Mother is the One Who..!
by Brig® Mehboob Qadir
Mothers Day came quietly this year among a series of commemorative days which followed each other in succession quick enough to leave hardly any footprint in their wake .Then there is that ever present maddening turmoil around us which degrades and badly dilutes one’s power of reflective thinking. It is a terrible tragedy of our times that even our considered thoughts have also become inelegant and mundane. However Mothers Day had been different in many ways. In distressed eastern societies like ours a mother is not only the pivot of a family’s stability but also exercises a strong centripetal pull over her immediate family members orbiting around her and a magnificent shelter against sun and shower like a strong shady tree. A mother therefore has a magnetizing place in the scheme of our inner psyche, tenderly kept in a fond niche for ever.
TV channels, newspapers and radio networks were full of talk shows, interviews and plays emphasizing a mother’s central place in the family cross weave, her invaluable role in building a society and a few, coincidentally, touched upon her sentimental significance in our lives. This was apparent from the way some guests broke down remembering their long gone mothers. Our emotional vulnerability on this score is directly proportionate to our woefully barren moral environments and frost bitten hearts. This is a special structure where children more than the mother tend to lean on each other emotionally.
Tender emotions are the engines that drive people to superlative deeds, motivation and relentless determination. Sattar Edhi, Mother Teresa, Sir Ganga Ram, Baba Guru Nanak and Hazrat Ali Hajveri could not have built their sentiments empires some of which have lived on for centuries, if they were not driven by their extraordinary compassion. Every mother must find her rightful place among this brilliant galaxy.
One recollects a newspaper photo of a poor Pathan mother wading through raging flash flood near Nowshera in 2010 carrying her two baby children firmly planted over her shoulders. She was already chin deep as the roaring waters whirled past but her eyes flamed with fearless determination to save her kids ,come what may. This vivid but splendid image of an ultimate mother has remained with me ever since, and draws instant respect and admiration every time I remember that absolutely incomparable picture.
Ever since the destructive break up of her family my daughter and her lovely son live with us. They are such a great pleasure to have around, particularly that whirring dynamo of mischief in the house; our grandson Shayaan. It is quite natural to grow very fond of one’s grandchildren, muted protests by their parents notwithstanding just as we proceed to spoil them. The other day she was reading out some interesting quotes from perhaps a children’s page from a newspaper within an earshot. The exchange was something like this:
‘School is a place where parents pay for children to play; nurse is the one who wakes you up to give you sleeping pills; Father is the one who is a banker provided by nature’. Never to miss an opportunity this frisky little fellow came up with a quote of his own,’ Mother is the one who kicks you in the butt if you fail in exams’. This says it all and so comprehensively.
The care, the concern and the driving ambition of a mother for her children to be well and succeed always, could not possibly be described more succinctly. Ready to risk her life to save her children, be around in their hour of pain and difficulty and to ensure their success by all means at her disposal are what mothers are made of. Yet ask nothing in return except a loving hug, a kind word and a few moments of togetherness in silence. What a great gift of God, only if we knew.
A few days ago I learnt a truly heart wrenching story of a young kidney failure patient under treatment in the hospital where my wife and daughter work in. His elder brother had already died of a kidney failure and he was the only one left with his widowed mother. She took him to Mecca for pilgrimage which he had coveted so much. He was terminally sick but his mother helped him to perform umra. Tired and contended he went to sleep on the floor of Kaaba. She kissed his sallow forehead, his needle punctured hands and the soles of his sore feet. She knew her son was dying as long shadows of grey death were already hovering over him .The boy died a day after his return home. Yet his mother was satisfied having fulfilled his last wish, never mind her horrendous personal loss and terrible loneliness.
Our son had joined Military College of Electrical and Mechanical Engineers Rawalpindi after his graduation in 1995. He was a pampered child carrying plenty of baby fat. The College has a very rigorous physical training regime and practically gives no time to sit back and relax which is just as well. We went to see him after a mandatory three months of abstention. He had entered the crowded visitors’ room but my wife could not recognize him in his emaciated form looking like a skinny skeleton with ears stuck on the sides of a badly mowed head. She almost fainted when told who he was. And then the furious mother walked up to his officer-in- charge who had the misfortune to be around and nearly screamed ‘What have you done to my son? I have not donated him to you.’ Mothers will always be mothers regardless. That officer has the good grace to be a friend to this day.
When my father died I was shocked to know that he could die one day.A thought which ordinarily never occurs to children. When my mother died many years later, I was utterly devastated. After her brain tumor operation she took long to regain senses and the first question she asked was, ‘Did you have food my son?’After her departure, for the first time we realized what a great blessing and a wholesome presence she was among our extended family. I read her diary and was amazed at the entries. ‘Anwaar(my elder brother) killed in battle at Shakar Garh. May Allah bless his soul. December 1971’.‘ Mehboob missing in action at Jessore, May Allah protect him. 17 December 1971’,and so on for every one of us brothers and sisters. There were innumerable other entries full of prayers and worries for everyone including our servant but never a word of complaint. She was buried by the side of my brother according to her will, perhaps in the hope of giving some relief to him in his blessed after life. Indeed, there is no worthy parallel to the goodness and majesty of a mother.