Please note the decorated chair. The table was returned just in time for Mummy’s 93rd birthday (Yes, you read that right. 93 years old.). Decorating the Birthday Girl’s chair is a family tradition which Mummy finds most amusing.
How does one get to this age so gracefully? I think Mummy should be studied and observed and documented. There is so much we can learn from her.
At an age when most people are only concerned with their own aches and pains and tiny little troubles, Mummy might complain once in a month about her bones or the cold or her increasing inability to hear. At an age when many feel bored and neglected and left out, Mummy doesn’t have enough time in the day to do all she needs to get done. And at an age when most people feel mortality closing in on them with a sense of dread and fear, Mummy is a bit impatient (the other day she said to me very matter-of-factly: “What joke is God playing keeping me here so long? Haven’t I done enough?”)
Here are a few of her secrets:
Know your own body and what works for you. Except for ice cream, which she will NEVER refuse, she has zero indulgences. She knows exactly what to eat, drink, wear and do and she sticks to her regimen with an iron will. Delayed Gratification is a sign of emotional maturity and Mummy never makes the mistake of going for the cheap thrill of the moment. Except for that bowl of ice cream, she always takes the Long View.
Stay busy. Mummy’s routine begins early in the morning with prayers, exercises and a glass of nimbu pani. She reads the paper thoroughly every day, then reads out loud to her sister whose eyes are failing. At noon, the first of her students arrives for a lesson. After lunch, she rests for around 15 minutes, and then the other students begin trooping in, all afternoon and evening in an endless queue. She is 93, but her mind is as sharp as a tack. She knows each student’s strengths and weaknesses, knows when to push and when to cajole and when to call in the parents. She has their homework ready when they arrive and knows when their next exam is better than they do. STAY BUSY.
Remember it’s not in your hands. Mummy understands better than anyone I know the concept of duty and responsibility. She does exactly what she should, and you can set your watch by her and measure every standard of integrity by her actions. But she never confuses herself with her Creator. She knows she has to do her duty and she knows the ultimate responsibility is the Upper-Walla‘s. That gives her her trademark serenity and sense of humor.
Did I mention I am her daughter-in-law but she refuses to add the in-law part? I wish everyone could have a Mummy like this one.