It’s been over 11 years since I last met Amrita mam at IIT Kharagpur at their annual festival, but I still vividly remember the warmth and excitement with which mam greeted me right after my college group wrapped up a stage performance!
Back in those days we students didn’t have smart phones and in 2009, there was no WhatsApp to constantly stay in touch with. But people like Amrita mam leave a strong impression on you for being absolutely genuine and going above and beyond in doing everything.
Known to me as a senior with an excellent command over academics and flawless work ethics, I was overwhelmed by her strong persona and positive approach to every little aspect of life!
On this Women’s day, I feel lucky to know Amrita mam, and share some of her unique qualities which have influenced me while in college!
Complete Dedication towards EVERYTHING
I don’t recall Amrita mam doing something that she didn’t give her 110% to. Assisting her on her Thesis project was an unmatched learning experience and a joy at the same time.
No matter how big or small the detail, she approached it like her life depended on it! Rarely have I seen such absolute devotion to one’s work. Such total commitment and thoroughness was something, again, I’d rarely come across in people.
Being the archi-phile I was (and still am), i was enthralled by the depth and breadth of her knowledge as well.
“Change is the only constant”
Until the day I read this quote outside her hostel door, I was afraid of changes in life. Was scared to be outside my comfort zone or to come to terms with what is difficult in life.
Getting acquainted with Amrita mam taught me that one can commit oneself to the pursuit of excellence despite personal loss and challenges in life. I deeply valued the fact that certain things mam shared with me taking me into confidence, feeling a sense of trust, and it always made me feel protective and responsible.
She’s someone we all can look up to
Surprisingly, this is something Amrita mam said about a college junior of hers (senior to me). When SHE was the one we all looked up to 🙂
This made me feel how humble Amrita mam is, and doesn’t shy away from acknowledging the good qualities in people. In fact most of the time I spent with her during the pre-submission phase, she would mention the good about all the common people we knew, and this really broadened my perspective.
Though I was 3 years junior to her, Amrita Mam treated me with respect, valued my privacy and never belittled my silly questions/suggestions.
The essence of womanhood too is that we stand up for each other and appreciate each other’s good qualities.
It’s not only about what we do, but HOW we do things
Thesis submission stage was also that precious time when we would almost spend the entire day with seniors, observing how they manage their time and conduct themselves. It was a precious time truly. We would be active listeners to their experiences of internships, college events and all that mattered.
We would be accompanying our seniors to the hostel mess and share the table during breakfast, dinner and lunch.
Not to forget, the evening snacks… In particular, I dreaded the Wednesday evening snacks because they were plain bread, butter and cucumber. Would be more than happy to skip them and make more space for the more delicious “demand dinner” comprising egg curry or paneer!
But one evening snacks outing with Amrita mam changed everything. She simply applied the right amount of butter to the toast, put the right quantity of salt, and it tasted way much better than the sorry sandwich I had been skipping for weeks! All this while, the sandwich had tasted bad simply because I didn’t make it right. That’s when I realized it’s not just about what we do, but how we do.
Elegant, Graceful and Well-read
Gracefulness has little to do with looks or make up but everything with how we conduct ourselves. How we carry ourselves. This is something I learned from Amrita mam.
Being the careless tomboy I was, I’d completely overlook my appearance and even mannerisms. But interacting with Amrita mam changed that!
It was really impressive to see how mam would take out time for reading with her busy schedule. The last book I recall from her collection was The Witch of Portobello by Paulo Coelho.
Another hallmark of a truly graceful person is good time management. Amrita mam personified that – in making submissions ahead of time, in finding time for things that mattered to her.
I never found her to be in a hurry or in a disarray due to the lack of time. On the contrary, I’ve seen people going all over the place just because there’s so much on the platter that they get confused, mismanage things, and make a fool of themselves.
From Amrita mam, I learned how to allocate adequate time to priorities, and then have time for leisure and hobbies too. In a college culture where “nighouts”, binge-movie watching and last-moment panic were the norm, Amrita man’s consistency and well-structured routine gave me an ideal roadmap to follow!
Grace is not limited to just clothes 👗👚👖or how we look, but “it’s what we do and how we do things that defines us”.
Love for Family
Though I have interacted with Mam only for a short while, what came across unequivocally was her love for family and people close to her life!
Meeting her sister too was a delight! I was often amazed at how much mam cared for the people close to her.
Dedication towards Causes
What stood out strongly in Amrita mam’s work was her commitment to certain ideals and ethos.
This made me realise that work doesn’t have to be robotic and devoid of humanness. On the contrary, it’s our outlook and value system that defines the nature of work. I hope that the values of gender sensitization and thoughtfulness that Amrita mam brings to urban planning, will find the place they deserve and enhance the lives of people in cities.
I hope that Mam finds great success, recognition and fulfillment in everything she does. Wishing you all the joy this Women’s day – keep inspiring us all! ♀🌹👩