Read on how to enrich your life by purpose, i.e. to find depth and, a reason to get out of bed each morning, your own Ikigai.
The ‘chemical locha’ (just like Munnabhai MBBS suffered from) that I suspected was actually my mother’s life lessons that was guiding my choices!
This was about a year after my mother left us for the eternal world. With her gone in such a hurry, my not-yet-ready shoulders had to take up some of her responsibilities. Although in my mid-thirties, I found myself too immature and too naive to fit into her shoes.
She had been the driving force of the family and was looked up to as a prominent, daring and courageous woman who paved the way for many more to carve their own niche in the society. How do I be like her? Or rather, how do I do what she did?
Trying to cope with the feeling of not having her around and managing everything related to her (and me) to the best of my ability, I realised that I was doing what was precisely needed to be done at that hour. The days went by and things sorted out on their own with little help from me.
Suddenly, I realized one day that I did not feel like my mother was not there with me. It was as if she was with me all the time talking to me, advising me, telling me what to do and what not to do. Whenever in doubt, I found her showing me the path.
The realization brought with it a lot of questions. I started asking myself whether really she was talking to me or was I conjuring up her presence? Was I not ready to let her go? Was I trying to have some confirmation from the supernatural forces about whatever steps I am taking? It was an eerie feeling almost to the brink of being scary.
Then, one day as I was browsing through television channels, I stumbled on the movie ‘Lage Raho Munna Bhai’. I had seen the movie before but the scene at that point did strike a chord with me. It was the scene where the doctor says that Munna bhai has some ‘chemical locha’ in his brain because of too much reading about Mahatma Gandhi.
Hallucination, or conjuring up figures and making them responsible for one’s actions, was very well described by Munna Bhai as ‘chemical locha’ in a common person’s language. He looks at an invisible figure for confirmation to whatever his brain was telling him.
The scene suddenly felt very much like my own situation. I asked myself, “Do I have a ‘chemical locha’ in my brain too?” The thought was too heavy to bear and I even contemplated going to the psychiatrist for help. But then another realization hit me. Whatever may be the reason, whether a ‘chemical locha’ or really a supernatural force, it was not making me do anything wrong. It was simply showing me the right way to deal with a situation, the right words to speak at that moment, the right decision to take at a certain point of time. So, what was wrong in following that?
I did some self-evaluation, some self-realization and came to a conclusion. May be I was doing whatever I had been taught by my mother.
I was with my parents till my 16th year and from then onwards I have been staying in the hostel going home only during vacations. Whatever was told and taught during school days at home formed the foundation of whatever the world had to teach me in the ensuing days. I was to face the world on my own but my mother never left me alone.
All throughout my hostel days my mother wrote letters to me. The letters were a kind of conversation about anything that comes to the mind. She was a person of literature and so, could beautifully and wonderfully express in words. The weekly letters were about simple things like changing of the season, a movie, some news, a person or the birds in our backyard. As I look back now, I learnt a lot from my mother through those letters, for those were our exchange of ideas and thoughts about life through discussions and debate.
A mother lays the foundation for learning in a child and we look up to her to find answers. She explains things according to her perspective and knowledge. But, a person has to have his/her own perspective, own ability to analyse and accept a piece of information as knowledge.
How does a mother help attain this state? She can force her child to think and act as taught. But mothers don’t always do that. She introduces the paints and colours of life but doesn’t draw the picture herself. She helps her children paint their life with colours of their choice. Different people can paint different pictures with the same colours. It’s completely dependent of the painter’s outlook, experience, understanding and desire. But the importance of a white canvas and the art is instilled in a child through the mother.
She also portrays the need of patience so that if a shade goes wrong, her child doesn’t get disappointed or even tear up the canvas. She is adamant that there is only one canvas. A wrong shade can be made right with a little understanding but the canvas cannot be changed.
Overall, a person becomes independent and self-motivated with an individuality based on the teachings imparted by the parents. Fathers too play a pivotal role and it will take another essay to describe that. But mothers start communicating with the baby in the womb even before we are born. May be the connection remains forever even without the umbilical cord.
My mother completed her picture but left clues which I could decipher because knowingly or unknowingly, I was a keen observer of her life. Just as Munna Bhai did unexpected things on his own based on the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi, I must be doing according to the lessons learnt from my mother.
The “chemical locha” is actually a gift I inherited from Maa.
Image source: youtube.
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