Every year, on the second week of May, my Gmail inbox is bombarded with ideas for Mother’s Day gifts, cards, vouchers, blah blah blah. And every year, I delete them right off without even bothering to open many an email. This happens for the reason that no one in my family ever celebrates the Mother’s Day/Father’s Day/Anybody’s Day because they (and by they, I mean my achan) feel (VERY strongly, if I may add) that these celebrations are ‘brought on by commercialization which is manipulating the rudimentary emotions of love and respect among the human beings by confining them to a particular Day of the year as opposed to spreading them year round’. If you think that was harsh, then wait till you hear about what happened when my sister and I, who was around 11-years-old then, tried to celebrate my parents’ anniversary by getting them a present and *hold your breath* a card! ‘Coz, you see presents are dangerous but cards are fatal. But that is a story for another Day (pun totally intended :D).
This year, I am kinda jobless at the moment, as you might be aware, so I decided to spend some time going through those emails and take a peek at what all this fuss what about. What attracted me among those newsletters where not the striking pictures or offers but some well chosen definitions for the word ‘Mother’ because, to be honest, I had never thought of ‘mother’ as a word. I mean, Mother was always my amma. It never crossed my mind that this word can be interpreted in so many different ways. And one of the descriptions which caught my fancy goes thus.
“Mother is a title given to someone as a mark of respect for their age and wisdom”
When I read this, the first thought that crossed my mind was that if that was the case, then I have a number of names and images to associate the word mother with. And that, my friends, is why I’m taking this stroll along the memory lane to pay tribute to some very fine ‘mothers’ who’ve touched me in ways too many to list.
The first image that comes to my mind is that of a reasonably tall, well-built lady with curly hair and a heavenly smile – Savithri Namboothiripad, my LKG teacher. Incredibly gorgeous, she was blessed with good-looks that would put Aishwarya Rai to shame and what she lacked in beauty, she made up with her incredibly loving nature. How we first met is a story which my amma loves to recount in every gathering. (Humiliating their children in front of perfect strangers is the No:1 past time of all parents. But of course you know that.)
The story unravels thus – I am said to have been a rather happy-go-lucky toddler who didn’t have any qualms about being hugged by strangers or being around unknown people, and so on the first day of LKG, I was the only one among the mass of bawling, drool-spitting mass of humanity with a grin on my face. Savithri teacher is said to have been so startled and charmed by this phenomenon that she asked me, innocently, “vava mathram enda karyathe?” Apparently, I took this to be a bad thing and immediately started bawling for God-knows-what reason and Savithri teacher came to be known as the teacher-who-made-the-smiling-kid-cry.
I still run into her at the supermarket and such, and she still remembers me. Scratch that – she still remembers all her students. By name. One of my fondest memories of her is when I spotted her riding on her son’s bike through the Swaraj round. I was in an auto unsure of whether I should call out at her or not when she turned, looked straight at me, gave me a heavenly smile and big wave. That is how cool she is. Kind, smart, amazing…I run out of adjectives when I describe her.
Another incredible person I want to introduce to you is a supermom in its truest sense. She is one of my oldest friend’s mother. Everyone in my batch knew her. She was one of the warmest, friendliest, most outgoing mothers I’ve ever seen. She always knew the name of every single friend of her daughter’s, she was always the first to volunteer for any school activity, she threw the best b’day parties – Mini aunty was THE mom. I got along really well with her, right from my KGs. I’d often call her daughter (who is my friend) and Mini aunty would chat with me for a while first. Her demise was my first brush with grief that refused to translate to heart-wrenching sobs but crept up, often unexpectedly, like a very painful thorn in the shoe.
As I grew up and started spending more time at my friends’ place than mine, I got to many more lovely mothers like Viji aunty, who has literally seen me grow up from a chubby kid to…well, to the person I am now (she even has pictorial evidence of the same.. eeks!), Subi aunty who has (again) known me right from my pre-KG days, Velyu (short for Velyamma :P) who has coped surprisingly well with my compulsive addiction towards a-certain-dish – amazingly compassionate women (with exceptional cooking skills. Aah..!) who, in my amma’s words “have been born with more than their share of patience”.
And then, of course, there is the first mother (like The First Lady :D) – my amma who has treated me more as a friend than a daughter from the time I can remember. She is less of a cuddly/spoil-your-child-a-bit mother and more of a you-want-something-done-then-better-do-it-yourself person (especially when you want her to wash your socks). Extremely passionate about what she believes in, she taught me, by example that it’s important to say sorry if you have wronged, age non-withstanding. She taught me that it doesn’t matter if you are not the best – what matters is getting up in the morning and trying. She’s super- intuitive in some instances, totally oblivious at others, she’s a total tube-light when it comes to chalis and is obsessed with knowing exactly what you mean when you say something – once, in a fit of rage, I told her to stop chorialing me and she was behind me for the next few days, wanting to know the exact meaning of chori. She is the first person who comes into my mind when I hear the words ‘unconditional love’.
I could go on about all the wonderful people I’ve met who have a special place in my mind forever, but since this is neither the place nor time to write a novel (plus, I really don’t want to stretch your patience), I wind up by wishing all the wonderful, gorgeous, and empathetic mothers all the good in the world. I’m sure you know this, I’m sure you’ve heard this a million times but I just want you to hear it one more time – We love you. It’s just sometimes we don’t know how to say it. Sometimes it just comes out screaming or crying. So the next time you hear us screaming, know that what we are actually saying is “I love you, Mom”.
Happy Mother’s Day! 🙂