To my maai

To my maai

For the person who knows life is hard.

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The fact is, life is hard. There will be bumps in the road, there will be challenges you face, the degree of those challenges will transform you into the person you become. And then there are the people. The people who are sent into your life who will help you along the way and evidentially have the greatest impact on who you become. Some are sent satin's, I was sent a savior.

She was no taller than 5' 4". Her hands always occupied books with a blanket or sweater tied to her waist. Her mind busted with knowledge every chance she got and never avoided the opportunity to learn. She was a quiet woman but spoke louder than anyone around her through her actions. A gentle soul, with the heart of a lion beating through her 100lbs body. She never broke a promise, never raised her voice, and never forgot to say good morning and goodnight. Her instincts transformed her into a mother everywhere she went, and she had this smile. The smile which she wore proudly with dignity, stretching from ear to ear, and it said absolutely everything you would need to know about her. Her name was Bapsy Anita… then Bapsy Daruvalla… but to me, she will always be my Maai.

She is my grandmother and the most influential person that has ever walked into my life. On June 28, 2018 we celebrated what would have been 88 years, and while she was not physically here, she has continued to leave her mark on all of our lives and is a daily reminder of who I attempt to be when I grow up.

Just as a little background, she was a leader in her community through multiple youth groups and child advocacy centers in Bombay, India. She was an only child, he mother passed when she was only 8 years old. She was an aspiring lawyer who hoped to impact her generation by taking on pro bono cases and not only helping lives but changing the world with her actions. She ended up leaving her university education to care for her sick father. She was a chairman for the lioness global community and was as humble as a human could be. A friend to all she encountered. A wife to the love of her life, Adil. A mother to her 3 beautiful children. A grandmother to 7 grandchildren.

I grew up as a realist and a dreamer, but those two concepts don't exactly morph together very well… She was my pillar to help me find balance and it wasn't through actions or habits. It was through words. Every night she would read me a book and I would fall into a new world. One where bears could talk, people could fly, and worries were a mere figment of our imaginations. I could be anything I wanted, and I learned to become a dreamer who aspired to forget the stars and reach new galaxies to see what I was capable of. After taking me on my journey through books she would tuck me in at night, hand me my magic blanky, and quietly hum the song "Can't Help Falling in Love" by the King, Elvis Presley. She would often say to me that I was fit to be a queen and deserved to fall asleep with a king by my side. She always said to end a bad day in a good way and wear a smile as my best accessory. To this day that is still my favorite song of all time, I still sleep with my magic blanky around my pillow, and I still dream about the happiness I couldn't wait to be flooded with when I grew up.

People make a difference.

I say all of this because the imprint that this single made on my life was filled with pure and honest love, and that is what she portrayed to everyone around her. Unconditional and incomparable love. Her attitude exhibited hope, her voice was like a finely tuned violin, her eyes never failed to spot out the perfection in every person, and her heart pumped with the ideology that she was on this planet for a reason and she was not willing to waste her life.

One day I woke up and realized how she was always so calm and collect around me. It was because I am a carbon copy of her youngest daughter, a woman I refer to as mom. We are both loud in our opinions and broad in our mindsets. We both take on the idea that we are in charge, and that's a dangerous game to play in my house. We love those around us and trust too easily, but none the less, we are best friends.

We are all on this earth for a reason. It isn't to make money or have fame and fortune embody our physical being. We are not here to turn people in need of help away or slander the names of people's religious faiths. We are united as mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers. We hold the keys to not only our happiness but to the happiness of those around us, through our attitudes. Stop saying can't and stop saying won't. Drop your stubborn temperament at the door and let it wash off on a rainy day. Express your opinion but be open to hearing others. Know that knowledge is power, and it is the only thing which sets you apart from those you surround yourself with. So, stick out like a sore thumb and be proud of who you are because you never know who is watching.

She is why I write. It is as if some power from above engulfs my thoughts and lets me find my release through the sounds of fingertips dancing along the keyboard. She was the drive behind my love of knowledge and the reason I push myself working like a slob to make sure I pursue my full potential, and alongside my passions comes the art of humanitarianism. I invest my talents to help those around me. Not in a bragging form, but in a way so that they know they are not alone, even on their hardest and darkest days.

She still guides me in my hard times and promotes me in my accomplishments, I am so eternally grateful to have had such an amazing influence in my life. Each person on this planet has their person. Their Mufasa and leader when they are lost. Even if you feel lost and alone and hopeless, there is always light at the end of the tunnel and there is always a reason to smile ear to ear, always say good morning and goodnight, and hum Elvis to yourself in an empty room. There is always a reason to have a positive attitude and share it with those around you.

