Your Amma, by Achan

The first time I met your mother she held my glance
As purity presented in white, offering me a rare chance

When she laughed as no one had done in quite a while
I felt as if innocence could come wrapped up in a smile

Radiating freshness, eagerness, and exuberance
She emanated honesty and pulsating confidence

Happiness was the sentiment of hope, to feel and share
Our love, values, dreams, and the many goals to acquire

That is where our lives began and we have been blessed
To have God gift us the three of you, our precious awards

We travelled through hardship, with hope, courage, and faith
Gaining way beyond our abilities and talent could ever fetch

Life has been hectic at times, bumpy yet mostly peaceful
More of triumphs than tribulations and essentially blissful

There have been times of sadness and failed expectations
But the balance sheet is rich with rewards and felicitations

We have stood side-by-side, steadfast through the travails
Her faith giving needed strength and defiance in our travels

Faith has the magical reach, an asset beyond easy reproach
Giving confidence and assurance in all what we approach

She has proven her mettle in every field she chose to intrude
Be it cycling, tennis, music or prayers, she is guaranteed to excel

Playing with the plants or dealing with the many gods
Devi is in her elements handling ones who need no words

Gardening is her passion and godliness her obsession
But whatever she sets her goals on, she sure has a reason

You are very fortunate to have a mom with such dedication
Who may be harsh at times or hard because of her conviction

If she seems to be imposing, it is only because of her firm notion
That her children deserve the best and need to reach perfection

She truly feels the agony of growing up without parents
And toils to see her children never lack any of their such needs

Humans trying to please her are cautioned to watch out
Their talents, style or even honor are bound to fall short

For all the deeds you are gratified to have done with pride
Her scrutiny finds only the faults that you just want to hide

One can opt to taste the sparkling water after it filters through
Or choose to poke the wrong side, looking for the slime and filth

One can watch and enjoy a play on the stage, full of glamour
Or walk into the backstage practice, crude and full of clamor

Mercy is a bliss striving to see the good and ignore the rest
Tolerance shall come to our aid, to help pacify us from unrest

Life is too short yet very unpredictable to fuss about
That destiny takes turns where you least expect a twist

A series of recent health issues have dulled her will to solve
An obvious letdown for her certitude and her tough resolve

If I happen to leave first against her plans for early departure
Ensure her comfort and shield her from the shame of dependence

As she missed out on the loving care or nurture of a mom or dad
It will be kind and caring if you make an effort to fill the void

I often pride myself with perhaps a false sense of vanity
That my traits are kindness, compassion, and humanity

But I sense her judgment against approving that attitude
As I realize not to have earned her credence nor gratitude

Being human I know that I have erred more than I succeeded
But I trust my conviction and have nothing left to be extracted

I feel quite relieved that I have emptied a load from my heart
That I can rest my conscience clean, having done my little part

(August 8, 2004)

Author: Dr. Venugopal Menon

Was born and raised in a loving family in pre-independent India, became a doctor, served Indian army, got married, then came over to America with wife and a daughter, established as a successful Allergist, raised a family of three children, was involved in many social establishments, retired, and wrote memoirs, 'My Mother Called Me Unni, A Doctor's Tale of Migration'.

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