Do I really ever not think of my mother? Not really. She is never far from my thoughts. I’d like to think that my mother and I had a very special relationship.
As I was growing up, I thought my mother was absolutely perfect in every way. She was my best friend and the final authority on all questions that came to my mind.
I think I learnt a lot more from observing her life than from actually talking to her – important to know because that must be how my children are learning from me.
There are many facets of my mother’s personality that I could comment on, but today I want to tell you about her power of focus – in more general terms this might be referred to as stubbornness!
Let me give you an example of how she made things happen.
I had just completed grade ten with a humanities concentration. My parents and my grandparents wanted me to go to med school. The system in Karachi is such that secondary school education is till grade ten and from there you seek admission to a community college where you complete grades eleven and twelve. Students who graduate with a science focus can at this stage pick whether they wish to focus on engineering or medicine, and humanities students continue in that stream.
My mother had made up her mind. I was to go to med school. Therefore, it was necessary that I register for pre-med. How could this be? I was a humanities graduate. We talked about it. I was quite sure that there was no way I could get into pre-med as I hadn’t got any sciences or math – important pre-requisites for admission. They would have to be blind to do otherwise.
My mother came with me to the admission fair. Basically, a two day window where you went to the college you wanted to attend and handed in your application. The colleges posted their cut-offs in terms of grades and classes were filled on a first come first served basis. I knew I had the grades.
When we got to the college, there was a large tent set-up in the grounds with windows where the college staff were reviewing applications on the spot and granting admission. You lined up at the appropriate window for your program of study and within ten minutes you would know if you were admitted.
I had my application filled out and a copy of my transcript attached. I headed towards one of the three windows accepting humanities applications. I felt my mother pull my arm. I looked back at her confused. “This way” she said forcefully, as she marched up to the window that clearly said Pre-med Program. “Mom, that’s not the right window for me” I pleaded (I did not want to be a doctor) – “we have to go this way” – I pointed to the humanities window. By this time we were already within ear shot of the professor who was manning the Pre-med admissions window.
My mother grabbed the application form from my hands and thrust it at the prof. "Pre-medical please", she said. The prof reviewed my application. She looked over my transcript. She bent over a register and wrote my name in it. Stamped the application form with the admitted stamp. Handed it to my mother and directed her to the window for fees payment.
Can you imagine me standing there with my mouth hanging open in dis-belief? Well, I was. I couldn’t believe that this had just happened – that I was now a pre-med student. Surely, the administration would detect the mistake they had made before classes started and I would be told to go to humanities – to safety? Wishful thinking! I graduated with a pre-med high school diploma after two very excrutiatingly long years after which physics and chemistry still didn’t make sense. But at least I knew one thing for sure – nothing was impossible. If you wanted it enough, the most intelligent people in the world would be blinded into letting you have what you wanted. Pure wanting from a place of powerful love, and total belief that you could have things your way. She allowed it and it happened. Her wanting was so strong that the administration of this college (that had a reputation for being one of the best in the country) was blinded to the trick she pulled on them! Truely, when you believe and you want and allow, nothing can stand in your way. That day my mother parted the waters just like Moses.
Anything is possible.
Did I become a doctor? No. I learnt from the best (my mom). I learnt that if you really wanted something nothing could stand in your way not even your mom!
Happy Mother's Day Everyone!