We all have written the essay My Mother umpteen times in school which probably was copy pasted from some essay book. This is my first genuine and sincere attempt.
The 2nd Sunday of May is celebrated as Mother’s day and my mom’s birthday is on 3 May. Every year these two days just happen by default. But this year, thanks to the pandemic, it made me introspective about my life, my mom and her impact on my life.
I am because she is! Her womb carried me for 9 months and brought me forth on this planet. I could experience life only because she birthed me. Who is this woman who by virtue of birthing me becomes my Aai.. my mom!
I call her AAI. AAtma + Ishwar = AAI Mother is a merge of A Soul and God
My Aai.. Born in 1943 belonged to a very simple, not very well to do but hardworking family. Her father was a tailor and also a freedom fighter. Her mother worked in a spinning mill. Simple living, simple thinking.
Aai narrates lots of memories of her childhood.There was poverty but dignity.There was lack of everything yet satisfaction. Grandparents were illiterate yet educated their 5 kids.
The most poignant memory is of people in her town dying of cholera in 1951. She heard of her friend’s death and was pretty scared she would die too. She, just 8 then, folded her hands and prayed to God ‘Pl God let me live till 60, I will give you all my toys and sweets’. Today she is 78 and on her every bday thanks God for the ‘bonus years’. (I too, thank God for listening to her prayers)
Once she even fought with dacoits to save me, when their house was looted on Diwali day and the dacoits took away all gold and cash and would have killed me as I was just an infant crying my lungs out hearing the commotion.
My Aai.. married in 1962 into a huge joint family of 20 members had to face the usual hardships and restrictions. She wanted to be a teacher or a nurse. But she could do neither and had to remain content cooking, cleaning and bearing with the insults, taunts and brickbats as she was the younger bahu, very meek, naive, vulnerable, soft spoken and came from a poorer family as compared to the others. She wasn’t and isn’t that street smart, rude, outspoken, scheming, selfish sort of a person. She couldn’t and still can’t fight for her rights. She always puts others before herself. She takes joy in making others feel cared and comfortable. She is very prudent, always has strategies ready to tackle problems due to her intuitive and clairvoyant nature. She is a pro in handling finance and kitchen too. Will settle for peace, avoids arguments at all costs. She loves nature, gardening, music, comedy shows, sarees.
All these qualities have been existing in my Aai throughout my life but I had never really given it much thought.
I guess we all are so engrossed in our lives that we tend to take our mom for granted and go about doing our stuff mindless about the woman who is our coach, counselor, trainer, financer, cook, helper, our ‘girl Friday’, cheerleader and our fan too.
Yet, some ungrateful children don’t accept this fact and think ‘what does mom do for me ?..it’s her duty, no big deal! Even a maid can do it.’ Well, dear child the maid may have all the skills of your mom but not the ‘motherhood’.
What is motherhood? Motherhood is another name for devotion.. to love, care, protect, nurture, support..unconditionally, without expecting any returns. Whether a woman gives birth or not, she becomes a mother at some stage. She enhances every relationship with the flavor of motherhood with family, relatives, friends, guests and acquaintances too. Her love, her giving, her sharing is laced with the sweetness of her motherhood. Motherhood is not gender specific. Your dad too ‘mothers’ you at times. I have been ‘mothered’ by my mother in law, sisters, friends, relatives, my husband, my kids and neighbors too.
Due to too much commercialisation of Mother’s day, the true essence of the relationship is lost. It’s not just a celebration with cake, gifts and flowers of the woman but honoring her motherhood, maternal bonds and the influence of mothers in society.
Society prospers because of people. Behind every successful artist, scientist, engineer, doctor and other professionals in society there is a ‘mean mom’. Mean moms ?? yeah.. mean moms !
Well these mean moms.. oh they are those strict one’s who lay down some rules for their kids, eat, sleep, study on time, no chips but only lunchbox meals, don’t believe in child labor laws and make you cook, clean, mop, wash dishes and do other mundane chores, insist on meeting your friends and give details about with whom you are going out, reason, time, no night outs or late nights due to strict curfew time, keep them informed about your whereabouts, can smell a lie from a mile and always insist on telling only the truth, also insist on giving them the account of expenses and savings .. oh these mean moms! All of us missed out on so many wonderful experiences that some of our friends had.. they didn’t have a ‘mean mom’!
I have grown up as an educated, honest, disciplined, righteous, responsible, conscientious, God fearing individual. Thanks to my ‘mean mom’. She groomed me too, to become a ‘mean mom’. Am proud of my mom who is such a humble, simple and selfless woman. She isn’t perfect but neither are we.
Do you know whats wrong with the world today.. it just doesn’t have enough ‘mean moms’ anymore!
This Mother’s Day a big shout out to all the ‘mean moms’ out there..
This article dedicated to you AAI..