By Atreya Agrahari
Podcast by Anshika Nigam
Pihu, a chirpy little girl aged 7, today in her science class learnt how to define photosynthesis. Much
more than the word photosynthesis and its technicality, see was drawn towards the heading written
in italics as “Definition”. Throughout the day, the word kept revolving in her head, and as expected
from a child’s pure and innocent soul, her ever curious mind was waiting for the day to end- when
she could be home and know more on it from her family.
After school as she reached home, carelessly dropping her bag and water bottle near the door, she
ran towards her mother. Pihu was no exception. Like all offsprings on earth, even she knew that her
curiosity can be only quenched by her mother. “Ma! Ma!”, she screamed as she ran around the
house searching for her. “Today I learnt a new word: ‘definition’. Teacher said that all terms can be
defined in short sentences and I should learn how to define.”
Her mother held her in arms and looked at her seemingly all ears to her statements. She was ecstatic
seeing her daughter’s keen interest. Milliseconds later, Pihu bounced a question at her “Ma! I want
to know what’s your definition and what’s mine? “
Pihu’s mother, blank and silent, knelt beside Pihu and started jovially ruffling her daughter’s hair.
She was puzzled at the very question her daughter had just asked her, which her mind was hitherto
oblivious to. It seemed to her that suddenly the humdrum of life has come to a halt and she can find
an escape from that by attempting that question. Slowly the oblivion faded, where she in search of
the answer transcended to the realms of greater depths of sub-consciousness.
In a state of self-interrogation, she begun: “Who am I defined as?”
The answer to it was quick. “Decades before I could have been defined as an obedient
daughter, with excellent academics and co-curricular”.
“Sometime later was my definition changed to one of the best workers within the premises
of my workplace. To my acquaintances, I was that epitome of hard work who could have
inspired their children to turn from ‘black-sheep’ to ‘white-sheep’ or probably ‘grey-sheep’?”
“Was it years ago that I defined myself as a perfect wife; buttressing my family and my life
partner through every thick and thin?
“Is it all how am I defined or have I gradually defined myself to become synonymous to
sacrifices and compromises?”
“Life’s most beautiful gift, Pihu, changed my definition; when I elevated my Being to the one being
blessed of giving birth and nurturing a Life. My soul’s defining dictionary now included emotions
such as care, compassion, and endless willpower from the perspective of motherhood.”
“But…has there been any definition which was constant throughout all these years? Or are these
just qualities that I have imbibed through my life’s journey.”
‘What was the definition which I was born with and always wanted to be called as mine?” Her
consciousness state came back to the material world and her she glanced at Pihu, who was
carelessly playing around the house by now- brimming with enthusiasm and curiously inspecting
everything in the garden. This fresh glance at her daughter after treading the lights of consciousness,
took Pihu’s mother back in time when she was around the same age as her daughter was now. She saw herself performing on stage-all clad in white; her feet synchronised with the beats of Indian
classical music and her arms graciously spread as peacock feathers. She kept on exploring her
beautiful journey of life so far through similar such events that keep surfacing in her memories then
and now; where she feels pure joy every time she looks at the memoir of those events.
“These performances and events, that are now just memories captured on photographic rolls lying in
dust; wrapped inside boxes; Locked in cupboards; Just like inside my sub-consciousness”, she
muttered to herself.
She again came back to the material world and thought with a sigh about the inherent peace that
dance provided he every time she was up with a performance. “Yes!… That’s my definition…. I will
bring back the same peace to me. Refreshing! Rejuvenating! and I will scope my definition again
which by now are time-scattered and time-faded”. With a new found confidence and pace, she was
now more determined. It seemed as if all her lost answers were found deep within herself.
“When I will polish my definition, it’s sparkle will inspire my daughter to never let her curiosity wane
and be suppressed by the tides of time. I would urge her through my experiences, to endlessly
explore her interests and know herself completely. Even as she changes her roles, struggles through
life’s obstacles… nothing, I repeat nothing, should ever be enough to stop her in writing her own
definition.” As she was done with these reaffirmations, she picked up Pihu in her arms and kissed
her voraciously with the most satisfying smile.
Same as Pihu’s mother did, let all of us today reflect to find out what is our definition that truly
resonates with our inner self and gives us peac
The author is an IT Analyst with a leading software consulting firm