Sunday, May 19, 2013

Love Is A Thing Of Memory~

‘I am writing a Tribute to Mom in association with

The moment I read the above line, I nodded and decided to dive into my family pond. The environment of my home was built on principles derived from traditional values nurtured through ages of a Bengali society. Like every Bengali home, my upbringing was also designed to promote performing arts along with formal academics.

My mother was not formally trained in music,but, singing came to her naturally. The sheer grandeur of ragas, or the sublime beauty of thumri, dadra, alaap mesmerized her deeply. She had a sweet, melodious voice, so she could sing light classical songs quite effortlessly. She started my informal music training at home pretty early, so that the mind gets focused on fostering a love of music during the formative years..Later, of course, I took my formal music training from Gandharva Maha Vidyalaya, under the guidance of Pt. Vinay Chandra Maudgalya: he's fondly called Bhai-jee! I completed 'alankar' along with my formal academic education.It wasn't easy, but Maa  gave me the tenacity and unwavering support, hope and encouragement whenever it was needed...

I gave vocal performances in music concertos, radio and TV; bagged some awards as well...The perennial conviction that those who work hard and play by the rules will be rewarded with a more stronger future was taught to me by my mother, and it sounds so true!  I am not only grateful for the rich and varied opportunities my mother created for me, but I am grateful to her for having taught me to worship music. Music is priceless. Today, when my vocal chord is slackening with age--Ah, that's the last thing I ever expected in my life. I have to really strain to sing now. And when I sing on a higher pitch, the voice breaks, makes a squeaky, screechy sound, and makes me tired from exertion.But, it is nice that I can at least, appreciate, enjoy listening to songs, music still perks up my spirit. Thankfully, since I grew up with music, I am emotionally attached to the sounds of music...

Maa was a graduate in mathematics from Dacca University, a prestigious educational institution of undivided Bengal. Her family crossed over to West Bengal in 1946 following an outbreak of communal violence in East Pakistan and settled down in Delhi; and their search for jobs began. With the Partition, refugees were given the option of taking up jobs on either side of the border, according to their qualifications. So, my Maa also got a job-offer and received training at the Army Head Quarters…and started off her career as a statistical Assistant, with Ministry of Home Affairs. She continued to work and eventually superannuated in 1988.

In the spring of 1966, my dad was transferred to Udaipur. But, maa didn’t quit her job. I still remember, the monster in me behaved hideously ...being the apple of daddy's eyes, and a bit pampered at that, I only made things difficult and added to her problems. But, my mother drew me tighter and tighter with her calm and systematic counselings. My dad took my elder brother away and I, gently latched on to Maa like a baby-monkey…

Maa and I spent twelve long years together. And during these years, a strong bond between us actually blossomed. This is the time, when I saw every shade and texture of a mother, a self-respecting woman in her. Living all by herself, she not only enforced an identity for herself, but instilled basic values, courage and elements of feminine ego, (though not what we truly mean by femininity) and pride in me.I admire my Mom’s strength more as a woman today!!

She had made a decision and she stuck to it by all means- that was her strength!!  She made sincere effort to remove the small irritants and usher in a path leading to harmony. Those days, all our vacations were spent in Udaipur with my father and brother; summer holidays were spent on traveling, touring together...The days were too few but the joys aplenty!! Dad joined us soon after his retirement, by then my brother had started working and was back in Delhi too!

My mother was a fighter. Even after her second diagnosis of cancer, she fought to have the life she wanted in her final years. She knew cancer would end her life soon, so she decided to spend time in Kolkata surrounded by her family, brothers and sisters.

She left us on 23rd, April’96...

Today, being a mother myself, while speculating on different aspects of a mother's life, I feel fame, wealth, status are actually petty substitutes for the joys of motherhood.No pleasure in life can be greater than looking at the blissful faces of children, who have the knack of making mothers feel wanted in the world!!I am blessed with one myself!


  1. Motherhood, indeed, is special. This is a lovely post :)

    Good luck with the contest!

    1. That was a lovely compliment, Rainbow...! Thank you for getting involved with the story that deeply. Good luck to you too!!:)

  2. Panchali, I enjoyed reading this so much. It is wonderful to read your reflections as a woman, daughter, mother in a country so far away from my own. Your mother sounds like she was a woman ahead of her time. Was she? Or was she typical? (She seemed to almost be a feminist in her strength and what she fostered in you.)

    How fortunate you were that she gave you the gift of music, appreciation and performance. This is something that I am sure has brought you joy throughout your life and will continue to do so. I am wondering....did you give this same 'gift' to your daughter? I would guess such gifts are most often passed on.

    I think you should do a You-tube video of you singing! How about it? I would love to see / listen.

    And you are right, motherhood is special. But, hmmmmm, grandmotherhood isn't bad either. You will see when it is time!

  3. Wow! Inspiring Mother! It's sad that she died of cancer....

  4. So much it teaches .. being a mother and following a mother !! I am spellbound !! Speechless !! Indeed worth all praises .. your mother and this post !

  5. That was a beautiful tribute...

  6. Such a warm heartfelt tribute, each word striking the soul. What would we be without our mothers, their unconditional love and support is second to none.

  7. A tribute from the heart. Such is the relationship that cannot be expressed unless ruffled by soft emotions that finally leave a smile amidst silent tears of losing and missing mother.

  8. Wow.. mathematics and music together..hats off to ur mum Ma'am
    Mothers are so perfect!!!

  9. Very Inspiring!

  10. Touching.... Mother the word itself is so magical <3

  11. Sorry to hear about your mom. Cancer is one evil. And I was not aware of your singing genius. You have to sing for me whenever we meet. And please share your achievements with us.

    Your mother was a very intelligent female and you are no less. I agree with you, there's nothing like the joys of motherhood.

  12. In True words heartfelt tribute

  13. Hi Panchali this is real tribute to a Mother ,who herself was so efficient and versatile. The 'Sanskars" that you inherited from your Mother, who herslf was such a talented ,strong willed and graceful lady, are ingrained in your personality. Hats off to your Maa.
    BTW i was also a student of Bhai ji and learnt music from him. He was a great man, so humble and soft spoken that any one who has been in his company, can never forget him.

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  15. excellent piece of writing, really heart touching. keep it up

  16. Mothers are special. Wonderful tribute to mother.

  17. A lovely tribute to mother and motherhood...and it was really inspiring to know about your mother Panchali mam and am would be passing off the values to the upcoming generations as well...!!!

  18. Your mother was quite an achiever-one cannot but admire her strength & positivity-which she has passed on to you.And fashioning you into an expert singer was a gift you will cherish life-long;among all others of course.One can never pay off a mother's debts.

  19. Such a beautiful write-up about your Ma, Panchali di! I truly enjoyed reading this!

  20. I totally love your blog and hence, I have nominated you with Liebster Award.

    You can collect it here... :)


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