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Sunday, July 11, 2021

Life's Lessons - Who taught me what? (3)

 Ramaa - Life-partner

It is impossible not to learn somethings from one’s partner in life.

My mother gave me life. Then came someone who gave “her life” to the family, our family. That is Ramaa.

Sacrifice is the value she taught. I know that she sacrificed her life’s ambition to be a top-level surgeon, so she can be a mother and wife. I could not have accomplished as many things as I did in my profession and the children would not have thrived as well as they have done without her sacrifice.

On family values, work ethics, professional values, and other matters of importance, we were one solid unit. We had common goals and values. That required give and take. She had her own views which she expressed with passion. She was also open to new ideas and for discussion on important matters. That is a valuable lesson.

She taught me love for Nature and particularly for plants and flowers.  She made me go with her to some of the well-known flower gardens and flower shows such as Philadelphia Flower Show, Chelsea Flower Show in London, Keukanof Gardens in Holland, Brindavan Gardens in India,  Butchart Gardens in Canada and more.

She was a voracious reader and pushed me to widen my field of interest and to new authors. She taught the pleasures of reading good books to our children. 

She loved to learn and try new things and new ways of doing things. Her usual question to children was: “Unless you open the door how do you know what is on the other side?” 

One other major lesson she taught me is best expressed in her own words: “ When you do something for someone and when you make some donations, do not diminish their value by announcing them to the world”. 

She taught me the difference between “classy” and “showy” (she called it glitzy). She taught me and the children that good quality is more important than trendy things and brand names. She used to say that “if Nike wants me to wear a shoe advertising their name, Nike should pay me”.

She was quick to say “Sorry, I was wrong”. That is an important lesson.  Towards the end of her life, she also said: “I could have done a few things better; but have no regrets.”

Above all, she taught me that a mother’s life is always one of sacrifice. How else can I explain that an intelligent and highly motivated woman who aspired to be a world-class surgeon, leave that goal and work in a different field (radiology) on three days a week only so she can spend time with children on matters of importance to their growth and development. When she was offered a full-time work with plenty of monetary incentive, her answer was: “ You keep the money and I keep my time”.

Some quotes on Learning

“To know what you do not know is the beginning” – Confucius

“As long as you live, keep learning how to live” – Seneca

“It is what you learn after you know it all that counts” – John W. Gardner

“Go, learn what you need to know; then, practice what you learnt” – A Sanskrit aphorism

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