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Remembering ‘Mother’

By: Ranjita Biswas

Remembering ‘Mother’
So Kolkata’s very own ‘Mother’ is getting canonised after many deliberations and many years of waiting. I took out the slip of paper from my drawer I have preserved for more than twenty years. Torn from a notebook hastily, it looks worn now. I was waiting with my little daughter at the Kolkata (then Calcutta) airport, not the swanky airport it is today, to go to my parents’ place in Assam. Suddenly I saw her-Mother Teresa, in her signature blue bordered white saree, sitting on a sofa on the opposite side. Excited, I dragged my daughter and approached her. She smiled radiantly and wrote on my notebook, “God bless you!”

Somebody has advised me that I should laminate it so that it doesn’t get absolutely beyond repair. Should I, I wonder, or keep it as it is.

 

When I was new to Kolkata and the bus from my workplace in south Kolkata often plied by the road where Mother Teresa first came to join the Loreto Convent, I had often wondered what drew Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu, the future Mother Teresa, of Skopje, now Macedonia’s capital, to this city- enough to make a lifetime connection and commitment to establish The Missionaries of Charity.

 

In 2011, I was in Sienna, the medieval city in Italy’s Tuscany region. Getting down from the bus what do I come across but the ‘Piazza Madre Teresa de Calcutta’- Square of Mother Teresa. I felt very proud and a bit nostalgic for my city. It was a magical moment of discovery and I requested one in the touring group, a Polish girl, to take a picture. She did, of course, and congratulated me that I belonged to the city where this great soul lived.

 

Even today when I travel, to Spain or Portugal, or even in the west coast of America or Vietnam, if someone doesn’t recognise the name of my city ‘Calcutta’ I add helpfully, “This is where Mother Teresa used to live” and immediately recognition dawns.

 

I have visited many cathedrals and churches  in Europe with statues of different saints, prayed and looked up their biographies to find out about the miracles they had performed, the good work they did for the poor and the deprived , but at the moment I feel blessed  that in my lifetime I came across a person who would soon be recognised as a saint.