Wednesday, August 14, 2013
Beauty, it is said, lies in the eyes of the beholder! As I behold my mother, Nalini Chandran, the beauty of the universe comes together, even as she lives life, queen-size, even at the age of 76. Do I feel this way because I fell in love with her, the day I opened my eyes for the first time, only to see her smiling down at me in wonder? Life was more vibrant when she was around, getting me ready for school, taking a history lesson where I was part of a rapt class, or moulding my nature to mirror hers as she made friends, with the ease of a butterfly drawing out honey from a willing flower!
She never preached, just led by example. Her home was always filled with friends who drew inspiration from her joie-de-vivre. A teacher all her life, she honed her skills, only to create a wonderful school, which started with six students and went on to take her home town by storm, as it took on her wonderful personality and made it its own. She loved being with children, as she turned into a child, gamboling with them like a frisky lamb. Yet she could be a lioness in her den with errant students or cursory teachers.
History and Literature were subjects which she adored! She took pains to make them come alive, as her silver tongue combined facts with trivia, and transported her students into a world of knowledge and pure fun. Whether it was the three witches in Macbeth or the advent of Mohenjo Daro, Nalini Miss, as she was universally called, would make it fun! No wonder, her students remembered her classes with fondness, years after they left school!
But that was not her only passion! “My students have to be citizens of the world!” she often declared. She made it her mission to instill ideas of etiquette and behaviour, soft skills as they are called today. Respect to elders and honesty to the core were also part of her educational programme. Her amazing sense of humour and her outspokenness were also traits she shared with people, traits she loved to see in people around her.
The true beauty that we have seen in her, over the decades, is her zest for life that keeps her going. She can drop everything and decide to traipse around the country, with a crazy British friend, also a grandmother, and end up having adventures with gusto! Her heart is so large that she can be taken in by sob stories, and she loosens her purse strings with ease. Whatever the case, life can never be dull when she is around, and maybe that is exactly why her repertoire overflows with life experiences that could fill reams of paper! And maybe why she shines on like a jewel, even though she is unaware of her own lustre, a fact that endears her to many! May her tribe increase!
By Deepti Menon
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