Ma-The overlooked guardian angel



The maternity ward sequence marking the child’s birth is always one of the most memorable moments in a woman’s life; notwithstanding the conspicuous bunch of gynecologists in surgical robes and morbid operation theater set up that witness the proceedings. This process is the cornerstone of womanhood; for it introduces her to this two kilo whining meatball-a personification of her love to her soul mate while planting a new fulcrum for her life to go around.With every umbilical cord disconnected, a mother is born out of a woman.

Coming to my story, on the wee hours of a humid sixteenth day of yet another May of 1988; my dad’s wife turned a mother with my birth into a Rajiv Gandhi run nation. It wasn’t the rosiest of deliveries, for I almost ended up killing her in the process; giving her a hint of the things future had in store.

My mom is the sort of person, one would accurately remember as the pleasant looking congenial woman from a run-in years ago. She was the first of three children of my grandparents, raised in a joint family set-up that outnumbered neighbouring colonies on headcount basis. She grew up having few hobbies and a lot of cousins. She sung like a dream and could’ve go on to sign autographs to patrons of mainstream music if destiny didn’t play spoilsport with domestic duress. Another unmistakable facet of her is the way she hates maths till date like measles; thanks to my grandpa’s motivational ways with the cane.

Some life altering events are geography altering ones too; such was my grandpa’s accident which made the Delhi-Nagpur girl my mother was settle down in Chennai for eternity. There are phases of life that test your tenacity while sieving phonies from genuine people; grandpa’s bed-bound period of recovery made a stronger person out of her who’s maturity was a decade elder to her actual age.

It was in this period, dad came in to her life; thanks to a friendship born out of harmless banters between aunts from respective families who thought gossiping was a cardio-vascular activity. Those were the times politicians, film scripts and matrimony were derived out of small talk. Despite not being the most romantic of people, my parents overcompensate for the lack of flamboyance with compatibility and respect; virtues beyond a generation that employs emoticons and selfies to express.

To withhold an opinion and employ silence at the right time is more important to a relation than wearing the entitlement to one’s opinion like a badge of honour during wrong times in the name of expression of individuality.

This is something I’ve grown up watching my mother practice with my dad every time things get heated between them. Not the person to design her ethical system out of bestsellers; she more often than not allows my dad to have the last word because she is aware of the fact that she is the more mature of the both of them and has a better tolerance for nonsense.

She’s always taught us about the need to look at a intention behind a hurtful word uttered; for what would remain after the word has resigned to irrelevancy is the intention of the person.

She is that sort of a cook; that earned me a lot of friends on the merits of my lunch box during school days. Her paneer gravies and sambar are things that bring solace to my sarcastic tongue; which doesn’t stop me from taking regular digs at her culinary skills with women musing over her expertise.

If courtesy sounded mellifluous and bargained incessantly with vegetable vendors; it would look a lot like my mother. She’s one of the warmest of hosts; as obnoxious as a guest may be or as ill timed as their visit might be; a complete antithesis to my “trespassers will be prosecuted” style of welcoming guests.

Having a woman who’s grown up with brothers for mother comes with it’s share of perks; for the candour and camaraderie happen more organically as she already knows how grown up men function. After my break-up, all it took her was a look at my face to know what I was going through at that time. Her being empathetic and cool, made the uphill walk a lot more easier at that time, than a gratuitous sermon from conventional parenting manual would have.

This piece is an attempt to reminisce about her evolution as a person  without getting too cheesy; an objective fly on the wall account of sorts. The time I’ve taken to write about my mother on the occasion of her birthday has brought many fond anecdotes to my mind; a few of which I’ve quoted.

That said, the ways she has touched upon our lives doesn’t absolve me from pulling her legs about her miserly ways, likening her cooking to euthanasia or having week long cold wars over flimsy reasons on a regular basis to only think about what to do to make her 50th birthday more special than this one.



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