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As an adult I have come to the realization with all the competition and jealousy in the real world, how hard it is to find someone like her who unconditionally celebrated and shared all successes and why people came to her in hundreds to share their milestones.
She did not believe in private practice or in taking money from her patients on house calls or emergency calls. She believed in serving and lived a simple life. She had very few needs. I do not recall her ever going shopping and still wonder who shopped for her before my sister and I took pride in choosing her sarees. She wore no flashy jewelry. Whether she went to work or to a wedding her attire did not change much. Growing up I did not think much of it, but now realize she was a personification of humility and made no effort to impress upon people. Yet people loved her, respected her and many poor and needy worshipped her. They simply stood up in the street as her car passed by and bowed to her.
Last year I received a call from a gentleman who claimed he was in Oregon and was looking for "Professor." My father, who was visiting me in California from India, was taking a nap and I told him to call back later.
"I am Shiva, I know you as a little girl, and you would come to the Ramakrishna Mission with Doctor." Fewer people referred to my father as doctor, a PhD, so I knew he was talking about my mother. He continued, "I was an auto rickshaw driver and would frequent the Mission and came to know your mother and for over a decade she gave me free medicine and I was very poor. She told me I could visit her anytime and she even invited me home. She was a noble lady and I have never met another person like her...She was a saint." His voice choked with gratitude.
A decade later when people talk about her, they remember her generosity, her love for life, the way she embraced the poorest of the poor, her humility, her devotion to God and her dedication to the Ramakrishna Mission which gave her family a chance to live life and the strength to fight all odds in times of dire needs due to her father's untimely illness.
Without an iota of doubt I can say she is the only human being I have known who laughed every day and yet her eyes moistened with compassion just as fast when anyone had the slightest harm. She has touched many lives by her humble way of life and innocently showed me and many others how much joy was hidden in giving than in hoarding and how simple pleasures of life can be celebrated in grandeur.
On June 3rd 1995 she watered her garden and plucked a fully bloomed flower, put it in a vase and watched it from every angle and admired it. She told my father how beautiful the flower was with a big smile and a few minutes later asked him to call the doctor, as she couldn't breathe. Those were her last words of celebrating life and living it large.