I was wreathing in searing stabbing pain lying in the cabin of the nursing home, about to give birth and was almost begging my gynecologist for epidural. Finally my scalpel-happy doctor agreed and that moment came when my new born was placed at the nape of my neck and she snuggled against my skin, I wondered was the little wonder inhaling the MOMMY smell? In that semi conscious state I realized that my delivery was comparatively easy and comfortable, just a few hours of pain, a shot of epidural in my spinal cord and after that a C-section which I didn’t really feel anything at all and then I recalled at the same time that my mom had undergone sixteen hours (you read it right!) of labor pain to give birth to me, she had a normal delivery, no epidural, no team of doctors and no such comfort. I could not help but cried at the first sight of my mother when she lovingly put her hands on my forehead after I was brought back to my cabin after the surgery; my love for her, my respect for her grew manifold.
Years passed after that, now I am a seasoned mother myself to a nine year old She-Dennis but I can’t forget that day of her birth and what unendurable pain my mom must have gone through giving birth to me and why only my mom, thousands of mothers across the globe go through this every second as we talk.
And then only last year I was introduced to the hoopla of celebrating Mother’s day by the kids of my building which includes my little one as well! I tried to wish my mother and was snapped by her right at that instant and didn’t dare to argue further that why can’t I celebrate or gift her something on this day.
So this year I decided I will go by her rule, no wishing, no gifts, no extra phone calls, just a normal day of our daily ritual of calling her at bed time (read my bed time regimen!)
But Man Proposes and God in His turn Disposes!!! I was party ready and going out for a family get together where I was almost eves dropped at a conversation between a mother and her teen age children standing in the parking lot of my building tower, while my husband was honking impatiently and my little Miss Sunshine was almost going cranky with impatience, I could not help but listen and started smiling. “What was so funny outside in this sweltering heat that you were standing and sweating out?” My husband by now has come to terms with his wife’s crazy antics and my daughter too knows how unconventional her mom can get sometimes, so they have stopped minding now. “The children are so nice, they really wanted to take their mother out for lunch today, I just heard, beautiful chemistry and bonding between mom and children no?”, well long fourteen years of togetherness has definitely made us know each other like the back of our hands. “What’s the catch?” Asked the mister giving me a sideway glance and his lopsided smile (He still looks damn handsome with that killer smile, cusp tooth and dimples!!!). “Its Mother’s Day, I think I heard it correct, a day to celebrate your mother’s love and contributions in your life, only my dear mom is averse to the idea” I said sulking on my high Critic-Alert tone. “Just one day when you tell your Mom that you love her?” This was from the little listener cushioned cozily in the back seat of the car. “Yes, but don’t you dare wish me or say I Love You Mom like them” I warned her wagging my fingers because I could not wish my own mom and was terribly upset. Our journey resumed, the car audio was on and the song I started with was playing in some FM channel, coincidence sometimes can be an absolute pun (unintended)!!!!!
While the world outside was celebrating Mother’s Day in posh restaurants, lavishing gifts on mommies, putting up pictures and borrowed quotes on Mother’s love and her unselfish prodigality on social media. I did not have the heart to call up my mom and wish her “Happy Mother’s Day Maa”, and get snapped again, last year she sounded not only upset but irked and annoyed too.
But this year I felt a radical change in my own feelings as well. I quietly sat in the car and felt that wishing mom on a particular day sounded too phony even to my own ears, let alone forget about my mom’s reactions, she would have simply fainted out of shock that what has happened to her otherwise mad hatter daughter that she has donned the hat of a civil personality (I only have to blame myself for this image of mine because I forgot her birthday just few months back!!!!). So yes, it is a tendency for us kids to take our mothers for granted and then suddenly one particular day all our love spurs out like a fountain and we start treating moms like Gods! Not fair, we scream at moms if she hasn’t cooked meals as per our choice, we get vexed if she asks when are we coming back home, we laugh at her lack of knowledge of social media, we think she is not at par with our proficiency of world affairs, but we forget she was the one who helped us take baby steps when we first started to walk on our wobbly legs, she taught us the alphabets with immense patience, she was our first teacher, she did the first hand holding. We may have grown up, but have we really outgrown her lap? NO.
Yes, I did not celebrate Mother’s Day and I discouraged my daughter sternly to wish me or give me some gifts out of her own pocket money, (she totally believes in saving unlike Mommy dearest!). So am I against celebrating or acknowledging my mother’s contributions in my life? Absolutely NOT, because to me I owe my life to her and so I celebrate her love, her unconditional selfless affection, her abundance magnanimity, her infinite self-sacrifice every second , every minute, every hour and every day of my life. I can’t single out one day of my life to show love to my mother, I do it every day. I understood my mother’s sentiments and fathomed why she was galled when I wished her last year. It is humanly not possible to weigh a mother’s love through material gifts and lunch or dinner outings.
