A woman with the potential to make it big. It is not that she cannot: she simply will not.
The closest anyone has come to being an adopted daughter.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Ma, tujhe salaam

Anyone with a name like Anjezë Gonxha Bojaxhiu was destined to be special. After all, you don't come across a name with two X's everyday. It's a miracle that her first name was Agnes, and not something like Xerxes or Xerox.

She didn't like her name, though, and renamed herself after Thérèse de Lisieux, the patron saint of missionaries. She was obsessed with X's, I suppose (the first Missionaries of Charity in the USA was at Bronx) - possibly because she was destined to be on a quest unknown hitherto to mankind.

She was different, you see. In an age where people craved for each other's blood and powerful nations ate up smaller ones, she actually dared to love strangers in a country alien to her. I mean, what the hell? In a nation where muscle power and authority rule all and sundry, she actually chose to reign by humility. In a world that glared at everyone with raging bloody eyes, she did use the most honest of smiles.

Ridiculous. There is no other word for it.

Today is exactly a hundred years since she was born. Thirteen years after her death (I remember the night vividly; they flashed it across the Doordarshan screen during a movie; I had immediately called up a friend of mine - someone who had introduced me to Missionaries of Charity) she's still the face of Kolkata to the world, more than Tagore, Ray and Ganguly. The three, despite being achievers of various levels of greatness, didn't really end up providing morsels to the poorest of the poor. They enhanced our lives through their creations and performances; she gave lives to entities we don't bother to consider as humans.

That's what, well, mothers do. It's just that they do it for their own children. She made children out of strangers, and did it for everyone. Yet we kept on criticising her, accusing her of converting street children or lepers to Christianity. And still she kept on responding with that outrageous smile of hers that would convert the filthiest of souls to a lifetime submission.

I sometimes wonder what we have ever done to deserve her. I know that the DD 7 news shall flash reports of her birth centenary being celebrated everywhere, and within a day or two, we shall forget her as conveniently as we have been able to do.

But then, given the great leveller that life is, we have had to tolerate the likes of Aishwariya Rai, Amisha Patel and Sania Mirza over the years. I suppose that's torture enough to even out the fact that we have got her even though we didn't deserve her.


  1. you have a post for a great variety of topics and events, so how can you miss Mother Teresa's 100th birth anniversary. great!!!!!!

  2. A wonderful tribute to the most wonderful Mother known.

  3. I personally feel that there is no use of Celebrating the Birthdays of legends. If we can follow them, then that is the only way to show tribute to them. However, its great that 'Missionaries of Charity' is following the way that Mother showed.

  4. lovely post i must really brought tears to my eyes,what more can i say to explain.

  5. Everytime you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing.
    I feel at Home there...Thanks for remembering the Grey house..

  6. Excellent post....
    She was, is and will be our real 'MA'..

  7. "I know God will not give me anything I can't handle. I just wish that He didn't trust me so much." -MOTHER
    Well, He did His work and She did her; and they both excelled. But what about us!! Where are we? Sachin inspires us, Hrithik moves us, 'Rang De Basanti' stirs us-good, no harm in that... but how many of us are actually stirred, moved or inspired by Mother! The trail, left by her, is there...though fading away, let's follow it! let's make it fresh, let's prove that yes we are sensible and sensitive creature and WE CARE... Then only her soul will rest in peace... Do something, take a GENUIN initiative someone!