My Virtual Maa : #BarAThon Day 3

About a year ago, I received a friend request on Facebook. Ever since the profile theft episode I am very cautious in accepting friend requests. The number of mutual friends is no more a criterion to accept requests. The profile pic suggested the person to be a female in 70s or 80s, their public posts that I could access were lively, meaningful and full of love for life. I was inspired. 

Once again I went through the mutual friends list. There was one common friend who was her son with whom I haven’t had much interaction beyond appreciating his words and paintings.  There was another common friend, a single woman who inspires me in a lot of ways through her volunteering work and her regular posts on daily lives. I love how she explains the trivial things in life and our day to day random experiences so very beautifully and in such depth. I didn’t think twice and accepted this old woman’s friend request. 

A few days later I realized she was a very learned person who was a retired professor of history from a renowned college in India. History was never my favourite subject in school but ever since I started traveling I have a fondness for history. But she wasn’t sharing any pieces on history. She was sharing musings from her day to day life. I realized that she was in her late eighties and her husband was in his nineties. I love old people. They somehow make me feel like I am still in touch with my Muthachan (maternal grandfather). Slowly I started following her updates regularly. I started longing for them. 

A little later, she along with her husband shifted to an old age home willfully because they were aware that they needed regular assistance with her husband’s health conditions. Her updates about their day to day life at that home made me respect her more. Never been in touch with someone so inspiring. 

I have this habit of scrolling through FB news pages at night and read a few articles before I finally go to sleep. That’s my FB scroll time. On July 25th, I read her post about her sister’s demise and how she regrets that she couldn’t meet her one last time. My eyes welled up. And here we have people who fight for petty reasons and cut off all ties. On July 28th, as I was scrolling through the news feed with my eyes feeling heavy with sleep when I read it. A condolence message with a picture of this elderly woman. 

I don’t know why but I haven’t known this kind of grief in a long long time. I still haven’t been able to get through it. I never met her. Never chatted with her except when Dad was in hospital. That time I was really paranoid because I love him more than anyone else. She comforted me with her words and made me come to terms with the reality of life. For this I will be thankful to her till eternity. May be unknowingly I was seeking comfort in her words and in knowing her. She had slowly become someone I held close to my heart. I know she is no longer with us, but I still keep going back to her page hoping to find a new lively update.  

Strange are the ways of nature and strange are the ways in which you connect to a certain person in a virtual world. How can one be so very fond of someone you do not even know well? How can you not know of this fondness until you see the words RIP on their wall? Her sudden demise once again taught me how fragile our lives are. Her life will be an example I would love to live when I get old. No complaints. No regrets. Simply acceptance and gratefulness. 

Much love to my virtual friend who now resides within my heart. Rest in peace Manju Maa. Yes. Maa is what I want to call her. 


I am with Team #CrimsonRush for the #BarAThon from 1st to 7th August 2016.

This post if written for the prompt ‘fragile lives‘ for August 3, 2016.


16 Replies to “My Virtual Maa : #BarAThon Day 3”

  1. Yes, strange but true how sometimes we feel connected with people we have never met. Just as we would with a family member. Maybe there was a connection in the past. Know what I mean?
    Thanks for sharing.

  2. I had no clue you were so connected with her. I had met her once when l was at Subho’s place with my family. She was bright, erudite, so knowledgeable, laughing and joking around. She was also frightened of dogs. We had such a lovely time interacting with her. I also have her book with me. I never met her after that. Then l came across the news of her passing. Beautiful the story that you shared. Sometimes some people just touch is so deeply.

  3. That was a beautiful feeling you shared here Rekha! Indeed we find comfort and solace from the most unlikely sources. But it is amazing that you developed such a bonding with a virtual friend. Love and hugs to you.

  4. I don’t know what to say, Rekha. But I know what you mean. I’m feeling so sad and upset at the news of the demise of a classmate’s husband and I didn’t know him. I wasn’t even in touch with her. But I feel so heavy today. It makes me wonder, what is the use of it all ..

    Anyways, it’s a good thing that you got to know such a wonderful woman. May she rest in peace.

  5. Relationships have a strange way of surprising us. Some people just come to mean a lot to us without even realising. And of late despite the distrust around virtual relationships I have found some good friends online.

  6. Lovely post. She is alive within your heart Rekha and will surely be smiling in heaven that you remember her so fondly. You calling her Maa means more than anything else.

  7. Rekha your post was a true celebration of all that Ma symbolized! Her loss was unexpected to say the least and at the same time a grand exit sans suffering to herself or others! The power of her 17 year old Buddhist practice helped her be victorious and set an example even in death! It was also her greatest gift to endless people including us, her two sons and daughters in law and its own ripple effect! I know Ma is at peace because of the good fortune she created in touching the lives of others without inhibition or prejudice. But it is a loss we as a family are still overwhelmed by! Your post contributed greatly to our comfort! Thank you! Nam Myoho Renge Kyo!

  8. We have been overwhelmed by the number of people who shared how Mom touched their lives, and we know that she lives on through them.

    Mom was scared of dogs almost all her life. If she had to go anywhere, her first question would be whether there were dogs in the house. She was clear that if my brother or I were to have a dog at home, she would not be visiting with us any more. Neo came to us seven years back. Mom was in shock. Since she wanted to spent time with us, she came but it was under the condition that she stays locked in her room and Neo in his. This went on for years. She realized that Neo was a family member and she felt miserable about her fear. She finally determined to overcome this, to relate to Neo without fear. My brother and I seriously doubted it, since she had lived in terror of dogs for more than 70 years. She prayed and took small steps. Over many visits, she overcame her fear of dogs and became friends with Neo and other dogs. She explained her fear to Neo and requested him to keep some distance. Their conversations were amusing since Mom (she taught most of her life) would be pleading, scolding, fighting, They would sit side by side as she had her morning tea or sat to pray. She would make us take pics of her sitting with or petting Neo and send them to people. It was her way of letting people know that nothing is impossible.

    Thank you for this lovely tribute.

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