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#1 Happy Birthday Ma

Updated: Jan 15, 2021

An African proverb says it takes a village to raise a child. In our home, that 'village' was my mother. And she raised two kids, Papa and me.

A woman so confident, fierce, and fearless that she can inspire the most defeated person on this planet. And yet, a woman so warm, nurturing, and caring that she can make anyone feel loved within minutes. A beautiful paradox who balances her two sides with a touch so deft that it never looks like work. And yet, now I realize how difficult it is.

She is so comfortable in her skin and sure of who she is that sometimes it is merely annoying. She sacrificed and tolerated it a lot. She is a brilliant woman, a fast learner, meticulous, and a hard worker. Yet, she could never achieve a fraction of what she was capable of due to a patriarchal society that decided what was better for her. Had it been me in her place, I would have been a bitter person. But not her because she did everything either for our family or me. And that, according to her, is a worthy cause.

She has always been my friend who never treated me like a kid. Even as a two-year-old, she used to ask for my opinion and respect it as well. She rarely lectured me. Our serious chats are almost always a discussion, where both of us could see each other's point of view. She is the one person who understands me completely and does not judge me at all. Hours melt into days, months, years, and I am yet to see the moment where we run out of topics to talk about. I am my goofiest, happiest, and most authentic self with her as she is with me.

Life has never been kind to her. She deserved a lot more than what she got. But she gave me so much unconditional love that it set me free. That is something very few kids get in life, and for that, I can never be grateful enough.

I look for inspiration everywhere, but my most significant and lifelong inspiration would always be Ma. I am lucky to have a mother who has supported my every decision (almost), stood by me like a mountain, and never taught me the concept of settling for things. If you want it, you try. If you fail, you try harder. And yet, she never pushed me to do something that I did not want to do. She raised me with a sense of freedom that was absolute. It is the single most comforting feeling to have a person in your own home with whom you can share your epic fails, average victories, deepest insecurities, and laughable desires alike.

I never had to learn to be loving, respectful, honest, nurturing, ambitious, strong-headed, determined, vocal, curious, artistic, elegant, hard-working, flexible, opinionated, and joyful. That is because I saw it every day in a woman who embodied all these qualities and encouraged them in me. Although, I would have preferred to swap the habit of throwing a tantrum now and then and a painfully loud voice with being as stunning as she is. But as they say, you cannot have it all.

She is my best friend. But more importantly, she is a woman who inspires me every single day to go after my dreams and be a better version of myself.

Happy birthday Ma. I wouldn't have been 'me' without you being 'you'.

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