Maya gently tip-toed into the house. She was greeted by a familiar silhouette rocking on the chair, her sleeping mother. Maya sighed. All the reasoning, bickering and begging did not stop her aging mother from keeping up with her schedule. In the many years that she was climbing the ladder of success, her mother had steadily followed her.
Later that night, Maya laid exhausted in bed yet her mind wandered to a time when her mother was younger and fiercely kept an eye on her curriculum. The voice that was now her moral compass was then an annoyance. So many rebellious acts she schemed only to irk her mother. Maya smiled as a lone tear of love and gratitude escaped her eyes. She turned on her side reminiscing the singular incident that forever changed the way she saw her mother’s actions.
It was a “Science Day” celebration and students from all departments had spent weeks preparing next-generation scientific ideas or working models representing recent breakthroughs. Behind her closed eyes, Maya could still feel the heightened anticipation that hung upon her that day. An alumnus and her role model, Dr. Sudha Maniratnam was giving a lecture. She was a pioneer in her field and an advocate for women scientists and their rights, who was strengthening the scientific representation of the country. The winners of the competition would meet this guest personally and discuss their work and aspirations.
Inside the auditorium, the students and their guardians waited eagerly. Maya’s mother too had joined her team to lend support and bring them special lunch. A sudden piece of news caused a stir in everyone’s minds. The leader of each team had to make a statement as to why they believed their idea deserved recognition. Maya’s head was swirling in the rush to invent a suitable poised answer. Her thoughts were interrupted by her mother taking her hand. The talk was about to begin. Her mother only whispered, “The answer is in your heart and where you come from.” Maya scoffed in her mind, at those dramatic words.
Dr. Maniratnam shared many incidents that gave her the courage to swim against the tide and achieve what she believed she deserved. After the talk ended, her principle called the team leaders to join him on the stage. As she waited for her turn to the podium, stringing together the lines from her science textbook she looked at her mother. Her words ringing in her ears resonating with Dr. Maniratnam’s words, “The universe around you holds all the answers. You just have to listen with your heart, wherein your passion will pick up the pieces and give you a verdict of what to do next.”
Maya shivered and felt the goosebumps that the sudden epiphany had left in its wake. She finally saw the steady flame in her mother’s eyes that she had often seen in her own eyes.
“I come from a family of farmers, as surely do many of you in the audience. There is truly no price that can repay them for toiling in the heat and the blood and sweat they shed. But if we could further commercialise agricultural waste as shown by our model, I think we could be a step closer to saving the major occupation of our country” The loud applause that followed was announcement enough that they had won. The person to applaud the loudest was, of course, her mother. That day Maya saw the puzzle of her mother fall in harmony with her own. And ever since then they have never looked back.
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