Lakshmi: Salute to an ‘Amma’ who absolutely sacrificed for her family

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Suresh Nair
SUNDAY, Mother’s Day, is sacredly a day we remember the most important woman.
I salute my late mum, M P Lakshmikutty Amma, who passed on 14 years ago, but will always be someone divinely special in my heart.
Yes, not all mums are perfect, but what mortal is? Most of us have memories of our mothers, and some are blessed to still have mum around to share our lives with us.
Lakshmi eternally remains, in my mind, as the most self-sacrificing woman. She came from the south Indian state of Kerala, a remote village called Kalliasseri, and at 18, she came to Singapore and, rather extraordinarily, raised nine children here. Something worthy of being etched in the Guiness Book of Mums Records.
For the record, Lakshmi is the Hindu Goddess of wealth, fortune and prosperity. She is the wife and shakti (energy) of Vishnu, one of the principal deities of Hinduism and the Supreme Being in the Vaishnavism Tradition.
“Amma” is what she preferred to be called, not “Ma,” “Mama” or any other derivative. It was “Amma.” If I tried any other Western-styled handle, I’d be firmly reminded of her proper title.
SELF-SACRIFICE
From dawn to dusk, seven days a week, 365 days a year, her first and only priority was her children.
“Only a housewife” also means that my “Amma” worked more than eight hours a day with no reservations, in order to make sure that her children acquired the best. It is not a matter that should be ridiculed or understated.
Normally, we label our mothers as “The Greatest Mum in the World.” We give them flowers and gifts to tell them how special they are.
Moments like these should remind us that our mothers have dedicated their lives to nurture and cherish us, and they do not ask for anything in return but to see their children achieve their dreams.
My “Amma” never asked for anything, not even reminding us of Mother’s Day. She used to say that flowers or gifts were not necessary, and that a sincere hug or odd word of heartfelt appreciation would suffice.
Yes, I know now that the greatest gift is not material things. As legendary French writer Antoine de Saint-Exupery wrote: “What is essential is invisible to the eye.”
LOUD IN LOVE
Lakshmi proved being a woman is the absolute ability to give love and amplify it. Sure, as a thoroughbred rural-reared Malayaleee woman she can be frustrating and loud at times. She can bring down the whole house, metaphorically, when she is infuriated!
But as the oldest and most truthful saying goes, “mothers know best”.
 
Regretfully, I now know that a mother’s love is the greatest present one can receive in one’s life.
To my siblings of the E V N Nair family and to my relatives in Kalliasseri in the Manikoth Puthiya Veetil (MPV) ancestral home, this one’s specially for you. A tribute to an exemplary “Amma”.
To all the mothers out there, I salute and thank all of you.
 
We celebrate your gallantry and fearlessness in facing life’s challenges. The human race would not exist, would not be capable of love, if not for your greatness.
The legacy of all mothers will live forever in our hearts.
 
Sometimes I remember the revered line: God will never make mothers like Lakshmi anymore!
Happy “Amma” Day, Lakshmi.