Being a conventionally raised Indian woman, my mother always had a problem with my bohemian existence. From making remarks like “why can’t you be like normal girls” to not speaking to me for days altogether, she tried her best to make me realise that I am nothing like the daughter she wanted to have. Till I was in the hostel to complete my studies, she missed me and treated me with delicious food for I seldom came back home. However, the most troubled years of my relationship with her were from 2007 to 2017. In between these years, I lived with my family, climbed the ladder of professional success and later got married.
My ways of handling my life never impressed her and we drew apart like two parallel banks of the same river.
However, I never called her Mumma or Mom because I loved calling her “Ma”. Whether we had a fight or a silent war I would always address her as “Ma” for the word itself felt like a cuddle amid the tense situations. She never understood my perspective or goals. She always thought it was important for me to learn to cook and she hated my opinionated self which made me argue even with my father and brother, unlike her who epitomized sacrifice and submission.
But a mother is a mother. All her life she woke up at 4 in the morning to ensure that I took a freshly made lunchbox to school and later office. I still remember Ma would pack two boxes for me during my office days so that not even once did I have to eat the unhygienic food from outside. Even in days we wouldn’t talk and I wouldn’t eat breakfast to express rage, she would pack and stuff my office bag with lunch boxes.
My differences with her worsened during 2016-2017 and I hardly spoke to her in these two years. I was angry for various reasons and refused to understand anything. But as they say, the night is the darkest before the dawn. 2018 made her pass through some dark times and I couldn’t but help be there for her for she was left all alone. The days I spent with her made me realise that my anger for her was based out of my own expectations irrespective of what she actually felt to be important for her child.
Today, things have changed upside down. I understand Ma better and she (though still fails to understand my unconventional existence) tries to listen to my life and experiences. Now she doesn’t say “I don’t understand” instead she says “I understand though I may not agree”. My complaints have also turned to gratitude after time has made me realise that no one would ever love me enough to make sure that I have eaten my food on time.
Today when I have everything in life, all I ever miss is someone to take care of me enough to ensure that I have eaten my food well and in time.
I don’t think I can write anymore with such an overwhelmed heart but all I want to say is “Ma I am sorry and thank you for being there for me and for atleast trying to understand me without judging me like rest of the world. I love you Ma.”.