2nd August marks a very sad day in my life of gruelling hardships, daunting challenges, unimaginable hard work, historical accomplishments, and sacrifice. It is the Punyatithi of Maa, the day we lost her physically and felt an irreparable vacuum in our lives. While paying tribute to her today, I was lost in thoughts. Thoughts that hurt me, make me feel sad because time does not give me any luxury to repair it.

Regretfully, I realize that I failed to devote enough time to Maa during her precious existence. My passion and determination to establish two noble institutions, KIIT and KISS, took precedence, causing me to ignore the moments I could have spent with her, taking her to places in Bhubaneswar or beyond. Amidst the flood of emotions, my mind drifts back to a moment of nostalgia, five years before we bid her farewell. It was a fateful afternoon when I was on my way to meet the Chief Justice of India at his residence in Cuttack. Suddenly, I received a distressing call from my uncle, a doctor, informing me that Maa had suffered a mild heart attack and required immediate medical attention.

I was stuck with a heart-wrenching dilemma – my duty as the founder of KIIT and KISS called for me to meet the esteemed individual, while my mother’s sickness demanded my presence by her side. Without a moment’s hesitation, I urged my uncle to take her to the hospital and assured him that I would be there soon. Those four hours of separation from my ailing mother felt like an eternity. Meeting the judge at that moment when my heart longed to be with my mother remains indescribable. The relief that washed over me upon reaching her side was immeasurable. Thankfully, she recovered soon, and I thanked God for saving her. Had I lost her that day, forsaking my duty as a son, I would have been forever shackled by the chains of remorse, regret and guilt. In the corridors of my mind, I would have been haunted by the echoes of her absence. Her departure would have cast a shadow over my accomplishments, rendering them hollow.

In an attempt to honor her legacy, I have penned a biography of my beloved mother during the challenging times of the COVID pandemic. Titled ‘My Mother, My Hero,’ the book pays homage to her unyielding struggle in life, transforming us into good human beings despite her lack of formal education. Its profound impact has reached thousands of readers across the globe, spanning over 100 countries. The readers appreciate her resilience and the influence she had on my life. Through this tribute, I aim to keep her spirit alive, forever cherishing her as my guiding star, and my true hero.