“Kya hai mamma, aap kyun tension lete ho, sab theek hai, mamma (What happened Mom? Why are you tensed? Everything is alright, mom).”
I stop, trying hard lest my tears of desperation, frustration and helplessness stumble before you as I make a video call. And as always, I lose. Not because I can’t stop myself, but because you have figured it all out — the invisible sensors that detect everything about me. The sensors that are defiant of distance, words and physical presence; their only fuel is your unconditional love. The circuitry of this awe-striking mechanism is known alone to the All-Mighty.
For the past four years, I have lived thousands of miles away from you, of course, except when I would come home elated. Unlike others, it was never your food that lured me to come home, but you, your presence, even if it would mean you scolding me on how lazy I had become, or constantly worrying for me. Your physicality was worth everything, because I know you wanted me to be the strongest, boldest and the best version of myself to face the world.
It’s not that my love for you has increased manifold just because the whole world celebrates maternal love today, not at all. And I shall not post your pictures to display my love for you, and probably never will, because my love for you is magnanimous and beyond. The love between a mother and daughter is inexplicable, and I haven’t still found ‘the’ word that expresses the joy and relief when I see you in front of my eyes; the few feet of distance that would separate us, in reality, remains a dream when today, thousands of miles separate us and are bridged virtually.
You have not only been my mother, Mamma, but my best friend, guide, philosopher, and sometimes my father too. I think the dictionaries should define a mother as anybody who can do anything except for creating the Universe. This is no exaggeration and, you know what, most people would agree with me on that!
Today, if we were not living in the times of a pandemic, it is true I would not have been with you. If everything were happening as scheduled, I would probably be cramming for my final exams and meeting you in two weeks. But alas, it won’t happen and I wonder about that every night. Every night, as I retire for the day, the volume of haze that surrounds you and me comes alive in my mind. The patience that I try to build every day breaks down, and wonder when you’d be by my side. Tears of helplessness roll down my cheeks, and I pray in silence for your good health.
The everyday news of rising cases, deaths and looming uncertainty over academics and jobs makes me more anxious, Mamma. I know you ask me all the time not to think about all that, after all, you know how my anxiety grapples me. When I battled the demons within, it was you who consoled me, checked on me every minute, and when you didn’t, your lips only moved in prayers for my recovery.
I try hard Mamma, but I fear losing you, fear not being with you in these uncertain times. I am not as strong as you are and probably could never be. And I know if the whole world stopped believing me, you never would. When I did things that made me diffident, your confidence and blessings were my strength. I long for that, I long for everything, and I long for you.
I am trying really hard to adjust and embrace what is called adulthood management. Remember the other day, when you told me that these are times of test from the All-Mighty and you have been doing decent enough in managing it all alone? But when did the All-Mighty teach me to live without you, Mamma?
At least not in times when the whole world is in a state of fear and uncertainty. Even though our calls last for an hour, nothing replaces your physicality. Both you and I know that we worry for each other, but our virtual reality triumphs and we never disclose our raw emotions, lest I succumb and you have to console.
But I shall not fail you, Mamma. After all, I am the daughter of the lady who faced the biggest challenges of life with valour, someone who sacrificed herself for her children and husband, and devoted herself to her children’s well-being. You are my inspiration every time. I want to be the Mamma’s girl who mirrors her mother. The kindest, compassionate, strongest, bravest — I want to be ‘the’ second to you, because you are one of your kind, the most practical and friendliest woman I have ever seen and shall never see another.
No, don’t cry now. I am going to pester you more; not with tears of hopelessness, but with what all I am going to do with you after I meet you soon, my best friend. In times of desperation, your words of encouragement to me are like the light in a dark tunnel, and I cling to them because they’re from you, Mamma. Thousands of posts on Facebook and Instagram on keeping hope have no effect on me as much as your words.
Because as they say, “God could not be everywhere so he created mothers.” Your words are divine and that gives me the strength always, and forever.
Happy Mother’s Day, Mamma.