To the last lease – Kalpana Nair

She was full of life, effervescent, extroverted and just `got into’ every situation she was put in and brought it to life. So much life in one person, that she probably extracted more out of it than many would. My mother, who died 1 year ago, on May 16, 2018, was 85 years old.

Full of spunk and always said `when in Rome,’ meaning, embrace the culture, the attire the way of life of where ever you are, so you may be able to enjoy the moment better.

She taught me a lot. Her own life was an example. She did not make a progressive, feminist statement to me saying if you are unhappy, leave him. Instead she counselled me to support my man when he was in his worst. She said that’s when it is support. In better times, we all can. But in your worst is when you need help and support and in a way that is understood by your closest ones. A support that needs no words to be present and manifests itself when most needed and takes whatever shape it is required to take to fit in to the mangled mess you become, to be the pillar for you.

I did not understand all of what she said then. Now, however, after she is gone, her words ring in my ears. I understand what she meant. I have become my mother. Earlier, like my kids do to me now, I would stand and correct her pronunciations and think she does not say some words right.

Today I know the intent of all the words she would say. Whether pronounced incorrectly or not. I get it completely now.

The fallacy of a moment taken for granted. Gone too soon.  Irrevocable. What all would I do today to listen to those mispronounced words I used to find funny? What all would I sacrifice now, just to sit next to her and speak a few words with her again? Look at her differently. Listen to every word.

Despite this realisation, however, I go back to still taking things for granted so often. I do not hear the tiny tunes my kids break into every now and then. I am too busy organising the other things for them, that I do not see their unbridled laughter at silly things. I correct and control them trying to discipline them and forget to notice the hours they have spent working on an assignment while I was not looking.

My mother lived a wholesome life. She sang and she danced. She wore costumes and participated in everything she could get her hands on. She was a very fine Doctor of Medicine, an MD and worked her whole life. She never let the fun of her life get lost in her work though. If anything, she made lists and organised her days and time so she could make the most of a day.

Her attitude was to live life to the fullest. Which means, if problems got her, she got them right back. It did not submerge her or make her go into a loop of lunacy or any kind of spiral. She just walked on, tall and in full faith that all the gods she believed in were her Agents of S. S being Saroj, my mother. She knew she was protected. She trusted and loved in equal measure.

Her joie de vivre and spunk were unmatched. Her love, sincerity and affection for all, not only her family were unmatched. She lived so well.

My message here for me and for so many others like me, young and old, is that this is the moment we have. To live and to laugh and to love and to be. Do not take anything for granted and live with each of your loved ones soaking in every little nuance. It is this moment that you will cherish for eternity. Support one another now, show up, even for your own self, every time.

Her father (my grandfather) while pouring tea from a kettle would always say (with an excited glint in his eyes), as he poured the last few drops from the kettle – `to the last lease’ – meaning pouring out the absolute last drop of tea from it till no more drops were left.

This is what my mother did with her life – lived it so well, every second, every drop enjoyed till no more drops were left, poured it out `to the lease.’ It ran in the family, this zest for life and now I know why my brother and I are blessed with her sense of life, trust and positivity.

To the last lease, mom!

The writer is a Certified Life Coach from the Life Coach Training Institute from San Diego, USA. [Courtesy: ToI]