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My Mother, In A True Sense A Woman, A Mother, A Nurturer Of Life

It was the early nineties when I was in school. Those days Mother’s Day wasn’t an ‘in’ thing, women didn’t know that they should be liberated from the social taboos, nor they gave a thought to be treated equally, to avail the luxury of a day out from the kitchen.

It was the early nineties when I was in school. Those days Mother’s Day wasn’t an ‘in’ thing, women didn’t know that they should be liberated from the social taboos, nor they gave a thought to be treated equally, to avail the luxury of a day out from the kitchen. 

When I talk of women of that time, I mean my mother and her counterparts, born in the sixties, married in the eighties or before. One day our teacher explaining us the ‘value’ of a mother for a certain chapter, asked us what all the mothers did and do to make our life ‘easier, as comprehended by me. 

My classmates replied in plurality how their mothers used to cook, clean, take care of the household without complaint and if I understood correctly, with a lot of enthusiasm! I could not understand whether they were speaking of their mothers or of some servant who rendered them service!

“ my mother would cook our favorite food on Sunday, the whole day she would be asking us what we wanted to eat. She would spend the whole day seeing our happy faces” said Meera, one of my classmates.

“oh, how sweet”… said the teacher. That is why you love your mother so much, don’t you?

yes ma’am … said Meera.

Why a woman’s value is evaluated on such a basis?

The girls of the class competed with each other to tell how their mother ‘did’ many more tedious things like this to show her love towards her family!

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It was a girls school, understandably the class 8 bunch of sheepish girls!

But I was pained. Not because my mother didn’t show her love through toiling in the kitchen or managing her work and home efficiently, but at the thought that why a woman’s value is evaluated on such a basis! I am raised in a lower-middle-class household, by humble parents, who are moderately educated, but in such a democratic and judicious environment that even today fail to find any parallel! I had seen both my parents working in the kitchen and outdoors equally. 

My idea of mother’s love!

We, the three children ( two daughters and a son) of the household were taught to cook, clean, arrange and study independently. At times our parents had to go to the village at the time of yield, for nearly a month, and we were left all on our own. I don’t remember being loved the way, my classmates were.

My idea of mother’s love was a pat when I did a good job, a hug when I was sad, a word of faith when I was disappointed. I never saw a plateful of my favorite dish cooked by my mother, with sweat and heat of the kitchen fire, as a token of love.

But when I tried to explain this to my teacher and the class, they could not comprehend it. Maybe I was not able to put on my point incorrect manner.

She has given us an insight into tradition, discretion, to pick the right things from it!

I have not wished my mother a happy Mother’s Day ever, but I wish to be like my mother, who instilled strong values in us through her own ways. She has given us an insight into tradition, discretion, to pick the right things from it. 

She is matriculating but widely read. She didn’t sell her jewelry or mortgage our ancestral house to pay an exorbitant amount of fee in English medium schools rather she encouraged us to educate ourselves by different means. She subscribed to the leading journals and newspapers that she came to know about. We mostly received books as gifts instead of dresses, on our birthdays. 

She never exhausted herself in housework but asked for help from family members. Sometimes she excused herself for not being available round the clock for us, participating in family gatherings, weddings and outings with my father. On her marriage anniversary every year, papa would get movie tickets for two and they would spend the day eating out, watching movies, soaked in each other!  Mother put a deaf ear to all the orthodox people around, who told her to be otherwise than herself!

“you can call on your papa’s number as earlier….papa can’t receive your call but he can listen to you….through me…I am your papa too!”

This year sadly, my father passed away. The relatives in their condolence didn’t forget to underline that now she is left alone, she should reside with one of her children and adjust with them. She didn’t say anything at that point but later, she called all three of us and told us that she wished to live in the same house where she had lived all her life and to look after the little garden where my father had planted many fruit trees. We know she is capable of that, yet my brother and his wife decided to be with her till there is work from home.

Away from my country, here in Oman, I am a terrible homesick person. My day starts with calling home on my father’s cellphone. After his demise I discontinued this habit, my fingers hesitate to dial any number. It makes me miss papa every day! A few days ago, my phone rang early morning. It was from papa’s number! My hands shook when I received the call. It was a mother from the other side…after a few minutes of usual talk, she said

“you can call on your papa’s number as earlier….papa can’t receive your call but he can listen to you….through me…I am your papa too!”

Yes maa… I said.

I am so proud of my mother, who in a true sense is a woman, a mother a nurturer of life …strong and sensitive! To greet her on Mother’s Day is not enough!

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