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