By Jyotsna Joshi
In the world today, we are surrounded by so many people; social interactions are needed to maintain the mental and physical well-being. Right from the primary school to college, then to work place or some other activity club, at each stage we have been interacting with so many people on a daily basis. At each of these stages there are a few people whom we spend most of our time with; sharing common interests or levels of trust. How many such associations last more than the years of graduating from that stage/institution? Quite few! Though we remain connected with everyone we have known so far, each one of us has moved ahead in life with a new set of friends, relationships, and colleagues. However, my best friend has been a constant in my life; being with me in each and every small victory of mine. In each failure I have always approached her and found solace, embraced with a motivation to do well. Likewise, in each of her anxious stages, I am the first one she calls to. Be it planning any event/trip or renovating her house, she waits for executing those tasks until she has discussed them all with me.
I suppose, that’s what friendship is all about. Accepting the other with all flaws and always standing by their side. True friendships are never demanding and evolve the best of the personality in the other person. My friendship story with her delves back to as old as I am.
‘I will provide my daughter with the firm grounds to grow high and touch the skies’, resonated a 25-year-old determined woman to herself, thirty years ago when she first took me in her arms.
Cut to present day: Here I stand, with education in a premier institution and working in a think tank that crafts policies aimed at impacting lives of millions of people. In every new assignment that I am given, that poised face with gleaming eyes holds my hand and walks me through the aisle the same way it used to do during inter-school extempore/declamation contests.
She certainly is the one who instilled in me the axiom that self-confidence makes one beautiful and generous; generous to the point of supporting even the extended family. I still remember when I had got my first job at this esteemed organization. On the very day when I received my first pay-check she asked me to gift smart-phones to four members, one each from a sub-family that comes in my extended joint family. It was because for those members liability side of their balance sheets was way greater than their assets, and she was prudent in acknowledging the fact that digital inclusion will enable them to be more aware and hence make informed decisions about day-to-day planning. She might not be as educated as me, as in current times education is deemed as a function of number of degrees from Tier-1 institutions, however her tenacity and wisdom in dealing with day-to-day matters can even make a management professional take lessons from her. Be it dealing with work stress or finding quality time for one and all in family through small gestures of calling people in close social circles once every week, if not then at least texting them once in a while and staying connected; to visiting parents (both mine and my husband’s) twice every year without doing away with the rigour of work, she has been holding my flagstaff high like a true charioteer.
Yes, she is my mother; and my dream is to be like her. Today’s education systems are designed well enough to teach a person to fend for herself. In economics terminology ‘We pay the price for the level of service we get’. Whatever be the amount of price we pay for the public good of education (depending upon the service quality offered by the institution), one aspect that is not taught in any course is resilience and perseverance. Working with the brightest minds of this nation I still see myself distinct from everyone because of the never-let-go attitude that she has instilled in me. ‘So what if one door closes, keep digging, let not the obscurantist in you tell that there are no signs of water beneath; for you shall find it the harder you try’.
We have done so many activities together. From cooking and baking, to singing and recording songs; from doing online shopping together to visiting places, we enjoy each other’s company. So much so that, to every new story that I ask her to read, she being her lazy self asks me to narrate to her on phone, and that too at the time when she goes to bed. What a lovely relationship it is wherein she sees me as her go-to person before taking any decision; and I seek her company at the end of every day- when I unload in front of her all that had happened on that day.
- I dream to be like her: firm roots of a huge tree which despite of holding the soil envisions its leaflets talking to the wind, rustling in the rains, dancing freely in swift breeze and reaching out to the skies. A role which most of us forget while donning upon our work-hat and start putting ‘I’ before ‘We’, often leading to a very ambitious and promising project falling prey to individual ambitions.
- I dream to be like her: a good brick in the construction of a building. That brick doesn’t care if you embed it in ground and walk on it, or put it on roof and subject it to rains and strong wind; for it is just playing her role to be a good brick and contributing to the entire structure without even expecting to be awarded as the star performer.
- I dream to be like her: Juggling efficiently between family and passions. More than being my Mother, she is my best friend- my inseparable Being!
True friends are actually gems in our life from whom we learn so much. They not only listen to us and make us feel good whenever we feel bogged down, but also show us the n-number of ways in which they lead their lives happily- setting an example. They are the ones who will not be afraid of chastising you when you do something gross. Today when Social Media dominates the day to day activities of people, that one person in whom we find refuge and calmness, is a best friend. For me it’s my Mother! For you, it may or may not be so. Your best friend may or may not fall in your immediate circle consisting of your Mother/Sister/Father/Brother/Husband/Cousins and so on, or in your batch-mates/colleagues. Wherever you locate that best friend of yours, one thing is for sure, that relationship has to withstand the test of time and be time-invariant. It has to be nurturing and facilitating, that makes you grow organically.
The author holds a Masters from Tata Institute of Social Sciences and works as a public policy consultant with the Planning Department of Government of Andhra Pradesh.