Mother’s Day! No, it’s not just a marketing gimmick. It’s celebrated across cultures, across countries to honour Mothers, motherhood, maternal bonds since ages. Modern Mother’s Day, founded by Ann Reeves Jarvis in US in 1908, is celebrated in many countries including India, on the second Sunday of May. Unfortunately, along the way Mother’s Day has become a commercial affair, marketers playing on our emotions and maybe our guilt of often taking our mothers for granted.
When I was asked to write on Mother’s Day I fumbled. My first thoughts were “What can you write about Mothers that has already not been written about?” “Mothers are part of who we are, do we really need a day to celebrate Mothers and motherhood?” I also remembered I snapped at my Mother last week when she complained I don’t call her often, “Ma I just have too much to do, stop nagging.” “Why can’t she be reasonable?” I thought to myself, quite forgetting how much she has given up to ensure we have a proper upbringing. Even now, just one word, one loving request and she will turn into a fairy god mother to fulfill our wishes. We clung to her when we were young, she fed us, groomed us, taught us fly. The day our wings were strong enough we broke free and claimed our independence, our space. She reveled in our success, but we forgot the empty nest that we left behind. This Mother’s Day let’s remember and celebrate the nest that our Mothers so lovingly build for us. The nest that has everything we may ask for, nothing is ever wanting.
The sleepy, laid back town Agartala where I spent my childhood years, didn’t have much to offer then, but Ma ensured nothing was ever lacking for her daughters. She would toil for hours in the kitchen to make us our favourite dosa, chole bhature or chowmin. Agartala didn’t have good restaurants then. Every afternoon, once she was done with the household chores, she would sit with her sewing machine and stitch us trendy frocks and dresses. “My girls were the best dressed girls in Agartala,” she still says with lot of pride. I remember as a teenager I would find fault with every dress she would stitch; her designs were never good enough.
While she granted our little wishes, she was also a strict disciplinarian. Tantrums and unreasonable demands were never tolerated. In those days Chitrahaar and weekend films on Doordarshan were the most awaited programs. We were never allowed to watch Chitrahaar (that was study time), films only occasionally. I hated those rules and regulations then, but I thank her now for teaching me the value of discipline.
Though I endlessly argued with her about the designs and patterns, when I stepped out of Agartala in clothes stitched by Ma I was considered a fashionable and well-dressed girl. She taught me to groom myself, imbibed her sense of style in me. Thanks to her, I could fly out confidently from the comfort of her nest, never once did I feel out of place in any part of the world. And when I stood on my own, built my own nest, she was the happiest, urging me to go for my dreams. She never once rued her empty nest or her loneliness.
So much has changed in the last few decades, but fortunately for us Mothers remain the same. Selfless, loving and giving Mothers, who can be fiercely protective when it comes to their children! While my Mother used to juggle her household responsibilities and limited resources to ensure her daughters had the best of everything, I see my friends juggling with their demanding careers and social obligations for the sake of their children. Knowing full well they will fly out of her nest one day, Mothers teach their children to soar, to reach for the stars.
Thank you, Ma, for giving me wings!