Like many I know, I grew up watching beauty pageants like Miss World and Miss Universe on TV. And much like how a cricket fan during the World Cup feels the stomach turn as a match progresses — out rightly hoping against hope that India bags the Cup — I felt the same way which watching Miss World/Miss Universe, year after year. This became a family event – something we would sit and watch together and discuss how well or not a question was answered, among other pointless blabber.
When Miss India 2017, Manushi Chhillar, was asked her question after she reached the top 5, I could personally not think of a better answer than what she gave. She was asked which profession deserves the highest salary and why? And she confidently answered, “I think a mother deserves the highest respect. When you talk about salary, I don’t think it’s just about cash but love and respect she gives to someone. My mother has been the biggest inspiration in my life and all mothers sacrifice so much for their kids. The profession which deserves the highest salary and the highest respect and love SHOULD be of a mother.
When Manushi — a medical student herself who has the right to say her profession deserves the highest salary because, you know, doctors save lives — gave her unexpected response, she not just warmed the cockles of my own heart but she spoke up for a community that is easily ignored, whose work is often invisible and highly undervalued – the community of mothers.
In a world where mothers are made to feel inadequate irrespective of how hard they try to be the best mothers they know how to be, I hope this timeless answer makes those who don’t notice or tend to take her for granted — just stop doing so.
A mother does the most important job in the world – giving a child the wings to fly. It is hard to imagine anyone else love you more than your mother does. She is, more often than not, the in-house chef, the emergency doctor, the unassuming confidante, the caring hand that holds you tight during life’s triumphs and hardships, unconditionally.
Yet, even though her ‘work’ is noble, she gets no salary. She may be rewarded with smiles and hugs if she’s lucky. Or some alone time in the loo when the kids are finally asleep.
Every mother I know has had many moments in her life when she has felt she was not ‘enough’. Working mothers feel they don’t give their children enough time. Stay-at-home mothers are made to feel that they are wasting their time away raising their children and not doing enough to add to the bank balance. Mothers are always trying hard to be enough
But Manushi Chhillar, who went on to become Miss World thanks to an answer that is so perfect, reminded us all that a mother’s worth deserves not just the highest salary, but the deepest respect. Respect for herself that she is beyond ‘enough’ – she is an inspiration.
I hope you remind your mother that today. And make her feel like the Queen of your world, like she truly deserves to be – like Miss World herself.