Last day and today has all been spent in soaking handkerchiefs from my cries. I have become a pro at crying, my eyes well at the minutest trouble and innocuous hurt. The partner teases me no end. You want to do so many big things in life and you cannot get over these childish things? To this I tell in my defense that I’m open with my emotions and I believe it’s better to pour them out rather than suppressing them for indefinite time. Yes! I do get tensed over smallish things but that doesn’t mean that I cannot pull big things in life. Emotional outburst for me is a way to cleanse my heart out of long term suffering. It’s done and dealt with.
The reason I’m sobbing from last two days is that ma has to go to my brother’s house for some work. Me and ma have never lived apart except for my graduation and post-graduation years. Situation at home was not good with father misbehaving with her and I decided to get ma to live with me. In a country where daughters do not live with their parents post marriage, I managed to do the otherwise. I still eat the food cooked by my mother every day (to the envy of my work colleagues who had to cook every day in the kitchen) and hence I never transcended my childhood when it came to receiving affection and food of my mother; seeing and sleeping near her every day.
But because of the very same reason I started taking ma for granted. I would pinpoint her flaws, like she speaks vernacular and is not able to speak proper Hindi and my son has started mimicking her. She gets surplus food cooked by our maid each evening which results in a lot of stale food which we have to eat. She does this so that she does not have to cook lunch the next day. She watches daily soaps at a high volume and has this habit of shouting all the time. With time I came to resent her behavior and way of living. I started to ignore her when she wanted to talk to me, pretending to be immersed deep neck in work. I ridiculed her as illiterate when she failed to operate the smartphone repeatedly. I loathed the daily soaps she watched and demanded the TV to be switched off as it obstructs my work.
But yesterday, as I found that ma has to go to my brother’s place, my polished, hugely successful and intellectually rich world came crashing down at her feet. I sobbed to her wonder. All those years, I posed as the better version of my mother, her only meaningful deed till date and now I feel as a beggar, a vanquished king in front of her sacrifice. I want to undo all the wrongs I did to her and redo the same things in her absence, which I once found distasteful. I want to watch the same daily soaps ma; I want to eat that stale food again; I want to hear your shouts; I want to see your crumpled sari drying on my balcony every day; I want to give up everything in this world only to have you. This morning I ran on the treadmill and saw my reflection on the giant walled mirror. Seeing that image in the mirror, my mind registered what I had conveniently forgotten.
“I owe you my success, my education, my whole being for which you braved all oddities, you braved even my father. I remember how difficult it was for you, back then a dependent housewife, to bring two small kids in a failed marriage. You stitched clothes to pay for our tuitions. You traveled alone in midnight in a sleeper coach, to the city I studied in with two large bags full of mangoes, because I relished them.”
There are countless such things I can goon and on. There is a big lump in my heart as I think of her short absence in my life. I was oblivious to her presence all these years and now her short absence leaves me gasping for breath. I promise to be a better behaved daughter when you will return Ma. Love you.