For years I kept myself aloof from you because I felt unloved and uncared-for. I have written bits and pieces on why I felt so and how it made me distance myself from you. But what I have never bothered to look back at or write about is your struggle in raising the two of us all alone.
I am now a mother of two and I realize how demanding this designation is. I feel like a failure many a times and that’s when you come to my rescue and instill sense into me. Trust me, I could have never come this far with all that had happened in the past if not for you and Acha.
This makes me remember how strong you are. In tough and sensitive situations when most of us lose our sensibilities to think rationally, you have proved yourself stronger than almost all of us. That day when Acha fell unconscious inside the washroom and you called me up, I couldn’t think beyond the worst. I almost froze from within. While you ensured to take help from the neighbours, break open the door and attend to him, I ran up the stairs till someone told me he was fine, only to break down right there.
And then the last week when Acha went for the car wash and forgot his mobile at home. I still can’t figure out how the receptionist was so careless to call you up after two hours only to say that he hasn’t reached there. You called me up and I froze once again. By the time we managed to talk to him, you had used your presence of mind and found out the exact number from his phone and spoke to him. And you still believe that you’re not capable enough to handle gadgets?
I know I haven’t been the perfect daughter. I know how miserly I have been in expressing my love and gratitude to you. I know how rude I am at times when I try to pull you out of your insecurities and fears for us. But trust me Amma, from within I have always and always admired you for your courage, practical mind, selfless love for almost everyone including the ones who have hurt you deeply in the past and your power to forgive.
You never wore a perfectly matching saree and blouse till I got my first job because you had multiple liabilities from both families. It used to annoy me when other teachers made fun of you saying how miserly you are. I almost always felt like punching a few. Remember how I answered back to the PT teacher when she called you a miser. She tagged me as a bad child forever and said how defensive I was. Yes. I was defensive. I was defensive because I could never bear to see people hurting you or Acha even with their words. I have never heard the two of you answer back to anyone. And I have always seen people taking advantage of this quality of yours.
If there’s one thing I regret, it is the past because of which I never came closer to you. You did make mistakes but those were out of your own fears of raising us all alone. I now know how our rendezvous with the cane stick in the school corridor would have hurt you much more than they hurt me. You were so so scared for us that in your effort to keep us safe, well-behaved and well-brought up, you missed how I missed your touch, your hugs and your kisses. The ones that were most needed for that five-year old who grew up as a lonely child.
On that day when Acha left for the mid-east on his decade long stint, you were suddenly burdened with the responsibility of handling us alone. And on that same day, I lost my mother who used to have enough time for me, who used to teach me rhymes carrying me on her hips, who used to pamper me with all her love. Somewhere we both transformed that day into people we were not. We both built walls around us for different reasons. We both wore masks for the sake of a bright future.
I’m glad that today I feel I have been able to shed all those walls and inhibitions. I have been able to glance back and reflect on the past and the find reasons for the years we both missed.
Amma, I want to relive all those years again with you, Acha and the little one. I want us to have all those years back. We lost a lot while the world around us only counted our material gains and blessings. It’s high time we start living for ourselves and not others. You both have struggled enough and now I just want you both to enjoy your life with our little ones. I can’t bear to see the stress in your eyes for fear of our future. You have done enough for the two of us and I believe you’ve made us powerful enough to handle whatever the future holds.
You tell me that you learn a lot from me. You tell me how you like the way I decide for myself without fear of anyone. How you like the way I stand up for my people and myself. How I am fearless and can take on the world. What you don’t realize is these are things I wanted you to do for yourself. I am what I am because I was raised by you. I stand up for myself because I know how hurt you would be to see me hurt. I am nothing but a byproduct of you, Amma.
Absolutely indebted to you for everything that you’ve done for us.
It’s been a stressful year and it took Anu’s one sentence of how mean I am because I refused her kiss the other day that took it for me to realize what you would have been through every time you pushed me away from you. ‘SORRY’ is a small word which cannot express the amount of forgiveness I seek from you. Forgive me, Amma. I loved you. I love you. And I will always love you.
Let’s live the rest of our lives reliving all those lost years. Just keep hugging me once in a while. As you hug me I can feel all the stress and the tensions melting away. I will always and always need you. Happy Mother’s Day, Amma!