By Deepika Divekar Panicker.
Photo by Joanne Macgonagle (c) http://conservationcubclub.com/2012/05/happy-mothers-day-to-lions-tigers-house-cats-and-humans/mothers-day-lion-6/
This story takes off from my teenage, which, I occasionally realize, has been a long time ago. Those were the best of the times and the worst of the times. I was a rebel without a cause and my mother generally bore the maximum impact of the exploding teenage hormones. She was either my best friend or Satan, and there was nothing in between. Now, my mother is well known in the family circle for her legendary patience but there were days I would see her struggling to bring about the taming of the shrew.
Don’t get the wrong impression, Dear Readers, my mother is no ‘abala nari’. From the day she told me that it would be either me or a dog that would be cared for in the house till today when she looks with skepticism at my plans to buy a bigger car than a house (asking me if I would be staying in the car and moving around like a gypsy), my mother has hardly ever let me get the better of her.
She and I traded fire daily over one disputed territory.. our respective choice of outfits. She would fire a salvo (not to say this is entirely in the past) that my newest clothes looked a decade old and were more than a few inches short and I would retaliate by calling her choice of sarees (cottons in summers, silks in winters) old fashioned and stuffy.
Photo by Sashwati Bora
However, amidst all the madness that would ensue in the household frequently, there is one particular image from those days that is firmly imprinted on my mind. While I would be at the dining table complaining about being too busy to even iron my clothes, Mom would be making breakfast, packing her lunch and dad’s, instructing the help about my grandfather’s medicines and piling on her legal files, all in a perfectly starched and neatly pinned up cotton saree. Her Sarees, much like their intricate motifs, wove themselves into memories of comfort and confidence, their pastel colors gently exuding principles and compassion.
Mom has never been the one to spend time in front of the mirror. She has always put it down to a lack of skill in that department, though I suspect it was more about never making herself a priority. But what I wouldn’t admit back then, Dear Readers, is that the days that I saw my mother leave for work, composed and assured in her perfect draped saree, I wanted to steal all of those sarees and much of that personality.
Now, adulthood is like an emergency procedure to set you straight, don’t you think Dear Readers? It’s a sudden (and not so happy) realization that your parents were right and the world, in fact, does not run according to you. I outgrew the proverbial cocoon and family, work, money are the main causes in this ex-rebel’s life now.
Photo by Chaitanya Vikas Ghanta @Drishyanvesh Photography
Balancing marriage, a thirty year old child (henceforth referred to as the “Husband”) and some very difficult clients has brought a tolerable amount of patience and confidence my way. Like something that happens to most people after a few knocks in life, I have grown closer to my mother than ever before. That, however, doesn’t stop mommy dearest from smirking at me every time we watch the Sridevi starrer English- Vinglish together. She sighs dramatically and pretends to be like the much taken-for-granted Sridevi. I, of course, can’t help rolling my eyes at her.
So here’s confessing a secret on behalf of all brats (apologies for taking this liberty). Moms, each time you wear the perfect outfit, cook a lip smacking meal or negotiate a cracking deal (or do all of them together), please know that we either want to be like you or want to end up with someone like you, we just might not know or admit it yet. You have raised the bar of womanhood.
As about the old bone of contention (read : clothes) between me and mine ; much to her vindication, today, being married to an army officer, the Saree (along with that personality, I would like to think) has become my second skin. I even wear one for most of the workshops I conduct. Just before stepping out the door, when I take a deep breath and adjust my pinned up ‘pallu’, a composed confidence steals over me. There is not much that can go wrong, I tell myself. I am, after all, my mother’s daughter.