In 1978, on 2nd April, my mother died of cancer. She was 42.
Every year, I remember this day, not to make it a tearful, sentimental journey, but to remember the beautiful years she was with us, and became an example of an ordinary, dignified, affectionate, and dedicated Bengali-Indian mother.
I’ve written about her untimely death, the economic and health reasons, and the impact of her death on me and our family (even some friends), both in English and Bengali, so I won’t repeat it here.
But two things resurface today: (1) you can celebrate life and the wonderful memories it brings even on an otherwise somber day; and (2) you can slowly come out of the perpetual sadness and feeling of guilt, and use your resilience to help others who are going through similar emotional suffering.
I’m no philosopher, but after 37 years of her passing, I’ve come to believe that death is truly an integral part of life, and being a Hindu, I’ve become a believer of good karma and its virtue, in this life and beyond.
She is not present with us physically, but her unending love and belief for my abilities to do something extraordinary made me what I am today.
But it is not anything extraordinary: mothers all over the world are doing the same thing, generation after generation. They are helping us to fight back against poverty, hopelessness and dark politics we go through, keeping the torch of hope and goodness alive.
Today, remembering my own mother, I salute all the mothers of our world: the world of the havenots.
Brooklyn, New York