Friday, 28 December 2012

Mothers, all over the world, are the same

Watched English Vinglish the other day on TV. As with everyone else (mothers and daughters in particular), I was reminded of couple of incidents from my childhood, when I didn't accord my mother any particular importance.
I thought her to be very dowdy, very controlling, very intrusive, never letting me "grow up". It was only after her outburst, which did us both good, did I realise that okay, Mataji isn't some limbu-timbu. I can't remember what triggered it, but I had made some disparaging remark over her education and grades.
Never one to take audacity lying down, least of all, her half-baked daughter's, Mataji brought out carefully rolled sheets of her degree and convocation.
"When I appeared for MA exam, your elder sister was sitting in the corridor, of the college, waiting for me to finish my paper and come out. A sweepress was taking care of my girl...your elder brother was at home, with your father....."
Hearing all that I was chastened and quietly withdrew.
Now when I look back, I think I can put two and two together. A year or two later, Mataji decided to enroll for her PhD; when I decided to learn Japanese, she followed suit. And, then when I was in Delhi, she did a Diploma in Urdu writing. Got a first class.
Did her daughter's words hurt Mataji and that pushed her to study more, something she always wanted to? Quit possible.
Her PhD dream remains unfulfilled. And, much as she wanted me to go in for PhD studies, I refused. I am not academic material at all.
What is it about mothers and long nose? It's there, everywhere, sniffing out secrets, smelling pain and agony. Before I got my mobile phone at the age of 24, all the calls that came for me, were well listened in my Mataji. All the letters that I got too...She had numbers and addresses of my friends, particularly boys.
She knew exactly who was going out with whom. You know, she might as well have been in college with me or shared my hostel room. Mataji knew every secret that I wished to hide/keep safe from her. I don't know how.
She didn't change when she became a grandmother too. My nephew, who is younger to me, found that out soon. She knew the parents of his friends, she knew where they stayed, what they ate and where they holidayed. And, although his teenage years coincided with her illness, she kept a close tab on him.
I have a couple of her diaries and notes with me. I managed to leaf through a few pages which mentioned my nephew's antics in great detail. Quite an embarassment material!
Had she lived for a few more years, then she would have taken to Facebook quite easily. Her nose would be stuck to the computer screen!

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