Waking me up in the morning, my mom asked me if I would like to accompany her to a Breast Cancer Awareness Programme at KBN College (which also happens to be her alma mater). I did not, for a moment, want to get out of my comfy bed and yet, just as moms work their way out, within half an hour there I was- with a bunch of other girls listening to my mom give a talk on cancer. The person who introduced my mom said, “we have amongst us an inspirational lady, who crosses all boundaries to help others; a person who places a stranger before her own self; who goes out of the way to get the right things done.” For a moment I thought the guy was trying too hard to flatter my mother, and only later did I realise that every word of what I was hearing was true. I’ve grown up hearing good things about my mum–she’s independent, selfless, and eveready to help others ( I taunt her by saying- people call Justdial when they need numbers but when Justdial needs numbers, they call my mom! ). Adding to that, I even remember being annoyed when she left us and rushed to attend some stranger; be it for organ donation, or an insurance policy.
My father believes that charity begins at home and he would rather keep his family happy than cater to the the whole world. My mom, however, differs in ways I cannot explain. Maybe because she never tells anybody what she thinks.
Today, sitting in the audience I started wondering why she does all that she does.
My mum (whom I now picture as a superwoman with a cape) is not just independent and helpful, but also brave. She is not scared to do things her way. Whoa. I. Love. It. And since this is not a movie, I also know the criticism she had to face and the comments she had to take from Anu aunties all over the world. But the best part is, 44 frikkin years and she’s still on track!
Snap back to the event now : My mom called me on stage and asked me to talk about MAD just so people could know about our organisation. I stood up, feeling like a potato after all that happened in my head, and she moved me yet again when she said “That’s my younger one. She has started doing things from a much younger age than I.” Um. Alright potato. That’s probably you. Time to speak.
So I blabbered my way to the end of whatever I was trying to say and walked off the stage.
After the event, amma showed us all the places they used to hangout at (The auditorium where Kumar mama danced, which was now sadly in ruins). The place (it was a library back then, now a new building stands) where Suni aunty first looked at my mom and thought : “This girl is so damn gorgeous, lemme talk to her” (Though Suni aunty herself told me this, I still doubt the authenticity of that statement, considering how gorgeous she herself is). Oh talking about Suni aunty, I also wondered if amma took the initiative for spreading cancer awareness because Suni aunty was a survivor? And mom was beside her all through her fight with cancer! Oh God yes! Breast Cancer it was! Why mom no tell anyone anything? Mom always like this only ya! Anyways, she also walked us to her class, happy as a little girl “Oh 8.. no no our class was that.. number 9! I remember!”
While my mom shared all this with us, I was struggling in my head to picture a world where my mom was as young as I am now, precisely my own age. A world where there was not a bit of me, not even the possibility back then. Where I would never be typing this in the future. Where this young girl would never think of me, let alone love. Where my mom ( as it has turned out to be now) was a girl in her teenage- beautiful, talented and well, a dreamer.
Enter: A handsome young man who fell for my mom (well, their story if put down in words will be a novel, so I’ll cut it here).
Fastforward: The beautiful, talented dreamer is now a wife of one and mother of two.
Reflection: What would my mother be today if no guy “happened” to her? Would she have been forced to drop out of whatever she was doing, marry a person and get back to whatever she wants to do because her husband is oh so loving and caring?
I know I cannot change things. I am also aware that even if I could, I wouldn’t ; because, well, that would result in- no me in this world. Ya. Probably that. Now I obviously don’t want that, do I?
But sometimes, I just can’t help but think how this wonderful person deserved better. I know in that case everyone deserves better because nobody’s life is perfect. But you know, my mom.. maybe deserved more than this.
All this, plus, having no mother in her crucial years. Or worse, having a mother who was never with her. I am so proud of my mother for turning this sad and depressing *oh-she-has-grown-up-without-a-mother-because-her-parents-got-separated* instance into a life story- a rather inspirational one for that matter. But at times, I also wonder, is this the reason she has shut herself in. Everyone comes to her with their issues , and she, as she has made people believe, has no issues of her own. But how can that be?
I still have no clue how she has raised two girls and set them free. Maybe she has given us all the freedom she craved for. If it were for dad, he would’ve preferred to keep his lovely daughters close to him and love them till eternity. I would like to believe that there is no right and wrong in parenting, but I would be fooling myself. Because there is. And my mom, was right throughout. I don’t know how my sister and I are going to turn out in the future- building our own lives, our own families… *shudders*
For now, all I know is, I do feel bad for whatever happened or didn’t happen to my mom, but I am also extremely happy about what she has done not just for us, but to us!
And still, there are times when the urge of talking to my mother kicks me from within. So that I don’t have to speculate what happened but truly know. Considering the life she’s been through, I know that is a lot to ask for, but…