My mom is… well to say the least… my “Mom”!!! She’s louder than me, she’s jollier and she’s crazier than I can ever be. If you guys ever thought I was boisterous or I was too blunt or that I was more melodramatic in real life than any of the bimbos on tv/movies… you surely haven’t met my mother. And yes my nautanki genes are passed down through her too. She’s the life of every party that she attends, can dance up a storm to the silliest of songs and walks like a dream on the highest stilettos ever made.
Today she celebrates her 50th birthday and doesn’t look a day over 35 ( some might point out that she looks younger but since I’m 28 myself, I would like to keep her age a lil higher!!!). Not just looks, the spark in her eyes and the hop in her gait will never ever let you guess her true age. She’s loved and adored by everyone around her… my friends call her more than they call me… the ammas at her school love her as do the kids of her kindergarten classes. She’s a favorite among all my dad’s and my brother’s course-mates for the lavish parties she throws. I have seen her cook a three course meal even at 11 pm at night for some sudden arrivals… cause she loves feeding people. She’s more active with welfare committees than any of the young wives of the community that I know ( me included).
Growing up when we were asked about our ambitions in life, a lot of us girls might have blurted that we wanted to be mommy. I really meant it. She strived at every step in her life and this place where she is today, is where she totally deserves to be. Married at 19 to my dad, who was in a transferrable job, she was, to put it literally, crudely snatched from her home and placed at a completely new place with a whole new geography, language and culture. She wasn’t pampered but was definitely from a protected environment with exposure to just Bengali language and culture. She didn’t give up, she didn’t quit… with that charming smile, she fought her way through it all. She bore every taunt that came her way for not knowing English, she smiled everytime she was the butt of a joke due to her lack of wordly knowledge… but she stood straight, head held high and kept moving on. She is the one who taught me that it is better to ask a question and know the answer than feeling shy about it… She grew in her new community… adapted to everything quickly while maintaining her principles and values.
She studied Montessori and decided to take up teaching, not cause she wasn’t capable of doing anything but ‘cause she wanted a job which wouldn’t take her away from her kids. She has been the ideal housewife, teacher and mother… someone I would always aspire to be. Her lunch preparations for us at school were legendary… never have I carried a meal of less than three courses. And this was while she was working as a teacher. She was there when we went to sleep, tucking us in and there she was when we woke up, half way through her morning chores. She is one of the few women I know who have managed to maintain a good balance between their work and personal life. I learnt from her that I could be perfect at my job while being perfect in my household chores. I learnt from her that though there should be gender equality, being a woman comes with its own tray of responsibilities without which life won’t be as lively. She taught me to speak my heart out, to fight for my rights and to stand up and face the world without a fear…
She taught me that it was important that I knew how to cook… not cause I was a girl but cause I had to be independent in life. She gave me the freedom to choose my friends and my life partner cause she had also given me the wisdom to choose correctly. She has been there through my heart breaks and through my euphoric states… she has applauded my independence and been there to support me at my weaker moments.
My mom is the one lady I know who has this beautiful sense of fashion. She does try to drill some of it in me… but it never holds. She’s the one who still buys my suits. She still goes around a 1000 shops only to search for that perfect matching earring for my saree. She is the one who chides me to wear a lil make up, or close my legs while sitting or maybe to walk like a woman and not a camel… she’s as much as my guiding star as she is my dark shadow… always hovering always making sure I’m fine. Yes it gets damn irritating at times and every protest of mine is met with the same statement “ when you have a daughter, you will know the pains of bringing her up”!!!
A mom-daughter relation isn’t always easy, we too have our dark days. Slamming my bed room door on her face has always been my favorite… calling her a chudail my second favorite. We fight, we bicker like crazy and the best part is that we don’t even apologise for it. The second we start acting normal, people know that all is forgotten and forgiven.
As she steps into her 50th year, here’s wishing her a lifetime of grace, poise and beauty. Although everyone knows she doesn’t need it, she’s literally a powerhouse of it all. Ma, you’ve truly been an inspiration…
( And yessss I know she looks young and she looks like my sister… but as much as it’s a compliment for her… its kinda upsetting for me.. so STOP mentioning it :P)