Met her first in June’2003, a week after my marriage, when we moved to South Africa. She was then my husband’s boss’s wife! Newly wed me, in an unknown land, she was the lady who welcomed me to SA with open arms having a very comforting and motherly feel.
Sreela introduced me to all the people of the Indian Embassy, we together participated in many socio-cultural events etc. Took me around shopping for Indian groceries, made me attend Sai bhajans and many more activities. She hand-held me and walked me through my enitre stay in SA, like a mother would do for her child, hence, MY GOD MOTHER!
Though there was always a lot of love showered on me, but two gestures in particular really touched my heart. They were…
1) Sreela and I, initally lived about 24 kms away (Waterkloof ridge, Pretoria – Centurion) from each other. Besides that, every time she made chocolate mousse, Bengali fish curry and Baigan bharta (roasted eggplant dish), by default it was delivered to me by her driver. She knew these dishes were among my favorites, and also knew that i did’nt know how to cook them then.
2) During my first pregnancy, Sreela cared for me at every stage. The most special was when a Truly Traditional Bengali Baby Shower was organised at her place. I was gifted with a traditional Bengali saree (which by ritual, a mother gives to her daughter), was served Traditional Bengali Thali (consisting of 7 different kinds of greens, which is a must for the occasion, with traditional Bengali daal and fish curry) and an hour long Puja (sundarkand ka paath and bhajans) were conducted in the presence of about 30 ladies, each one preparing something I loved.
All this was organised single-handedly by Sreela in foreign lands. Such UNCONDITIONAL LOVE…what more can one ask for…Am blessed to have experienced it then and continue to experience it even today.
Learning: “Not all love in life has to be Conditional, Being UNCONDITIONAL is one of the greatest and most satisfying virtues”