The centre of her universe never changes. Putting herself last is second nature to her. No matter how old you grow, she never stops worrying about you—not because you can’t take care of yourself, but because she’s Mother. And from the bounteous wisdom most mothers share with their children—friendly advice, words of caution, a gentle nudge, a stern look—some words live on forever. For Mother’s Day, which falls this month, we asked our readers, acquaintances and website visitors to tell us about the best advice their mothers gave them. Here are some:
A soothing prayer
As a climate-change campaigner, getting into stressful situations is all in a day’s work for 24-year-old Ayesha D’Souza of Delhi. “Raising awareness about environmental issues includes changing people’s mindsets as well as negotiating with the government and large corporations—sometimes going against their wishes. When I strive so hard to make a change and don’t see my passion rubbing off on others, I get disheartened,” she says. That’s when Ayesha remembers an old prayer her mother taught her:
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.
“Just reciting that mentally helps remove the stress and soothe my mind,” says Ayesha.
Never give up
“Back when I was growing up, I would start a task with great enthusiasm but leave it midway and move on to something else,” says 23-year-old Suyash Gautam, an Ujjain, MP, businessman. “It’s like I’d start the car, stop en route, blame the roads, the weather and the traffic. Soon I’d start a different car and repeat the same all over again. But I’d be frustrated.” Hearing that story of his life, Suyash’s mother told him something that has made his days much easier ever since. “Don’t worry,” she said. “Just start the engine once more. This time though, visualize the end of your journey. The roads, the traffic and the climate may be hideous. But stay focused on the reward your journey is going to yield and the routes shall become pleasant. It’s mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it won’t matter.” In 2009, Suyash embarked on writing his first novel and finished it the next year.
Be there for others
For Laxmi Sivakumar, 36, it was her mother’s deeds, more than words, that left an indelible imprint. “As a kid, I’d see her reaching out to others. Amma never hesitated for a moment to say ‘Don’t worry, I’m with you’ and would indeed be there for other people in times of trouble until everything was taken care of,” recalls the Kozhikode-based interior designer. Laxmi also learnt from her mother, now 63, that help need not be financial; that emotional and moral support can be important too. “For instance, our new neighbours, not fluent in Malayalam, got inquisitive looks from others,” recalls Laxmi, “but Amma went over and tried her best to make them comfortable in their new setting. Today, when in doubt or faced with a difficult situation, I always ask myself ‘What would Amma have done?’ and I usually get the answer.”
All for the best
A Hindu-Muslim love marriage in 1976 without family support meant building a new life from scratch for Sameer Kulavoor’s parents. “Mom endured a hard life giving up her job to be a full-time mother and bringing up three kids. But her optimism and
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