Saturday, 20 February 2016

To the Mother Born

(Image Courtesy~ Meenal Jaiswal)
Eighty is a mighty number when we consider that life expectancy of Indian women is less than seventy years. So when our Mom, Indumati, recently turned eighty, it was a special occasion. It is unfortunate that we could not celebrate it with gusto as we would have wanted to.

Her frailty and rapidly deteriorating health have taken a toll on her spirit~ well, almost. It is painful to watch the inevitable while knowing one is helpless. That whatever modern medicine can do for her degenerative spine is being done. That eighteen pills a day over many years have failed to reduce her pain and even the brave one is now cracking under the brunt of weeks of sleepless nights and untold discomfort.

I try to mollify myself that all this is the cycle of karma..we are born, grow up and eventually wither away. Is there an escape? Acceptance is a balm.

In her prime, she has been a lady who has never failed to inspire me. Sis and I owe a lot of our qualities to her. If we are honest, disciplined, resourceful and fiercely independent, we owe it to what we learnt from her, the fine example that she herself set.

In the mid sixties, when break ups of marriages were rare in India and virtually unheard of in a tiny village like Vasai where her maternal home was, she chose to take this call. Her children's future was more important to her than the questions society would ask of her and an abusive husband was not an ideal that she wanted us to emulate.

All three of us had the good fortune of the shelter that our magnanimous maternal Uncle provided us. To me, although he wasn't my biological father, he is the hero I look up to till this date. Mom made all efforts to ensure that our financial burden on Uncle was minimised. She took up odd jobs of embroidery and knitting which she excelled at.

When I finished College and stood on my own feet, it was a sense of relief for Mom, for my Uncle would not have to support us any more. So, since the ripe age of twenty I have managed to provide for my family, hopefully with reasonable success. As my business began to flourish, we managed to purchase our first apartment in Mumbai: the first place she could call home in the truest sense. Going out on vacations together gave us most joy.

Life has its ways. My late marriage brought in friction which is a rule rather an exception in India as more and more and more urban families decide to go nuclear. Much against my wishes and a move that brought about great anguish in me, my mom and sis decided to live separately shortly afterward. Fortunately, they stay very close by. All the same I feel everyday that she misses me~ such is her love for me. Also, I cannot comfort her and be by her side as easily as I previously could.

As her illnesses get better of her, she has fallen prey to depression. Unimaginable for a woman of spunk. Everyone used to tease her for her habit of wearing 'matching clothing and accessories', for her zest for life even when well past seventy five. A woman so full of life, bustling with energy, enthusiastic about learning, reading, picking up new skills. Until a few weeks ago, she cooked all the meals..even that joy has been seized from her since the sprightly woman now hobbles across even a few feet across the living room. She has gone quieter too.

I love you Mom. I know over the last few years I have not been able to give you adequate time. The brunt of taking care of you has solely fallen on Sis and she has done a magnificent job of it. Just wish I could absorb all your pain..

God bless you and thank you for all you have done for us. Am proud to be your son!
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