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A mom remembers her rash, hurtful comment to her mother, when her now teen daughter does the same; she understands the circle of life and relationships!
I have been brought up in a joint family, in a six bedroom house with a medium sized courtyard, and a big veranda.
It sounds huge, but for thirteen members of our family, it was just sufficiently enough. We had cows, a small farming land at our backyard too. My mother, aunt and grandmother used to take care of the household and husbandry.
I was fourteen that time. My uncle got transferred to another city. My aunt with two of her kids shifted to that place. My uncle has four sons. The twins stayed back with us. My mother handled everything efficiently without much complaints.
One afternoon, one of the twins C, was playing under the wide palm apple tree. The fan shaped leaf fell down on his shoulder from a height of 20 meters or so. He got hurt badly, in deep pain, and hid himself in the attic.
When my mother inquired about him for lunch, everyone said that he had not been seen since an hour. She called out and looked for him everywhere. Soon she found him following the sobs behind the closed door. She choked at his swollen shoulder and bruised skin. She consoled him, and rushed to the doctor. It was a clavicle fracture. His shoulder was cast with a strap worn around his neck. She finished all the check ups and medications and came back home.
Meanwhile, during that afternoon, my grandmother anxiously yelled around the house, “His mother is not here. Why is Rekha (my mother) not mindful enough?” Suddenly she saw my mother returning in a rickshaw. She hurried to the doorway, descending the stairs while gasping for breath. She missed a step and fell down.
My mother entered the house and saw her growling in pain. She did not think twice and, with the help of our neighbor, she rushed once again to the hospital on the same rickshaw. It was typed-I femoral neck fracture, the injury was just below the ball-and-socket hip joint. The orthopedic surgeon casts a hip cast extending from mid-chest down to her thighs.
They came back home drained, exhausted and miserable. The incidents created an intimidating and unpleasant environment in the house, but my mother tried to stay on top of household tasks, and with their personal care.
Next day, she helped to finish the morning rituals of granny and helped C with his essentials. It was 11 o’clock when she sat down in the courtyard to clean the heap of utensils. Everyone else had eaten curd and beaten rice, but I waited for her to cook something as I never liked the idea of ‘chura-dahi’. It took her an hour to clean the mess. My hunger overpowered me, stoking my evil spirit. It mixed my bad mood with bad words. “You love everyone else more than me. I am starving here and all you care about is cleaning and doing rounds to check granny and C. You know Maa, you are MAD”.
She remained immobile and did not utter a word. I gazed at the drops of tears on her hand till they blended with the salt with which she was cleaning the utensils. She wiped them off quietly with the her pallu edge.
In that moment, the world whirled around me and I froze in repentance. Everything blurred and hazed in slow motion except those drops of tear.
I felt ashamed in a split second. There were no words to express my regret for the hurtful remark I made to her.
I, her eldest daughter, from whom she expected compassion, had shattered her faith and patience. She wiped her hands and made chapattis for me and fed me with her hands. I ate in silence, tears, and guilt.
Right after we finished eating, she said, “Beta, at times, a things are not in our control, and undesirable incidents make us edgy. During those weak moments, do not let anything shatter your integrity. A good character is how we treat other people; and let it start from here, within the family.”
This incident had haunted me over the years till the day my daughter called me insane and ruthless. I relived those moments of agony and disapproval my mother must have coped with.
I learned that day that the teenage hormone is bold and contemptuous, and such episodes do happen between a mother and child, and they should not affect their relationship.
I and my mother bonded like soulmates, especially after I embraced motherhood. Yet that memory has not dwindled, and I wish I could turn back time and tweak that hurtful comment. No matter how many times I say this, I feel it is never enough, “I apologize for being naive, for calling you insane, and for those tears which you wiped away quietly with your pallu.”
Editor’s note: Shilpee Prasad is a surprise sixth winner of our #MomAndMore blogathon for Mother’s Day! She wins an Amazon gift voucher for Rs 500. Congratulations from Team Women’s Web!
Image source: Shilpee Prasad
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A researcher, an advocate of equal rights, homemaker, a mother, blogger and an avid reader.
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