I am thinking of that diamond ring I got for your 50th birthday, Mi. The diamond with two little corals on either side. So pretty. And the diamond? Blink-and-you’d-miss-it small. That’s all I could afford that time, but oh, you loved it and I was so proud I got a design made by Venky that you loved. Expect, you saved it for a special occasion to wear it. We celebrated with samosas, peda and jalebis from Bajrang.

Didn’t take much to make us happy, eh? Never has, in fact.

Today, I think of all the good times we had. There was a time when we were thrilled to have a veg dish and rice for a meal – and when the 20th of the month arrived, we turned so frugal. Not that we ever splurged on ourselves. Oh, that’s another thing that upsets me when I think of it now. We always took so much care over what we did for others, never hesitating to spend on them and buy them gifts that we coveted, but dared not get for ourselves. We sacrificed comfort to save up for a rainy day, simply because we had nothing to fall back on and were too proud to seek help.

How all that changed! Oh yes, hard work pays off. And I was lucky to have things work out for me. There’s not a day when I am not grateful to A for making me believe in myself at a time when I felt so low. She continues to be so supportive even today. When I met her today, we were talking fondly about those days when she’d visit and you would pamper her.  Sigh. What lovely memories.

One valuable lesson I’ve learned from you that I realize now more than ever before is to focus on the good things we have and not waste energy on things that don’t work, nor look like they will. Acceptance is not overrated.

Oh yes, go on and smile. Most of all, you’ve given me the gift of perspective.

I wish you were here today – in a sense you are in my heart, but it is not the same as listening to your uninhibited laughter, teasing you about your carrying voice, you not in the least bit worried over it, hugging you and having you tirelessly tickle my feet. I miss it. I miss you and always will.

Happy birthday,  Mi. To us, you are immortal. You’ve proven that good deeds keep a person alive for a lot longer than their physical presence in this world. Thank you for being my Mother.

What can I say? Crying into my coffee.