For every child, his or her mother is a champ. A hero in her own stead. So was mine.
But having lost her to a sudden attack of brain hemorrhage, I found myself in a phase where she became more of a martyr than a hero for me.
She was no longer my hero. She was my martyr. I had already dismissed her. Perhaps as a defense mechanism to save myself from the pain of all those memories. But in process I was losing onto her and dissolving her in the maze of my life as just another being.
Hence when people discussed their mothers and their idiosyncrasies, I only found myself nodding in aspect, not committing a story of my own.
But it was in college, detached from the place where all the events had unfolded (read home), I found myself wanting to speak more and more about her. Though the want was never backed by actions.
Slowly though here and there I started to add my bits. “Ahh yes, even my mother used to cry a lot,” or “she was very strict about bed times”. And in return I found myself facing expressions of self pity and awkwardness. And in an instant I would regret it.
But the need to talk about her increased. No amount of reactions or expressions on the other side could quieten it.
This sudden change in attitude got me thinking. Why now? After all these years. Why now? Is really time a great healer?
The answers I received were quite different. It was because in school almost everyone knew her. They had met her, known how she was. Even if I did not talk about her, she was not lost as a person. She was there. Already having made her mark on many.
But here in college, if I did not speak, she would be lost. Her story would be dismissed.
It so happened that my college roommate of all those four years and my best friend like me had lost her father to brain hemorrhage at the age of ten. Many might find this an interesting bit I find this to be nothing short of a miracle. We simply had to meet and be like forever friends.
Her lack of conversation when it came to discussing fathers never escaped my notice. But having journeyed through this ride myself, I never once prodded. But one day while studying for our second semester exams on a winter afternoon, we started discussing novels and reading. And suddenly out of the blue she started to narrate about her father’s love for reading.
In those five minutes, I was there with her in that room in Agra facing the cupboard full of books, watching his dad read and devour book after book. The smile on my face may have said it all. I could see the happiness on her face, the sheer need to tell. I knew cause I had experienced it so many times in recent times.
And then she got up, smiled at me and walked across the hall to another room.
After a minute or so my phone buzzed, it was a text message. “Thank you.”
I felt strangely happy. Like I had myself understood something.You may now ask what.
The expressions of pity or awkwardness that I met while narrating stuff on my mother was actually always of love and happinessIt was my own guilt that conjured them to be something else.
What I felt while listening to Priya was so much beyond simple conversation needs.
That day I may have liberated her from her inhibitions to speak about her father but more so I liberated myself from my own self-judgement.
It has now been nine years to that day, often over a cup of coffee in person or on phone we remember that day and reinforce what we felt through it all.
After fifteen years of having lost her. I can now safely say she was, is and will always be my hero. And in true spirit of what she handed out to me, I will never let her story strike out.
Two days back it was her birthday, re-writing here what I posted on the occasion on my FB profile:
She would have been 55 today (if the rumours are to be believed 😀 ) and right now probably be sitting on the dining table having her cup of tea (read peace) against backdrop of bunch of gladioli we would have gifted her on the occasion, freshly cut from her own grown garden.
This day is to her and her idea of life where there was no scope for imperfection or hatred. Basically now non-existent much like her.
Happy birthday mumma.
This picture has now been shared on whatsapp by both the pretty ladies whom I like to call Tinni mausi and Binni mausi.
The beauty of it is not in how we look but how she looks at me.
They say if you have a writer lover you can never die. Well imagine what they say if you have a writer child, immortal as it comes always 🙂