Essence of Life is Life Itself

The most important thing about life is “life” itself. When life goes out of the system, there is nothing left. Unfortunately, most people, including me, forget this basic principle and tend to give importance to a lot of ancillary things like food, clothes, and relationships. In the process of gathering these ancillary distractions we forget this basic essence of life.

Over the years, I have heard these words from a number of Gurus and spiritual books . Till some days ago, I believed that I understood these words. However, the true meaning of these words hit me a few days back when I lost my second mother, “Amma” to an organ transplant gone horribly wrong. I vividly remember the hospital room with numerous machines ticking around her, keeping her body alive. The difference between body and soul has never been more stark to me, as it was in that moment. Her body was still warm. It was still breathing. It was still pumping blood, but the soul had already departed. Throughout the coming days, I felt her soul near me, smiling at me and sometimes even hugging me. Even today, I catch myself looking forward to talking to her, watching her play with children or cooking food in the kitchen. I feel her warm presence like a halo around me, still keeping all of us safe. Still saying, “Don’t worry Shilpa! I am here! Everything will be all right!”

I know close family worries about me, and the responsibilities I have on my shoulders, now. But honestly, I don’t worry as much about what food we will eat or whether I will be able to keep the house clean. I don’t worry about these ancillary things because Amma, even in her last breath left me this wonderful lesson that the most important thing about life is “life” itself. As long as I am alive, I will sort out the house one day. One day, I will learn to cook like her. One day, I will be able to manage relationships like her. One day, I will meet her again.

Till then, I will continue to thank God for sending Amma in my life and for keeping life breathing inside me. I also thank the many full of life, family members who have been around us since that fateful moment. They constantly remind me on how to live life, even when there is nothing but an empty road that I see ahead of me, for now.


P.S – There are innumerable emotions right now brimming inside me. I am sure there will many more thoughts that will pour forward in the coming days.

Toyna drew this drawing of Amma maybe two years ago.

The Two Faces of each Child

I entered home yesterday to ear piercing screams of Yog, coming somewhere from the second floor. From the quality of the scream, I could make out something was definitely wrong. I could smell Dettol as I started climbing the steps. I am proud to say that I did not panic at that moment. I do not panic at the smell of Dettol anymore. I calmly called out to Yog and his Nanny (Parvathi) came out of the room carrying the heavy weight, howling Yog in her skinny arms. I felt sympathy for her even before I could form an emotion for Yog. I immediately transferred the load from her arms to mine and gently carried the sobbing, Dettol smelling Yog to the sitting room couch. Toyna followed close behind. I asked what happened and there was an instant cacophony of sounds from multiple directions. Parvathi, Toyna and Yog had their own version of the story to tell. Trying to follow three different stories at the same time, I understood that Yog hated cycling, his shirt had torn off and Toyna had applied first aid to his back and elbow.

I thanked Toyna for her courage and quick thinking in taking care of Yog. I then inspected Yogs wounds carefully. I assured Yog that there was no serious injury and he would be fine in no time. Yog calmed down and hugged me close while still sitting in my lap. As soon as his sobs subsided, I heard another set of sobs from the background. I turned around to find Toyna sobbing uncontrollably now. She had retained her cool, all this while, to take care of Yog. Now that, Yog was fine and I was in control of the situation, she let go of her guard and her emotions flowed freely as tears down her cheeks. The pain that had bothered Yog physically had bothered Toyna more, emotionally. We three sat together on the couch for some time, hugging each other and thanking God that no one was seriously hurt.

This morning, Yog tried playing victim with me. “My hand is paining! I will not go to school!” Without commenting, I applied some medicine and bandaged the wound in a white bandage in the process of getting him ready for school. While the wound was not as serious to deserve a bandage, my experience told me that a big white bandage has magical powers to transform a wound into a bravery badge. Children love these badges, especially for school. Yog inspected the bandage carefully. After he was convinced that the bandage looked serious enough, he picked his school bag and rushed out for school.

As expected, he was bombarded with questions about the bandage as soon as he boarded the school bus. From the road, I could see, Yog basking in the glory of being the center of attraction. He immediately narrated the story of the evil cycle and the brave Yog. All though I couldn’t hear the story, I could read it from the expressions on his face as the bus rolled away in front of me. I smiled.

Every child has two characters – one which faces the Mother and the other when the Mother is not looking. Each child loves to remain a child, till the Mother is around. Lo and behold! The childhood magically transforms into a brave knight, courageous doctor or committed student as soon as soon as they know that the Mother is not around. Each child is completely capable of fighting their own battles, but then there is something so special about letting go and crying in the arms of your mother. When you are with your Mother, you know you are not being judged. You know she will keep you safe. Most importantly, you know everything will be all right.

Don’t worry, if your child depends on you for everything at home. Remember, they still go to school, play at the park, and even sleep on their own, away from you. Deep down, they are capable of taking care of themselves and even their younger siblings. But then everyone needs the indulgent love of a mother for some part in the day. I know I still do. So go ahead and indulge them and yourselves, while you can. These years are not going to last forever.