This Mother's Day, my mother is right here by my side. I don't know after how many years this has come about. I don't even remember the last time we spent this day together, simply because there was no special memory for it. In all the years that I spent with my parents, I never really knew of the tradition of Mother's Day. It came to my notice only the year that I was married, thanks to all the media hype. And even then, I haughtily brushed it off as a new fangled western notion. After all, I loved my mother, I cherished her and I certainly didn't need just one particular day earmarked for the purpose. So another couple of years went by unnoticed.
There were times when my mother would ask me on a long distance call..."Aren't you going to wish me for Mother's Day?" And I'd quickly mumble 'Happy Mother's Day' for her benefit and then proceed to expostulate on how it is not part of our culture and tradition etc. She'd quietly chuckle and leave it at that.
Now we all know what usually follows next; how your own metamorphosis into motherhood makes you look at everything in a new light. And especially at the person who brought you forth to this experience. Well...in my case, it wasn't quite like that. I loved my Mom just as much as I ever did but I don't particularly remember overflowing with sentiment after embracing my own role as one.
Its a little complicated. My relationship with her is complicated. We were never particularly close as I grew up. My father was the epicenter of my life and my affections. He is a vibrant, extroverted, extremely intelligent, ruthlessly honest man, with whom I had the most natural and effortless chemistry. And it was hard to compete with that I guess. And my mother never tried. She is too simple a person. And very complicated in all her simplicity. She is straight as an arrow and yet you cannot guess easily at her thoughts or sense her emotions.
Even now as I write this, I cannot quite put my finger on what it is about her that I still don't get. I guess her upbringing has a lot to do with it. She grew up in a very rigid atmosphere, with very little independence and scope for self confidence. As a result, she is always a little insecure. Nevertheless, she was a working woman all her life and bold in so many ways in stepping out into the world. And yet, she could never stand her own in the midst of the various in-laws who've given her a hard time, and has lived her life in constant fear of their approbation or otherwise. Now if there is one thing I'd wish for from God, it is for her to live for herself. Without worrying about what others are going to say and think. Yet, despite the hold all these external influences have on her state of mind, she remains a stoic. [I said she was complicated, didn't I? :-)]
There have been times...many a times...when I have wished for a different sort of package in my mother...the kind who could have been my best friend, who could have talked about books and music with me, and so many other things...but as I sit down today and consciously think about her in lieu of writing this post, I realise something. This one thing that I have missed all along. That its not important to have the perfect kind of mother...the mother of all ideals. The crux of the matter is this...the kind of mother you have is the kind of mother you need. She comes as a gift to you from the divine authority...exactly moulded to your true inner needs, to help you self-actualise in this given life. She cannot be perfect because you cannot be perfect. But together, along with all the stumbling mistakes, you will both do some form of justice to your roles.
" The real religion of the world comes from women – from mothers most of all, who carry the key of our souls in their bosoms."
Now I don't know if I ever will get around to sharing this with her, because I am not quite sure if she will understand this. What I know instead is...whether it is in the confines of my heart, or through a simple hug every now and then, or a special gift, I love her, and always will. And for the simple reason that however hyped it may seem...it is occasions like this that give you the chance to stop and think. And feel and do. And confer love and gladden a heart. I know this now, because it would make me happy to be thought of as a mother by my children and to be made to feel special by them. Its not just about one single day. Its about love. The love that is consistent and steady but needs some upliftment and richness every once in a while to stand out...to break the mould of routine and sameness and be elevated to the annals of cherished memories. I hope I can always give my mother that!