Life is all about balance. Mumma, you were an example of maintaining that balance in delicate situations. You were kind but didn’t let people abuse you, you trusted but didn’t allow anyone to deceive you, you were content but never stopped improving yourself.
Mumma, although you were religious, you did not believe in messengers of God – the false Pundits. This was because you had first hand experience of them conning our extended family members. You were of the opinion that if these people had any real powers, they would make their own lives better and would not go from door to door cheating others. Despite this–ours being a big joint family, we had pundits visit us quite often! They were invited to our home on major festivals to perform special ceremonies or to consult on auspicious dates. However, you would never let Manoj get near any of them! Manoj had a special chemistry with these people, and found it very satisfying to hassle the pundits he considered conmen. He would go to all sorts of lengths to intimidate them, confront them, and ridicule them. Mumma you were always nervous on special occasions like wedding ceremonies or big festivals as Manoj was so unpredictable and nobody knew what he might say or do to upset these highly respected pundits. You used to tell him to stay away and not speak at all while the rituals went on. This included visits to temples, where even until today, Manoj’s presence is mainly for touristic and fun reasons and not to do with God or religion at all!
It is so true that balance is not something you find, it is something you create. This is what you had to do all the time–maintain a delicate balance between the expectations of the family, the respect that pundits expected, and Manoj’s undeterred attitude towards them. Kudos to you!