"Be like a flower that gives fragrance. Even to the hand that crushed it." – Imam Ali

Cover Image Credit:

Farzeen Cama

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The Thank You My Dad Deserves

While our moms are always the heroes, our dads deserve some credit, too.
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Dear Dad,

You’ve gone a really long time without being thanked. I'm not talking about thanks for things like opening the Gatorade bottle I couldn't or checking my tires when my car’s maintenance light is flashing, but rather the thanks I owe you for shaping me into the person I am today.

Thank you for teaching me what I deserve and for not letting me settle for anything less.

While the whole world was telling me I wasn’t good enough, you were there to tell me I was. Whether this was with boys, a friend, or anything else, you always built my confidence to a place I couldn’t build it to on my own. You showed me what my great qualities were and helped me feel unique. But most of all, you never let me settle for anything less than what I deserved, even when I wanted to. Without you, I wouldn’t be nearly as ambitious, outgoing or strong.

Thank you for giving me someone to make proud.

It’s hard to work hard when it’s just for myself, but so easy when it’s for you. All through school, nothing made me happier than getting a good grade back because I knew I got to come home and tell you. With everything I do, you give me a purpose.

SEE ALSO: 20 Things You Say When Calling Your Dad On The Phone

Thank you for showing me what selflessness looks like.

You are the prime example of what putting your family first looks like. If me wanting something means that you can’t get what you want, you’ll always sacrifice. From wearing the same t-shirts you’ve had since I was in elementary school so I could buy the new clothes I wanted, to not going out with your friends so you could come to my shows, you never made a decision without your family at the forefront of your mind. If there is one quality you have that I look up to you for the most, it’s your ability to completely put your needs aside and focus entirely on the wants of others.

Thank you for being the voice in the back of my head that shows me wrong from right.

Even though many of your dad-isms like “always wear a seatbelt” easily get old, whenever I’m in a situation and can’t decide if what I’m doing is right or wrong, I always can hear you in the back of my head pointing me in the right direction. While I may not boost your ego often enough by telling you you’re always right, you are.

Thank you for being real with me when nobody else will.

Being your child hasn’t always been full of happiness and encouragement, but that’s what makes you such an integral part of my life. Rather than sugarcoating things and always telling me I was the perfect child, you called me out when I was wrong. But what separates you from other dads is that instead of just knocking me down, you helped me improve. You helped me figure out my faults and stood by me every step of the way as I worked to fix them.

Most of all, thank you for showing me what a great man looks like.

I know that marriage may seem very far down the road, but I just want you to know that whoever the guy I marry is, I know he’ll be right because I have an amazing guy to compare him to. I know you’re not perfect (nobody is), but you’ve raised me in a such a way that I couldn’t imagine my kids being raised any differently. Finding a guy with your heart, drive, and generosity will be tough, but I know it will be worth it.


Dad, you’re more than just my parent, but my best friend. You’re there for me like nobody else is and I couldn’t imagine being where I am now without you.

Love you forever,

Your little girl

Cover Image Credit: Caity Callan

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Even Though You Know You're Going To Lose Somebody, It Doesn't Make It Any Easier

Your mind understands what's going on, but your heart just doesn't want to let them go.

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Recently, my grandfather passed away just two days from returning to college. I knew that his days were limited, but I didn't realize how soon that was. My grandfather has had multiple cases of infections, even cancer and has bounced back from it and ended up being fine again. As a young girl, I had no idea that it was even going on at the time. He still worked at his job, even still participated in local committees and clubs.

However, since being away at my first semester, my grandfather had gotten sick. I wasn't worried about it because I knew he would bounce back again and be fine by the time I would have gotten home. However, that wasn't the case. In early October, my family had received the news that my grandfather was diagnosed with bone cancer, and he decided not to get treatment for it. I knew that he was dying, but I didn't know that in a short two months he would no longer be with us.

With a quick visit in October, a week or so after I found out the news, he was so ecstatic to see my face again because he would always say how much he missed me being home. That visit was the last time he said, "I love you." With being so far away, I realized that there was always a possibility of receiving "the call," and anytime my dad would call, my stomach would drop thinking that this was it.

Even with all the preparations being made ahead of time for my grandfather and knowing then that time was sooner than later, it still wasn't easy to see him lifeless and in so much pain. When he did pass, however, it still was hard to accept it once it did happen for me and the rest of my family.

Through the grieving process that has now started with my grandfather, I get drawn to this one verse in the bible that was said at his funeral service. Psalms 23:6 (ESV) "Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever." I know now that he is in a better place, and he has reunited with his family members and will meet everyone else once we pass on.

Death is a hard topic to talk about, and even think about knowing that we someday we will pass on. But death should be more celebrated for then being pondered about. Personally, if someone can remember somebody in a positive manner, then their life was well lived and has impacted other people's lives.

I will always remember my grandfather's larger than life personality, his big heart for his family and others, and his smile. I'll miss him so much.

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