Mom, me and my siblings( the youngest is me) in our garden in Jammu and Kashmir
  • Mom, me and my siblings( the youngest is me) in our garden in Jammu and Kashmir
  • Mom and dad( mom in a black saree) in an army party
  • Me and mom now
  • Happy times in a family weekend spent playing golf

I grew up in a noisy house with a lot of activity, officers coming over to catch up with dad over a cocktail and their wives seeking my mom's company, culinary tips and what not. The brass mementoes shone bright every day of the week. The carpet was dusted and sunned every other day. The drapes changed to match the mood and we always had beautiful table covers.My mom was very fond of fresh flowers, so we had loads and loads of them in glass vases.

Out of the seven days, we entertained guests almost three days.I spent a lot of time with the people who helped us run our home. My favorites were the chef, I called Ashok bhaiya and the driver, I remember as Ganesh. I don't remember them indulging me but I loved them because they let me follow them in everything they did and answered all my questions.

I once asked my mom while she was getting ready to go out for an officers mess party meant for only adults, " Mom, why don't you stay at home with me?" I whined and I sulked, " You are never home."

An army officer's wife is not paid by the Indian Army but she works as hard. She is a member of the Ladies Club and the Army Wives Welfare Association (AWWA) and as her husband rises in hierarchy, her activities increase many fold and so does the hours spent out of the house. Coincidently, when I was just 4 my dad was the Commanding Officer (CO) and my beloved mom, the CO's wife. She was assigned responsibilities and looking after the welfare of all the soldier's wives in the battalion was one of them.

What intrigues me most is how my mom let me in her life, even when she was not beside me. Though she would be gone a lot, I never once felt distanced from her. My mom taught me everything she would learn in the ladies club- how to sew, knit, make flowers, cook, garden, dance, sing but most of all, she taught me how to express myself. And my love for expressing myself began early. The life she led, because she shared it with me, telling me about everything when she returned home, became my life too in a funny way.

When I close my eyes and go back to those times I see everything that happened through my mother's eyes. When we would enter the ladies club meet, she would whisper to me on how to greet other women. She taught me the need to extend to others and the beauty of association and solidarity. She taught me how to always hold myself like a lady and yet stand for what I believe.

Years later, now when I look back there has been not a single instance when my mom told me I shouldn't be doing this and I shouldn't be doing that. She taught me to live my own life, while she led hers. I saw and grew up seeing my mom as a strong, vibrant, social and compassionate woman. Most of all her life flowed into my life stream.

Today when there is a distinct divide on working women and housewives, the role of a mother in the child's formative years, I see many women who have had brilliant careers, give it all up to be able to be by the side of their children. And I wonder just how much difference will it make in the last.

I don't know what I have achieved so far and what I will achieve in my lifetime is significant or not, I don't know how great is my salary, I still don't know where life is going to take me. But there is one thing that is very clear to me. I know I am going to live everyday of my life like a winner. Just like my mom did. The picture of the woman I want to be is the picture my eyes captured when I was growing up.

To all those women who place guilt on themselves for being gone for hours everyday, I want you to know what a child really values in her mom. And in the final analysis, trust me, the hours you are out does not even come into the picture.

To me a mom is someone who allowed me to find a life I want to live while she lived her own.

Urmila Chanam Bangalore

Topic Leadership
Comment on this Post


After a long struggle with my net connection i got to post a short one on Mothers Day and you know what, the post on the spotlight, yours dear Urmi, Seeing you after a long time at WP, busy lady.

No wonder, You are such a beautiful and successful woman. And its because of this wonderful mom, an exemplary model for every girl to follow, to admire and learn.

Beautiful post as ever. salute and hugs to the great mother of this great daughter.


Merlin Sharontina

Dear Sharontina,

I am most touched by your words and thank you so much for them. I didn't plan to write a blog post yesterday but I saw everywhere people talking about it, even the radio did not leave me!

I just wish each day we celebrate this love because our moms didn't chose to love us on one specific day.

Love and hugs Urmila Chanam

It takes just one to change many

I agree with Sharontina that for any of us, to lead a successful life and balance everything in positive way is never possible without our mom's efforts, her blessings and unconditional love. Im in love with all the mothers! Im so happy you expressed your gratitude in this beautiful piece despite being busy.

And yes, i too wish we could celebrate mother's love each day of our life.

Dear Sangita,

You know this sentiment regarding moms is held not just by girls but even boys and grown up men!! In India moms are very special women in a man's life. Moms give away so much of them to us.

I hope you had a fabulous mother's day with your mom.

Love from India Urmila Chanam

It takes just one to change many

Hi Urmila,

I love this piece about your mother. I think I told you privately but wanted to be sure you know I care. Ubuntu,


Wendy Stebbins Founder/CEO I AM ONE IN A MILLION Non-Profit Organization focused on helping street orphans and vulnerable children in Livingstone, Zambia Africa.

Dear Wendy,

I ,in all my interactions with you ,have found you concerned, caring, understanding and most of all ready to go that extra mile. You, my dear ,are the best friend any one could have!!

Just know that you are the best mom too, Wendy!!!!!!

Love and hugs Urmila Chanam

It takes just one to change many

Hi Urmila,

I just saw your message to me. I am moved almost to tears. That is so so thoughtful, supportive and sweet of you to think of me and to say those words that you KNOW mean lots. You have such a BIG heart.

The words thank you are not adequate for what you have taken the time to do for me but they are the best I can come up with other than to add I Love You.


Wendy Stebbins Founder/CEO I AM ONE IN A MILLION Non-Profit Organization focused on helping street orphans and vulnerable children in Livingstone, Zambia Africa.

Dear Wendy,

It's almost 11 pm here and its time for bed and it sure feels good to have been someone else's blessing for the day!! I am smiling here too as I read your message here, and look how far we are across continents and yet, we do make a difference in each others lives.

This is what I was telling you before- the 'rubber bands'. Never forget them.

Love you loads, Urmila Chanam India

It takes just one to change many

This is a brilliant piece Urmi. So beautifully expressed ! Your mother is beautiful, and so are you.

Lots of love,

Mukut Ray

Dear Mukut,

I am most encouraged by your words. This shall certainly make me carry on the road I am on!!! Wish you the best for the VOF. You are my star

Love and hugs Urmila Chanam

It takes just one to change many

My mother had the womb that bore me, but the hired help had the breasts that (with their compassion) nursed me.

I, too, had the mothers of other children caring for me and my siblings while we were very young. This enabled my mother to be a "gracious southern lady." Our hired help were expected to clean for our mother and care for us all day and return to their own families to do the same for them when they got home at night. The help was paid very little because their skills were not considered important to the financial welfare of the family. the fact that they were "women of color" made this even more acceptable in the deep south of the United States of America in the 1950s.

We lost our help when I was four years old (1955) and moved to a city with a long history of ownership of property by "women of color." This did not bode well for my mother's children. She had never been taught to do the work that was supposed to be done by the women of lower class, then called "nigra women." My mother fell from grace in upper class southern society, but gained status in her Roman Catholic religion by continuing to give birth to "soldiers of Christ."

I spent my professional life as a food service manager attempting to empower black southern women who were still underpaid and still had to work all day for starvation wages before returning to serve their own families. I wish there was a way to lift all of these surrogate breasts up to the station in our honor that they deserve.

All who are blessed with hired help who "mother" you, please understand the real value of their loving service, and pay them what they are really worth in your own success.


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