We don’t say “Mothers are God’s incarnations on Earth” for nothing. While their selfless love and unassuming sacrifices have been extolled for long, one never gets tired being amazed by their affection.
And when it comes to daughters, the bond between mothers and their girls is one of the wonders of the nature. They are the best friends, and the greatest enemies. There is a song from a Tamil film, which has a line,
“Naan thookki valartha thuyaram nee”
Which means, you are the tragedy I have nurtured and raised.
In many families you can find mothers and daughters fighting like cats and dogs. They would argue and yell at each other over seemingly petty issues. But leave alone an outsider, even if other members of the family raise their voice against either of them, the other will immediately be at her defense.
My mother is no different. All her life she has been taking care of other people. Until her marriage, she was responsible for taking care of her younger siblings, being the eldest in a family of five. She was almost the second mother to my uncle and aunts, and therefore imbibed the disciplinarian qualities of my grandfather. After marriage, along with my father, she took on the responsibility of earning money to marry off the siblings of my father (around eight in all).
Soon after her marriage I came along, followed by my brother four years ago. Living in an alien land (for a person from South India, Delhi was an alien land in those days) and on a meager income, my mom helped dad pull along and make ends meet. There would of course be fights and arguments now and then, over money or some other issues, but both my parents managed to put their differences in the back burner when it came to us kids.
As far as I can remember, my mother has left no stone un-turned to make us comfortable. She would have to rush to the office at 9, still she would wake up at 5 in the morning, make us breakfast, lunch and evening tiffin, clean up the house, plait my hair and sometimes even wash the clothes before getting ready to catch the overcrowded bus. After coming back in the evening, she would rest for hardly half an hour before heading to the kitchen to prepare the dinner, and help us in our homework. Come weekends, she would be busy preparing things for the coming week, making chaklis and other snacks, grinding idli batter and dusting and cleaning the house.
After running around like a machine, non-stop for nearly 30 years, now her age has started to catch up with her. A severe sciatica that makes every step she walks herculean, and an extended menopause that just refuses to end, have made my dear lady a shadow of what she had been before. This time when I went to her place for the vacations, I told myself, I will do all the work there. And when she comes visiting at my home, I will make her take complete rest.
But did that happen? Nah. She is here in my home now, and still insisting that she helps me through all my chores. Yes, a helping hand feels very welcome when managing a big house and a small kid, but I had hoped to give Amma some much needed rest. It pains me to see her standing in the kitchen making chapatis for me. I feel guilty.
I reprimand her, plead her to go and sit. She waves me off with a loving smile. I threaten her with anything I can think off. She chuckles. I know she won’t listen, because no matter what, I will be her little girl whom she wants to protect in her bosom. And all her pain and discomfort will vanish when she will be doing something for her dear daughter.
I am not able to write more, for tears are blocking my view. Words are not enough, yet, I can only say, I love you ma.
Yamini is a software professional turned work-at-home-mom. Amidst her domestic responsibilities and a very demanding 2.5 year old son, she snatches time to write academic papers, freelance content, fiction and poetry. Her stories and poetry have been published in various online literary magazines and anthologies by Penguin Books and Cyberwit Publications. Yamini voices her thoughts now and then at http://myexpressionsandme.