I do not share a great equation with my mother. We’ve fights, disagreements, verbal spats. And this is when she has striven ‘real hard’ to bring me up. By striving hard, I mean she has slaved it more than any other parent I’ve seen in my network. My parents separated when I was 7. The reason for separation was infidelity of my mother and my chauvinistic father could not accept it. My father made it hellish for his wife to live in the house. She was a dependent homemaker and could not go back to her parent house. A strong reason I dislike women who choose to give up their careers and become financially dependent on a man.

Thus she refused to divorce my father and they lived together, under one roof for 32 years. Thereafter, I took my mother with me and with his advancing years, my father has also mellowed towards her. Today, they share a warm equation. Like most Indian women, my mother has forgiven him. She has an unquestioned belief in her god, ‘my father’.

But the past had a profound impact on my mother, which she does not realizes. She has lost her zest for life. A young kid, no husband, and a day job makes me depend on her for babysitting and why not? 7 years back when I sensed the first signs of my failing marriage, mother said the cliche ‘Bring a kid and everything will be sorted’. And so I remind her of this whenever she threatens to leave me and my kid. “You told me to bring the kid and now raise him.”

Mother is not fond of cleanliness, whereas I’m a cleanliness freak. When I come home, all I see is disorder and litter. Books, toys, bottles scattered on the bed; crumpled bed-sheet, leftover plates and cups; unfolded washed clothes on the bed since afternoon; dust laden headboard and table. I clean up all the mess but become bitter towards her.

I tried to bring her out of this self-imposed prison, bought her sarees, dyed her white hair, got her Hindi literature, two house-helps but all in vain. She is deep neck in the uncivilized carcass her distorted marital life left her with. I cannot pull her out of the dungeon, neither she wants to come out. I do not respond to her when she talks about serials and reality shows and try to appear busy, though I might be on WhatsApp.

And yet when she falls ill, it scared me out of bounds. God bless her with good health. She is my ma.