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This extraordinary and heartfelt account by a daughter, of the mother daughter relationship over 3 decades of their life together – do read!
As I structure my thoughts for this post, my eyes wander to the miniature temple on my desk in shades of red, green and white. The desk which I called home for the major part of my childhood. I was always the geeky nerd, with thick rimmed spectacles, cocooned and protected, until I stepped out of the house and was exposed to a whole new world out there.
I transitioned into the ‘rebel child’, gave my parents a hell of a lot of trouble, and in the process found a voice of my own. In the meanwhile, my relationship with my mother went downhill. And I couldn’t help it. In fact, after a certain point, her concerns, worded differently, stopped bothering me.
She was always over protective and over concerned, and I wanted space; and the freedom to do my own thing. When you are 20, with the wind beneath your sails, and the world your oyster, you don’t care about your mother’s concerns, however legitimate they may be. And you stumble, of course.
Stumble, I did. I went on to change my vocation and had a rather unsettling and depressing year in between, unsure of whether I had made the right choice. I fell in love with a spineless guy and compromised my self-respect for a certain length of time.
Of course, I emerged stronger. I gained a sense of clarity and purpose like never before. And I learnt never to take anything lying down. Most importantly, I knew the kind of life I wanted for myself.
In all these years, when I was adult-ing, my mother was ageing too. And our relationship was evolving, for the better – slowly and steadily. We talked more often – and not the usual run-of-the-mill kind of conversations, such as “What did you eat?” or “When did you wake up?”; but the more meaningful kind – of relationships, of her childhood years and memories, of my late maternal grandparents, of the unfairness she was subjected to in her initial years of marriage.
And brick by brick, we started appreciating each other’s viewpoints. My mother went on to become my staunchest advocate, nudging and pushing me to speak my mind and standing by me no matter what choice I made in life.
She was most excited when I was due to get married. I had chosen my own partner and she merrily prepped for the big event, while strongly defending my choice in the face of intrusive comments by pesky relatives.
The big day came and went. My obligations increased by the dozen – the free-wheeling soul that I was, it took me time to get used to the demands of being a married woman in a patriarchal Indian setup. I was being judged and I was not up for it. My mother turned into a patient sounding board, advising me on how to handle sensitive situations with élan and grace.
She had lived up to the image of being a traditional daughter in law all her life. Yet, when I chose to live my life differently and not give in to the age old expectations of a newly married woman, she understood, taking our relationship to a new high. My life mirrored hers, but she was up for shedding her own views and not only accepting but appreciating mine.
Today, my husband and I have mutually taken a decision to live in different cities to further our ambitions and professional goals. Not everyone agrees with it. My mother thinks differently, though. She continues to push me to new frontiers in a silent, stolid manner. And I couldn’t be more grateful. And I couldn’t love her more.
On the occasion of the International Day of the Girl Child, as a girl child, I salute my mother for being supportive, for being by my side while I take my own decisions, for understanding my professional pursuits, for not being closeted in her own world view, and for the unconditional love she continues to shower on me every single day.
The theme for this year’s International Day of the Girl Child (recognized and celebrated by the United Nations worldwide on 11th October) is ‘Girls’ Progress =Goals’ Progress: What Counts for Girls.’ The idea is to “applaud the ambition and potential of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for girls, and recognize how girls’ progress is good not only for girls, but also for families, communities and societies at large.”
But, for my mom, and the millions of mothers in this world, could we have found our own place in this severely damaged, misogynist society?
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