Thursday, May 13, 2010

For you, a hundred times over, Mum.

My mother asked me a question today, in the midst of all our arguing. A question that really got me thinking, and missing her at the same time. She said, "If I die in two years, you'll still be stuck in Bangalore. What'll you do then". Of course I argued that I'd fly down and see her, and that she shouldn't be talking like this. I even threatened to slap her if she said something like that again (at this point certain readers, and some of my friends would probably go *GASP*). But, then I thought about how I actually would feel. And I realised what an impact she has had on me. More than the usual mother-daughter kinds (but then everyone else already probably thinks that about their own mum). Therefore this a sort of delayed tribute to my mother, you could call it a belated Mother's Day gift. 'Cept she'll probably never read it. So Mum, here goes, Just for you.

Dear Mumma,
I'm not going to start with the usual, oh you held me in your womb for nine months and nurtured me as a child. Don't get me wrong, it's not like I'm not grateful for that, I AM. I wouldn't be alive if it weren't for you. I just don't remember any of that. What I do remember is how you would sit me down and tie my shoelaces for me before I went off to school. Or how once I heard you use the word bloody, and you were so ashamed to have said it in front of you kid, you kept saying sorry. And I didn't even know what the word meant.

I remember you being there for EVERY play, every Parent-teacher meeting, every Prize-giving. Every little insignificant thing in my day-school career.

I remember you and Dad driving down to school in Galway to bring me lunch, because you knew I'd be hungry. I remember watching you come home from work, all tired, just to meet two squabbling kids. And how you'd sit down and sort us out, even though all you'd want to do is sleep. I remember you locking yourself up in the room, after pretending to have gone to work, so that you could study for your MRCOG exam. And once we realised your ruse, letting us in, bit not after hours of begging and pleading, and slipping chits under your door. And then you'd let us have your banana chips, and you'd laugh as Faizan sucked his toes, and I looked through your books with the cool pictures. I remember how proud I felt when I watched you walk across to get your degree in London. My shoulders broadened instinctively, and my chin has probably never been higher in its meagre existence. I stood on the chair and clapped for you. And then told everyone I was sitting next to very proudly that THAT was MY mum. As if I was the sole reason you were getting the degree in the first place. I remember so many moments when you've made ME proud of you.

I remember you kissing every grazed knee. Feeding me bread dipped in warm milk, because I just couldn't eat anything else. Holding me close, when I wouldn't stop crying about some insignificant thing. I remember how you fought for me not to go to boarding school. And how you dropped me off at the gate, and left smiling, just so I wouldn't fell bad. I'll never forget how many times you'd patiently listen to me whine about a million things. How you watched me attempt about a million failed dishes in the kitchen, but you never helped, I had to learn for myself, you said.

I hated you sometimes. When you'd make me rutt my times tables, and not leave me till I finished my homework, or studied for the next exam. When you'd favour my brother over me, and yell at me for being the eldest and STILL being irresponsible. When you'd make what I thought were unreasonable rules, and NEVER budge from them.

But you'd always make up for it. The apologising, and yummy food after the fights. The pizzas and the donuts you'd make when we were still in Ireland and you still had some time on your hands. The hugs and the bedtime stories and the Ice-cream sessions (and your stealing from my bowl of Ice-cream, even when you had your own).

I was a kid then. And it seemed like Mum could do anything in the world. And that Mum had a solution for everything. I've grown now. There are no more whiney phone calls or detailed descriptions of my day. Just the same questions and the same answers ("whatsup" and "nothing"). I don't run to you every time I'm upset and rant, I rarely ever let you knwo I'm upset.

But you're still my Mum. You're still the person I cried with the day I passed out, because I felt like my world had been turned upside down. You're still the person with the voice that makes every thing better at the end of the day. You're still my favourite person to entertain, albeit in manners far removed form 5-year old antics. You're still the person I love to fight with and argue with and hate (just a little though), because you know exactly how to make up afterwords. You're still my favourite person to go shopping with. And you'll ALWAYS be.

I've always considered myself a 'Daddy's Girl', and I probably am. But there's so much of you in me Ma, that I find myself amazed sometimes at how we're so similar. You inspire me. I see you work, sometimes up to 12 hours a day, at the oddest hours of the day, and I know that if there ever was a woman who could do it all, its you. I listen to you talk about how you never wanted to be married, how being unmarried would have let you grow even more as a doctor, and I realize how much you love us. For you to put one of the most important things in your life, your career, on hold, for us, tells me how much you love us. I listen to you talk about Pa, about how you made so many adjustments for him, and I understand what love actually is. Its not the sky turning bluer, and the sun shining brighter. Its being able to make the day sunny, when its cloudy and overcast. And I see the two of you together, and I know that I'm lucky to have been born to such wonderful parents. I'll never be able to grow up and NOT have a career, you never let me think of such a thing in the first place. I look at you, and I know that somewhere (some place buried under layers of laziness and procrastinating tendencies), there is a part of you that will never let me sit idle. I see you being non-confrontational, gentle, tolerant; and even though it irritates me to no end to see you take so MUCH shit from people, I respect you for it. Because it's tough to be nice to the same people that try to make life living hell for you. I watch you assert yourself, very very subtly, and I know my mother isn't a push-over.

What you've done may seem ordinary and usual to everyone else. But for me, I don;t know if I'll ever have the strength, the wisdom or the gumption to lead my life the way you've led yours. I love you Mumma, not just for the fact that you're incredibly naieve sometimes, and a little slow, and just soo much fun to make fun of. But because you have a heart of gold, you teach me a new lesson every day that I'm with you, and every day that you;re away. And even though I'd rather not have you living in the same city as me, sometimes its for reasons that are not just purely selfish.

So yes, in response to your question of what I'd do if you died in two years time. THAT won't happen, first of all, because God doesn't hate me that much. But if it ever does, not two years, or three years but whenever that happens. I won't cry. And I won't regret. Not because I don't love you. But because I do. I love you too much to want you or your soul to ever see me like that. So, I won't cry. I be grateful for having you in my life, and I'll work on me. I'll work on living my life the way you lived yours, and achieving whatever I set out to achieve. And then when I'm done with all that, I'll open that Girls School you always wanted to. And I'll make sure whatever you taught me, I teach them. I won't cry. I'll try and be as happy as I can, because I know that'll make you happy. I won't cry Ma, I'll make you proud instead.