Not Just a Mother

My sister (L), Mom and Toothy Me (R)
My sister (L), Mom and Toothy Me (R)

My earliest memory of my mom is climbing into her lap to have chocolate milk. Sitting in her lap was mandatory to gulp it down! Her smell was home with traces of Pears soap. It stays the best sniff my nose has ever taken!

She is a dental surgeon and has built an extremely ethical brand for herself. She loves travelling and participates in treks including the mighty Everest Base Camp. Along with the majestic sights of Himalayas, she also took in the adversities faced by the locals lost in the mountains. Her pricking conscious drove her into building the legacy she inherited from her father –

“You can serve the nation through your profession.”

In 2000, she partnered with a non-profit to conduct free dental camps in the dense North East India – where help hovered at a non-existent level. Armed with medicine bags, makeshift equipment and a steely resolve she started a life-changing journey, approximately 2000 miles from home. Red tape, extreme weather, minimal transport, zero network, language barriers and patients caught in a time rip were few of the problems she faced. Yet those people, touched that a doctor actually cared to visit, went all out to support this 100 pound female.

Fourteen years, seven states and thousands of patients later, she has set up five clinics where doctors come all year around. She also published a book where she breathes life into her experiences and received numerous national awards for her work and book.

Yet, it took me years to truly comprehend the gravity of her work and the outstanding contribution she is making. Because, she was still MOM! I was too naïve to understand that my mom is also a woman – an exceptional woman carving her identity.

She was there for our exams, shopping trips, family functions, weekend getaways, spring cleaning! From gently waking us for school to waiting up for lunch, she was there and she was there in her element. She did about a thousand and one jobs a day and effortlessly loved, laughed, comforted and supported without even a sigh of exhaustion. The night before her book launch, she was asking for my food wishlist to carry back to hostel. She found the time to make my favourite sweets and get me a new dress. All before one of the most profound events of her life!

Until she was on the stage and I heard prominent dignitaries speaking about her, she was MOM! That evening, resplendent in flashlights, she became Dr. Pratibha Athavale.

Woman. Doctor. Humanitarian.

How did I fail so miserably in understanding the woman I love so fiercely? Yes, I was proud of her; I could wax eloquent to show off her work and that she is my mom. But the essence of the woman within her, of the caregiver inside her got woefully sidelined.

Now as she takes the spotlight I am happy that I feel and recognize the heart and soul of her work. I connect with her at a level beyond belief. We converse as two women. But the best part? In all her speeches – first and foremost she is still being Mom, seeking us out in the vast audience to share her happiness and appreciation.

Mum! 🙂 You are on fire…

54 thoughts on “Not Just a Mother

  1. What a beautiful, heartfelt tribute to your mom. She sounds like an amazing woman who has gifted the world with her kind spirit. She has provided you with a stellar role model in more ways than one. Thank you for sharing this story with your readers! 🙂


  2. What a wonderful post about your mother. She is a truly inspiring person. You are right to be so proud of her and I think she would be so happy to know that she was just the right mother for you.


  3. Mom’s are often much more than we realize. And it frequently takes us time to see and appreciate all of their qualities. 🙂 Your words about her are obviously warranted… and thoughtful.


  4. What a beautiful tribute to your mother praj. We often forget the wonderful contribution our parents make outside the home because for so much of the time as you say they are our mums. It is lovely that you are so connected to your mother, its one of the things i missed out getting to know my mother better than I did. I am sure your mother would be proud to read what you have said about her.


  5. Hats off to your mom! She was doing so much as a doc and being a mom at home with you not realizing her work is such a great thing!


  6. It takes a certain kind of maturity to understand our parents as they truly are, in all their dimensions. You’ve done a great job here. I bet she is proud of you too!


  7. What an amazing woman your mother is! And this is such a lovely and joyous tribute of not just her but your relationship with her. Thanks so much for sharing. I’m very happy to know of her.


  8. There really is so very much to celebrate about your extraordinary Mum! It’s so lovely how you reflect on the differences between her public and personal self, and you clearly have a beautiful relationship with her, as reflected in your tribute to her. Nicely done.


  9. Wow!! I have been checking out your blog and your exquisite poetry but I must say this is the best tribute ever! Rerun it again on Mother’s Day. You’ll be doing all of us a favor to look past the “motherly” exterior of our own moms. Great writing!


    • Thank you so much for appreciating this. Every word came from those moments of realization when I saw my mother giving it her all.
      I’ll surely rerun it… for every woman inside our mom.


  10. Reblogged this on france's organic beauty secrets and commented:
    It is rare for me to reblog posts…
    As you noticed, my blog is about natural beauty…and beautiful women inside out….
    The post is about a blogger’s Mom…she was beautiful…as a Mom…as well as as a woman…what she accomplished…is amazingly beautiful…I had to share this post.
    Please read…this moving story…of a beautiful woman.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Touching and genuine. No, wait. Touching, because genuine. Lovely tribute – I had to check whether Mother’s Day was near. But then again, it doesn’t have to be Mother’s Day for you to appreciate Mom. 🙂 🙂


  12. People like me who don’t call back home as often as they should, are going to read this and say, ‘Let me just call my mom’…!! 😀 On a serious note,Just wow. What a person and What a tribute to her… !!! Very Well Done.


  13. Not only she does this great job as a dentist in remote north east villages, she also shared her experiences in the form of an interesting book which makes an enjoyable read. Way to go Dr. Pratibha Athavale.


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