A colander or a cauldron?

My mum’s silk embroidery.

Patient, calm, spiritual fall short to describe this amazing lady.

Am I partial? – – Maybe. – – But, this lady, whom I am blessed to call my Aai (my mum) is patience personified.

I have always admired my Aai’s infinite patience. Be it a household task, culinary adventure, or creative work like sewing, embroidery and, quilting. She undertook each project with the same measure of tenacity, vigor, care, and pride. Aai would sew beautiful dresses for us, her three daughters for Diwali (festival of lights), birthdays, and special events. Sometimes she would complete them overnight and surprise us by presenting the dresses as soon as we woke up. Aai completed each task painstakingly and without inconveniencing the rest of the family or neglecting her other tasks.

As a little girl, I would look into her kind and loving eyes and repeatedly ask, “Aai how come you have so much patience and I don’t?” She would say, “ As you grow up, you will too, my dear.” Not convinced, I would persist.

Then, Aai would explain with a twinkle in her eye, “You see when the creator was distributing qualities like empathy, love, patience, maybe you were holding a colander instead of a bowl. So, no matter how much patience the almighty poured, it fell out of the holes. Those who stood with a big container got a lot of it. But, I am sure there was some patience left in the colander that you can build on.”

I loved this cute story that was easy for me, a child to digest. I would imagine a magnificent, heaven high above the cotton candy clouds with a benevolent, somewhat choosy, Almighty, distributing qualities like humility, happiness, kindness, empathy to people standing in a line with different sized containers. Imagining my Aai, a pretty, serene, young lady – – with her thick braided hair that reached her knees – – standing in a line holding her big bowl full of patience!

As I grew up I realized that my standing with a colander had nothing to do with my meager share of patience. Nor did my mother stand in the line for qualities distribution with a cauldron for her unlimited patience. Aai used to tell me this story to make light of her patience. It was a lesson for me about her humility.

Aai’s patience was inborn. Which she honed from a very young age and continues to do so with the same fervor. Her patience is built on hard work- – unconditional devotion to her family – – uncomplaining acceptance of whatever life throws at her – – her spirituality – – positivity – – and her steadfast faith that “the Almighty takes care of everything – – so why worry – – as long as I do my best.”

I reminded my nonagenarian Aai about the story of “Me, the colander and the distribution line for patience” while we were having our breakfast together this morning.

Her face lit up with that beautiful, beloved smile reaching from her kind eyes straight into my heart – – that no cauldron is large enough to hold.

“Patience is not simply the ability to wait, it’s how we behave while we are waiting” Joyce Meyer

15 thoughts on “A colander or a cauldron?

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