One Future Collective is an organization that works towards building compassionate youth social leadership through the use of art, education, community intervention and policy advocacy – across verticals of gender justice, mental health, legal reform and development policy.

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From Ma, With Love #14 | Thanks for Everything, Ma

From Ma, With Love is a campaign celebrating recollections of feminist tales and lessons, passed down to us by our mothers, this Mother’s Day. The first edition of this compilation has 16 heartwarming stories. ‘Thanks for Everything, Ma’ by Santwona Patnaik is the fourteenth story in this series. You can download the entire publication here.

Dear Ma,

Today, I acknowledge that I am a replica of you. Now that I am 30 and understand the realities of life like never before, I can relate to more of your life experiences. Your decisions, opinions and sacrifices make so much more sense to me now.

Even though you started sharing titbits of your life much later, I had been observing you and your life from a very young age. These are little things that I’ve constantly observed and imbibed from you. You did not have to dictate these lessons to me.

You are always on your own. Learn to take a stand for yourself. No matter how deeply we connect with people, you taught me that it is incorrect to blindly rely on people, without first giving something our best shot. Because of you, I am self sufficient today. Even if I have no support system in this world at any point in life, I can still take care of myself.

Always ensure that you are financially independent. Back in the 90s, it was difficult for a working woman to manage work-life balance. I watched you wake up early, cook breakfast and lunch meals, get us ready for school and then, rush to office by 9am (usually on an empty stomach). Expecting a woman to quit her job and focus on family was the norm those days, but you always held your ground and did both, well.

Do not discriminate between genders based on capabilities. In the 30 years of my life, I have never experienced an instance of favouritism towards my brother over me or vice versa. You never made us feel that we are any different from each other. I am so glad that I was brought up by you in a non-biased environment. Today, I voice my opinion wherever I can and make a difference in my own way.

Keep your sense of humanity intact. You ensured that we treated our everyone equally, and reminded us to rise above petty malice to help those in need.

Be confident about your opinions, but never force them on others. I have grown up seeing you as a rock-solid, opinionated woman, who never forced your opinions on others. Because of you, I am a strong believer of the “live and let live” philosophy.

Be honest with yourself. This is a personal achievement of sorts, which I have imbibed just from you. If I am not honest with myself, I feel suffocated.

Love unconditionally. Yours is the best example of unconditional love, in my life.

Thank you for teaching us. For passing on those amazing genes of yours. You are a role model, ma.

With oodles of love,

Your daughter

Rohang Mishal.

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