t function without her either. No family discussion amongst the grown-ups was complete without her involvement. When she got married and moved away, Skype calls would be scheduled to learn about her opinion on matters. Even amongst the extended family, no plans would get the go ahead if she wasn’t a part of them. Her friends too would call her their agony aunt as she’d give them advice on matters till 4 am! In a manner of speaking, she truly was the nucleus of our world, and she knew it! I must admit, things like that would make me quite the jealous younger sister!

For someone who more often than not made the best decisions for herself, did just what she thought was right and always advised people in their time of need, it is quite ironical then that her entire life would also depend on the one final decision she would have to make! And when she did make that call, it shook all of us to our bones. I try to rationalize it every single day, in the hope that it makes a little more sense to me than it did the previous day. The decision to be transferred to hospice care (if and when all treatments failed) instead of being put on life support and rely on a miracle was, by no stretch of the imagination, an easy one. The fact that she was 29 years old, and her dreams were just about starting to unfold, didn’t make the situation any easier. Then there was you –her heart, her soul and everything that she had ever wished for. How could she possibly let go of a life that involved growing up with you, giving you the world, raising you to be the beautiful, strong woman that you’re destined to be! But then again, none of it would even be possible if she chose to live, waiting for a miracle to occur! What kind of life would that be – for her, for you and for all those who loved her! And so on the 12th of September 2015, the day after she looked at the doctor and asked her if it was all over, your mother was transferred to the hospice, keeping in line with her wishes. It was here that her journey to the other – much better – world began. 8 days later, she looked at all of us, held your hand and said her final goodbye!

We will all meet her again someday - that is certain! Till then, you just have to remember what an incredible woman she was and know for a fact that every decision that you make in your life will always and always have her backing! Life is made up of infinite number of choices. At some point in time of your life or the other, you’re going to be put in situations that you won’t know how to get out of. At such times, close your eyes, think about all of the things you have read and heard about your mother and ask yourself what she would do. And then, you can rest assured that you can do no wrong!

Stay healthy always, Armeen!

Love,

Maasi


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