When I try to remember what life was like before the kids arrived, I can go back only up to the time of my pregnancy. Try as I might I can not remember what filled my days or my thoughts. How did I survive with nothing to keep the brain going? To think that there was a time when not having a book to read in the afternoon was the biggest worry! And now, my kids are grown - one is away at college and the other will be too in another couple of years. Fact of the matter is that not so long ago all my time was devoted to thinking about their next need, next exam, next assignment, next dentist appointment, outgrown clothes / shoe and what not. Now there is a vacuum. The son who is still with us at home is grown and independent and scolds me if I adjust my routine / shopping / outing etc according to his schedule. How the time has flown. I remember grumbling that my mother worried that she had nothing to worry about - that worrying was her hobby. Now my children tell me "Don't worry Ma.." at every turn. I am not the worrying type and nor am I the "maaa...." type - if you know what I mean - those who have watched the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s hindi films are sure to recognize the type! And yet I find myself drifting to thoughts concerning my children at very odd times. Before I had children I could not imagine myself putting someone else before me all the time - some of the time yes, but not all the time. So how and why did I change? What is it that makes a mother out of the most non-motherly among us? How does it happen that someone who wouldn't have stirred at the biggest racket going on in the next room suddenly finds herself waking up if the baby so much as stirs? How does it happen that my mother can sense the least bit of sadness / anger / frustration in my voice even over long distance phone? What is it that sharpens the perception to such an extent that without seeming to look I can discern the mood my child is in? Is it the survival instinct engendered in all beings? Is it love? A sense of responsibility? Or all of the above? Whatever it is, it is one of the most sublime changes that occur in nature and one that is impossible to understand even when one experiences it first hand.