kindness and my mother // art journal + poetry

Have you ever asked yourself about the most important person in your life?
I mean the most-most-most-most important person; not the i-like-your-face-so-you-can-be-my-most-important-person.

I did and the answer didn't surprise me at all.
a word so plain
an impact too great
i first saw this
8 lettered word
in the browns of
my mother's eyes
and i don't remember 
the second the third the fourth time
but the last time
i remember 
i looked for it
in my own eyes
for my own self
― kindness & my mother

Life took an unexpected turn during my transition from teen to ultra-teen. This term ultra-teen phase is my way of explaining life after high school, the acquittal of freedom and the power of enduring the power punches destiny had in store. In short, I became a teen who was less of a kid and more of an upcoming adult.
I knew everything was going to change. The faces too familiar would fade in history, all the memories will turn into stories and I will be left with a void that can never be filled.

And it happened. With all its glory, change walked in, walked on the floor of my school's dark hallways, roamed around the streets I used to go and shopped from the departmental store that used to be my favorite. After that, it wrapped everything I loved in itself, walked on the very same road it came from, and disappeared until next time. And I could never go back loving all of it, ever again. Change had arrived and I had to go.
When the transition was over and ultra-teen was carved on my forehead, I asked myself the same question I had always dodged from myself 'who's the most important person in your life'?

All my answers led me to one person; my mother. It's been always hard for me to talk about her yet I keep doing it and do it quite a lot. I got to know her as a person in my transition phase. Before that, our relationship had been rocky and the blame is on me. I was a very, very troubled child - the overly adored family kid who didn't take no for an answer. I feel guilty talking about how my childhood was spent. At this point, I might want myself to be held accountable for all the things my 5 year old self was allowed to do and had all the means to do that. For so many years, I couldn't know my mother better. But when it happened, it changed me.

I asked my mother, Amma Jaan, to give me one solid piece of advice; something that would just make things easier for me. Perhaps I was looking for a magical formula to turn my life upside down or something along those lines. She, in her perpetual calm composure, gave me the answer, 'be kind, Noor Unnahar'. And that conversation did go on for a while and we talked about a million things that included society's injustice, her favorite mystery thrillers, my fictional (and real) crushes; we covered everything. Yet the answer remained the same - she wanted me to be a kind person and I do not wonder about it now. She remembered my childhood and knew the person I could become under that influence. Her one advice's stuck with me for the rest of this life.
Kindness is a weird weird feeling. But it's probably the most important one in this whole wide world. In my hardest times, I often don't remember my best friends or the wonderful things I got to do in dreamy places - I remember faces of people who were kind to me in difficult times. And they're not always the people I know - most of them are strangers or at least nearly strangers. A woman helping me in the supermarket as I sorted my basket absentmindedly, an old man looking like my grandfather giving me duaa as we walk together to board our plane, and so many unknown other faces that I don't know by name but by a feeling - that ominous feeling of kindness. After all this time, as I sit in the comfort of my room, thinking about life, I don't think I want too much from it. I have had more than I could dream of yet it just keeps getting better. I am content with the idea of being a daughter of a kind woman and after that, everything else just becomes irrelevant.
thank you amma jaan for saving me from becoming a catastrophic mess, I am sorry for being a child who wasn't kind, but I can tell you that I won't be that kind of a grown up. and it's a promise I am willing to keep.

This post is inspired by nestle pakistan's campaign #ProudToBeMyMum (see their video here)
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