The person who had nurtured me in her womb for 10 months and have gone through excruciating pain to show me the light of the world, the person who introduced me to this world, who was responsible for my upbringing, inculcating and instilling values and ethos in me, who was accountable for shaping me up so that I can face the world with my head held high and if not as per her caliber, but at least be a sensible decent mother to my own child, needs more than just one day of validation for all she has done for me and still continuing in doing so. Yes, she still is my best friend, my date for Bengali movies, my partner for coffee outings, my ever ready cook book with recipes, my confidante, my most trusted 3 am friend, my Go-To person whenever I land in any trouble. I fight with her, I scream at her, I try and act like her mother now, but at the end of the day she is the one I turn up to in times of need and distress. She is endowed with this amazing copious eminence of gauging my state of mind the moment she hears that “Hello Maa”, staying on the other side of the phone, I do not even need to tell her what is going on in my mind, so does she deserve just one day of recognition and shower of material gifts? I guess not.
All my life she has pulled me out of my blanket whenever I wanted to sleep late, she has continuously complained about how little I study as compared to my other friends, she hated it whenever I fussed about food sitting at the dining table, she completely disliked my choice of clothes (I remember I brought the house down, literally, when she gave away my ripped denims to our maid!!!), she detested my hair cut and later my colored streaks, all my life, she almost drove me out of home when I used to put on pop music in the highest possible volume, she always thought I had no taste in good music (She is an expert in Rabindra Sangeet!!!), she went berserk when she caught me reading Mills n Boons, Sidney Sheldon and Harold Robbins, she never approved of my friends until recently, she was always resentful and piqued at my hour long phone chats with the friends she never like, she used to look at the wall of my room full of posters with utter disdain. She was no exception to the rule of packing same boring lunch for my office, calling it healthy and nutritious, asking me to message her just a word “Reached” the moment I step inside the office and calling me thousand times if I was out late at night. I was damn scared of facing her if by chance I missed my dead line of reaching home, I did not have the gusto to leave anything in my plate after a meal but she was the first person I came and confided that I was in love with this young man, my husband now, back in 2005. She pleasantly shocked me in agreeing to meet him and later stood by me like a rock when things were not that smooth sailing for us (happens in every love story I think!). I understood the true meaning of the phrase “Pillar of Strength” and I still cease to understand how she manages to be my strength with élan, even now.
I remember her sitting all night near my bed while I was semi conscious with high fever, have seen her crying secretly when I was hospitalized with asthma attacks, have always found her near me all night while I was preparing for my board exams and because of my carefree nature even before the boards, she became so hyper that she had to be prescribed pills to keep her frayed nerves in control and later on for my semesters in MBA she still did not leave me alone, knowing in heart that I need her strength and resilience to sail through. I have seen her spending sleepless nights while I was staying with my parents during my high risk pregnancy, have witnessed her perturbed trepidation, her edginess while I was being wheeled to the operation theatre for my C-section, she was mute with a fearfulness for her daughter and I have seen her ecstatic elation and exuberance when she hold my infant in her arms after I came back home from the nursing home, her eyes shone and sparkled with tears of love, bliss and pure joy. That’s my Mother, whom I celebrate every waking hour of my life, not just for a day. I am personally not against people celebrating Mother’s day because I firmly believe To Each His Own and I am sure they too have their own reasons and logic. Even I have forwarded Mother’s Day messages to my WATS app buddies at random, but could not bring myself up to wish my mother on that particular day, she deserves to be wished and celebrated every single day of my life for being my backbone, for being my biggest critic, my greatest support and for just being my Maa. I don’t need a particular day in a year to tell her how much I love her, because I will love her till I breathe my last. That’s the sentiment she tried to invoke in me last year and finally I gathered what mothers mean to us.
These days I hear lot of people are sending their aged mothers or parents to Old-Age homes, because their old age is creating inconvenience in their children’s hi-tech modern lives. Really? Did your mother sent you to a foster home when she was sleep deprived, tired, worn out while you were growing up? Did she drive you out of your home when the teachers complained about you in school or some neighbors? Did she refuse to protect you when you did some mischief and she had to hide it from dad? Did she not take care of you while you were ill? She could also have thought these are inconvenient for her and would lead her life freely without shouldering any responsibilities towards you. But she did not. So why are you running from your responsibilities when she has grown older? Please stop being an escapist and now is the time to hold her hands and say, “Don’t worry Maa, I am there, for whole life”
Mothers truly are God send; they are the angels we hear about in our bed time stories as children, we just need to look around and see them standing strong behind us, for us and by us. My heartfelt love, respect and gratitude not only to my mother but all the mothers out there, you all have done and are doing a fantastic job that makes the world different, a better place for us to live in, to survive, to fight through the ups and downs and to steer the next generation in the direction that you all have shown us. Love from Me to the Mommy World.