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My younger one chirped in instantly, "Why Dadi? Are we not important enough to use it? Ma says that the best things are to be used by us for we are the most precious people in her life."
My younger one chirped in instantly, “Why Dadi? Are we not important enough to use it? Ma says that the best things are to be used by us for we are the most precious people in her life.”
They say that motherhood is a thankless 24-7 job.
They say that you are slaves to your children’s whim and fancy.
They also say that if your child misbehaves it is your upbringing but if she/he succeeds, it is his father’s genes!
So, naturally as I walk their journey from toddlers to teenagers, I can’t help but second guess myself. Am I being too friendly? Am I doing the right thing when I insist on equality amongst the sons and the daughters of the house? Am I right in squashing patriarchy right at its stem?
My daughters and I share a relationship that has trust at its roots. No matter how difficult a situation may arise, they always have the comfort that Ma is there. And visa versa. Off late, I have been feeling suffocated in the home I called my own for the past 2 decades! It is more because of the mother in law than the quiet husband who prefers to keep his silence in the aim of buying peace!
But if everything I do gets reverted back to its original form, if every change I make gets an eyeful that ‘good things are for the guests’, then there is a certain disconnect that arises. I have taught my children to live within our means. Yes, we splurge occasionally but at the tender age of 17 and 19, they understand the importance of hard work and savings. One of the things that I resent the most is when the entire house gets a transformation when the GUEST arrives. Are we, the people who make this a home not good enough to use the wedgewood or the hand embroidered bedsheet? Inspite of being able to afford the best, are we supposed to live with the most faded worn out bedcovers or tablemats just so the good ones can be kept for guests?
On one regular day, I decided to take the bone china out much to the mother in law’s annoyance. “It will break. I have saved it for 30 years for the guests. Now my work load has increased as I will only have to wash them.”
My younger one chirped in instantly, “Why Dadi? Are we not important enough to use it? Ma says that the best things are to be used by us for we are the most precious people in her life. And its a piece of inanimate crockery. If its breaks, it breaks. Atleast we had the pleasure of eating in it.”
My older one joined in and said as though preempting my glare. “Ma, I am not back answering but this is enough. You can’t live a life where you are not allowed to use things, where you have to hear so much just because you took the damn bone china out for your own children.”
There was pin drop silence on the dinner table that night as both my daughters got up and came to me. I choked to fight back my tears as they spoke. “There is too much importance given to things in our house for other people. But for Ma, it was always us. It started with her letting us use the fancy button pencilbox which came from America, as opposed to the one you never let Dad use as it would get spoilt. It started with the clothes she bought us and let us wear, which you never let Dad wear in his younger years. But now, this ends here. It ends with us living in a house that is ours, not some guest’s who comes for a few days. It ends with our Mother using her interior decoration aesthetics and creating a home that she’s always wanted for us. For this is our Mother’s house and it always will be!”
I looked at both my girls, and cried as I held them close. I cried because at that very moment, I realized that I had given them the greatest gift of all – ‘To believe that they were truly precious and not accept anyone treating them any lesser than they treat themselves!”
Image source: SBI Khushiyon ka Card/ YouTube
Pooja Poddar Marwah is an Indian author and blogger. (October 22,1978) Her foray into writing began in a parking lot, whilst she was waiting for her kids’ co-curriculars to get over.
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