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My mum said, “Darling, that message was for you too. Shine so bright that everyone has to take cover. Keep shining in whatever you choose to do.”
My mother served Leena aunty some snacks and tea. Leena aunty stayed in the same society, a few buildings away. She had dropped in at home for a quick chat but stayed for tea and snacks. Usually my mother loved having friends home, but she absolutely hated people wasting time on gossip and judging others for no reason.
“Did you know Meena, Mrs Verma’s daughter, is an Instagram model! I mean what sort of photos does she put on the portal? Someone should say something! And I tried to talk to Mrs. Verma but she very rudely said mind your own business! I mean look at gall of that lady! Actually, I said it out of concern!” said Leena aunty looking scandalised.
I looked at aunty with disdain as I knew Cherry Verma and she was a good person. She had good sense of fashion. So if she used her knowledge of fashion to earn a livelihood, who are we to judge?
“Do you know Leena, my daughter is a good photographer? See that black and white photograph of me? That was taken by Risha when she was only seventeen! It’s my most prized possession!” said my mother as I beamed with happiness and pride.
But Leena aunty looked unperturbed as she said, “Look Meena, ask Risha to choose something practical. This photography and all, she can’t pursue after marriage. Her in-laws might not like her going to weird places to click photos.”
I was about retort rudely when my mom said sweetly, “You are so right Leena. By the way did you know Risha recently won an award for a photograph called the barking dog?”
My mother pulled out a photograph that was most definitely not clicked by me and showed it confidently to Leena aunty. She said, “Tell me Leena, what you see?”
Aunty looked unsure “Is the dog barking at the sun?”
“Correct! The sun is so busy shining bright that he has not time to hear a barking dog. In fact, sometimes the sun shines so bright, the dog has to take cover in his kennel and come out only at dusk! Nice no!” said mom happily. I was trying so hard not to laugh. Leena aunty got up pointedly and said, “I have to leave. It’s late.”
As soon as she left I asked mom why did she show that ridiculous photo from some jokes magazine to aunty.
Mom said, “Darling, that message was for you. Shine so bright that everyone has to take cover. Keep shining in whatever you choose to do.”
That day I beamed with pride at my mom. I was proud to have her as my mother. And I remembered a time when my mother thought I chose a “floozy” career. However, when she saw I was serious she gifted me my first DSLR camera.
She kept pushing me to take better photos, better lighting, better angles. Mom became my confidante, my friend, my guide. She did not forget to be my mother too, and continued scolding me for unfolded clothes and forced me to eat bitter gourd and carrots! Like someone said our mothers always remain the strangest craziest people we’ve ever met.
Picture credits: Still from DiceMedia’s series What The Folks
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Born and brought up in Mumbai.
A feminist and a voracious reader.
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