No, I am not plagiarizing a beautiful title, of a well known Hollywood actress’ biography (Joan Crawford’s by her adopted daughter). Rather, hot on the heels of Mothers’ Day, is yet another special one for me. Mine grows another year younger, and it’s about time I acknowledged that one 🙂 🙂
My SB said to me the other day, amma, you know we’ve been together the last almost 22 years, and it’s going to be difficult na, when I go? I mean, you’ve known me only a part of your life, but I’ve known you all my life! 😆 Understatement, isn’t it? Of course he was just rehashing an old cliché!! But that is the point I’m trying to make. All our lives, we know one person the mostest, I think, our mother, sometimes, more than our father. In India at least :D! And so it is with Mom. Yes, I call her Mummy, Mom, Maaaaa… somehow never got around to calling her Amma, though my kids call me that. On my insistence! My paternal grandma, at her insistence, was called Amma by my brothers and I. That is another story for another rainy-no-muse day :)!
Mom has been the strongest pillar of our family. Not just us, but even hers, I sometimes think. She takes after her own mother, who I have already described in “A Woman Extraordinaire”, with a zest for life, and an unconditional and uninhibited go-for-it attitude to life. She, like me, is the ham of a club sandwich, the 5th of 10 children her parents had. 11 if you were to count the oldest, a half brother. Life was tough as they grew, she and her siblings; lots of ancestral property managed by the Kaarnavar, or the eldest Maternal Uncle, the head of the family, entirely matriarchal… a childhood of getting, not much at all, just enough to live, dreaming of things, rushing about doing a 100 jobs around the place, along with the others. Going to school, walking over 3 miles up, then down again; taking turns to carry the large tiffin carrier; being denied further studies after her 10th, which only she and her youngest sister passed, because she had been seen, approved and was to be married off!! Tough times. Times that could, I have felt, crushed one with a weaker spirit.
So almost 50 years ago, she got married, a charming 17 year old, to a handsome tall dashing young navy man. My Dad. Though there are times we, both mom n I, rave and rant about men, I have always felt she was lucky, way luckier than her sisters, cousins, relatives, heck, even me :P! But then, I am biased am I not? She got married to my .. MY dad :D! Tougher times ahead, unfortunately! Being the wife of an only son has its problems. A possessive mother in law, who, though never abusive or hurtful, was possessive enough to make things difficult! But, yet again, she was lucky in that she was able to join Dad and travel with him on his various postings. And then of course, she had us 🙂 🙂 🙂 Lucky her! Lol!
With just a year between my EB and me, it was difficult for her to manage us, especially with Dad off sailing for long periods. But manage she did, and beautifully. For, in an alien city, Mumbai, with alien language and customs, she took to it all like a duck to water, and sailed through with flying colours. In Delhi too, the same happened.
She has taken us to heights, and been with us through all our lows, been firm, yet loosened the bonds and apron strings when required, and kept us grounded and level headed through everything. Just everything. Be it the double fractures my EB had, the sickly chap my YB was, the rebel I became through my adolescence… right through it all, like a rock, she was there, always there. Never preachy, though she had and still has a booming voice when she gets mad 😉 😉 Dad was also there, but he was the strong and silent type back then 🙂 Now he is just the opposite, ever since his grandchildren got him to open up 🙂 🙂
You see, she grows younger as I have already said. She gels instantly with persons of all ages. It takes just a few seconds to get anyone talking, with her listening and drawing them out. She never holds back, be it advice sometimes, knocking common sense sometimes, listening, encouraging, consoling. There are very very few people I have come across who can reach out the way she has. In fact even my kids’ gang of friends are her friends; she never holds back; nothing, absolutely nothing!
When she knew I was going to be alone, in a few months time, there was no, why don’t you come down here, or shall we come there… just a reminder to be stronger, and have real expectations 🙂 And while we still agree to disagree on a lot of issues, the bonds are stronger than ever. She guides, unhesitatingly, and silently. Waits. Never nags, or asks. It’s cool, either way. She gives us space. Our own, and asks we never trample on hers :D!!
Linda Goodman, in her Sun Signs, speaks of the Taurean Woman as someone who walks tall. That’s her, my mother. She’s barely above 5 feet, but towers in ways we never could. To her indomitable spirit, and endless enthusiasm, not to forget her sheer gregarious spirit, here’s a toast! For health, peace of mind (she says that is fairy tale :D), for smiles each day, and less pain, esp around the knee 🙂 :)… (she’s going to blow a fuse when I show her this one, but it will be worth it! )Since she has already approved the Vishu and Thrissur Pooram posts, I think I might strike lucky with a third I share with her 🙂 🙂
Mummy, you’re the best. That is why even we are 🙂 Happy Birthday! May you grow even more years younger, each passing day 🙂 🙂 And may we be blessed to have your grace with us, always 🙂
The slide above has been prepared by my sister in law 🙂 Thanks Trips and Vinu, for saying is so beautifully for all of us 🙂 🙂
(Click on pic to enlarge, to read the beautiful words they have written 🙂 )
11 May, 2010, for 15 May, 2010