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By Prabal Atreya, Bangalore

I opened the newspaper and saw this loaded supplementary paper along with it. It seems the 9th of May is celebrated as the Mother's Day. I googled around, it took me to Greece as a practice, then to the American Civil War days, many individuals and groups involved US in commemorating a day for Mothers; the state of Michigan serving it for the first time, then officially at Virginia. And finally, US President Roosevelt approving at as a National Holiday. Was followed in parts of UK and Europe and spread across the world. Back to newspaper, I found columns on Moms, Super moms, doing extra-ordinary things in life, balancing acts done by them with multiple roles that they conduct in their respective everyday life. There's Kajol giving her 'motherly' gyan, I like her. It also talked about the immortal story of 'Yashoda and her Nandalal', Mr. A.R.Rehman dedicating his award to his mother at the Oscars. And so was Sandra Bullock at the same venue (Yeah! yeah!! she also talked about her wonderful husband on the same platform, who was caught on grounds of infidelity in the next couple of days).

The Mother and her relationship with her offspring is immortal, go beyond human and is part of all universal living creatures. Recently I saw a sister-in-law giving birth and witnessed the happiness in her face, it is eternal and beyond words. I saw my friends, getting married, having babies and the transformed selves in them. A friend of mine now in Singapore, who's just become a mother, either has a 'short-term-memory-loss' or a split personality (pun intended). The first time I call her to congratulate, she's like- "Puchhu is like really naughty but he's my world" (Note- Puchhu is her baby's name). In another occasion, " 'Potol' egoi more jaaleya kheilo, kintu minute aahan taare chaara tha nuarouri". "Wait a minute, is this 'Puchhu' or 'Potol'? "Oh sorry, the name's Jeez"(Said somewhat like- The name's Bond, James Bond). Jokes apart, I could sense a mother's underlying love for her son, I'm sure she makes a great mother. There's another friend, who works all out in office, but left her heart at home to her growing daughter, she cant be at rest at work. Wait a minute, are you saying that all your friends are married and you're not as yet? Am I this old? Excuse me! My time has just come and I'm not OLD as yet. For the records :) .

But on a serious note, my intent is to remember and dedicate a column on my mother (not that I don’t remember her everyday), more because on the day, when I actually read so many things about mothers in the newspaper. To convey my love and affection for once, just like any other son/daughter feels for their mother. To appreciate the daughter, sister, woman, wife, and mother I had seen since my birth. That today, after almost living half my life (Oh hello! yet again, I am not old as yet, just keeping evolution in mind that life span is getting shorter), I appreciate the fact that she is truly the inspiration for me.
I've heard from Mama & Mashi how in early 70s, you were this free bird, taking flights and traveling alone, quite unheard of during those days, from home and to the faraway university then. I also saw the romantic side in you when you kept humming on the Uttam/Suchitra movie numbers, during the most trying hours. I saw you commanding respect from your seniors, peers and juniors. I saw you taking care of the entire thread of family from both sides, shifting gears between family and your profession. I experienced going out with you to the best eat-out joints in the small town (You always complain about my eat-out habits, I guess it all started then). Only two days after you left me in hostel with tears in your eyes that I realised how much I missed you. The 'bookworm' in you never made a good cook, but you surprised me on every summer and winter when I was home on vacations, with you coming up with exquisites, all for my sake. I remember dad saying- "I long for a day when my son will be home forever, I guess we'll get good food forever then" and then followed the war. Also, the lessons that you gave me on Sanskrit, I swear that I always had been getting more than 85% in all my class tests (BTW, I’m talking ONLY about Sanskrit). After all, your name was always at stake, so could not have gone wrong there. That in spite of the TV revolution that happened during that period, aired Ramayanas and Mahabharatas of the world, you also bought me the hard copies of the same name, off course along with Chacha Choudhary/Phantom/Archies/Reader's Digest. Yes, I also remember that it was on your behest that dad got me the Cricket kit from faraway Calcutta, made me a proud owner of a kit available to select sporting clubs. Yeah, yeah! I was shadow practicing the whole night, imitating the Azhars and the Vengsarkars (this was the dull period between Kapil Dev and Tendulkar when we were short of cricket heroes). I was grooming myself well in hostel with the annual cosmetic package that you put into my baggage until another beautiful lady came in and said its so-not a MAN thing to do. I had to be a MAN. You were in the forefront of affairs and did most for your siblings along with us. Highly appreciate the intend and the degree of it.

I probably troubled you more during my college days. You had to rescue me on every other occasion from Hitler's clutches (Allow me to call him Hitler for once on Mother's Day, I love him lots too), pull him up whenever he gave up hope on me. Gave me all resources for the wannabe Pseudo-Bollywood/Hollywood/Rockstar/Doctor/Business Person dreams. Expectations were always met. I never asked a bike though, partially due to your concern and my lack of 'Macho'ism. Dating was not in the dictionary, so I managed with a code-line- "Aaij me baire kheya aaitou" (I'll have food outside), and how well you used to de-code it with- "Rupa te aase?" (You have money?), understanding my needs as a young boy running after babes. And not to forget, the support you gave to the people I love, in whatever form, highly appreciate those.

Life was just beginning when I was legally an adult. I passed out of college and did not have a job at hand, courtesy my lousy lifestyle. And me breaking down in the STD booth assuming I’ve worked hard and not getting rewarded with a job. The solid punch that you gave me then over the phone was good enough to get me started. One thing you hate about me is my funds management. but I’m getting better with each passing day. I remember when I was still wondering on how to get my promotions worked out when you lifted me out, by getting the same yourself at the highest level at the fag end of your career. When I look back today and see the amount of sacrifices you've made, makes me all the more appreciate the person in you. You wanted to focus in the line of academicians, but family became a priority. You devoted so much time and effort on Hitler and three Mavericks (the three sons) that you lost your life along the way. I guess eventually we became your life and doing things with us satisfied your life. I'm so glad that you take and give the right feedbacks from the 'Baghbaan's and 'K-Series' daily soaps. That you fight severely on woman's rights, when plans of me getting married comes across and I turn villain. Dear Mom, I also respect woman; I become villain just to see the anger in you, it brings the best in you:).

Today, when I’m far away from you, I remember everything while writing this piece. Truly nostalgic. I hope I could show it sometime to you, before Hitler shows it to you. He loves it when I talk good things about you. Also, the fact that I have the greatest example right in front of me makes me very proud. To me, you're the Yashoda Maiyya, the mother Madonna, the Iron Lady as well as the guiding force. I called you and explained you that there’s something called Mother's Day and your laugh said it all. There are certain emotions that are felt and not said and I understand that. Honestly, every time I go home and see the aging signs on you, I feel sad for a fact that I did not spend quality time with you. Wish I could get my childhood back and live it once again with you. It’s been a wonderful journey with you, mother. Living with you and loving you is a joy. I love you.


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