A few months ago, at a wedding reception, I found myself playing mommy to the mother. I didn’t intentionally start out doing so. But she asked me to get her some pasta, prepared according to specific instructions. I then followed it up with dessert, to the extent that I even cut up the pieces of the kulfi for her. And then, I made sure that she had a few sips of water post the dessert, even unscrewing the bottle before handing it over to her, followed by a tissue.
I don’t quite know what she made of all this ceremony, but I was glad that she indulged me. Perhaps, she was humoring me; perhaps, she genuinely enjoyed it.
On some days, I also find myself reprimanding her. She must put her dupatta in place and not let it sweep the floor. She must remember not to scold me in public. She must not be so gullible and allow herself to be taken for a ride. I’ll admit that I rather enjoy doing this. Not out of malice or to settle scores. But just so that she knows that I’m on her side. That while we rarely hug each other, I will always look out for her.
I know of the times she gets highly annoyed with me for being so protective and possessive of her. For molly-coddling her. But I’m mostly delighted in being able to help her; when she calls out to me to help troubleshoot her tech problems, when she needs some help in folding her sarees, when she calls me up at work to look up something for her on the Internet. That she reaches out for me and not anybody else is another big high.
A long time ago, the father, while giving me a pep talk, had said, “Kisi ko thodisi bhi khushi de kar dekh, tujhe kitni khushi hogi.” I didn’t care much for his words then. Today, I learn of the wisdom behind them.
But I also realize my selfish motives in wanting to make the mother happy. I want her to approve of me. I want her to know that she did good with me. I want her to sit back and revel in what she made of me.
I want her to feel proud of the both of us.