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In Her Shoes

Posted: May 23, 2012

Moushumi tells us about learning to see the world through the eyes of a mother in this story for ‘Lessons From Ma‘.

Moushumi, in her own words: I have journeyed from being an advertising and market research professional who led the jet set life in economy class and worked the hours of a bonded labourer to being a full time mother to my twin boys to suddenly having an epiphany and wanting to be a writer. Started my own blog and also discovered a new passion – photography. These days I work from home and spend my free time blogging, shooting pictures of random flowers no one wants to see, reading and collecting knick-knacks that my husband refers to as junk! 

Mothers can do no right, nor can daughters…..

It took me what seemed like an eternity, to make peace with my mother. To call our relationship complicated would be about right!

I was the defiant crusader constantly seeking to wage war against her authority. She was olde worlde – tough, pushy, unyielding and with her emotions under wraps! 

I spent the first two decades of my life defying her and the next decade trying to win her approval. Age brings wisdom, they say. So as I moved into my 30s, came acceptance. Or maybe both of us were just tired of the endless squabbles and decided to call for ceasefire.

But it is only of late, after becoming a mother to my twins, that I felt something new, something different, something hitherto rare and sporadic in our relationship – admiration and respect for her, my mother. I am in her shoes now you see!

Suddenly I am where she was three and half decades back and the view today is dramatically different from what that rebellious teen saw!

As I struggle to keep my sanity intact and barely manage to make it through each day with 2 toddlers who unleash destruction like 2 nuclear missiles, I look back to the past and see a woman who managed to raise 3 kids on her own, ran a home without help, got us ready for school each morning, helped us with our home work every evening, was there for every school event, had hot food waiting for us at every meal, grew vegetables in our backyard and encouraged us with our hobbies.

All this without missing a beat.

Without pausing once in a while to say, “I need a break! I am off for the day to do as I please. You manage the kids today”. Without saying, “I am so sick of cooking. Let’s just order in”.

How on earth did she manage I wonder? This woman in her early twenties, trying to cope with three unruly brats when she should have been going to college, movies and for outings with friends, instead!

I struggle to cook 3 dishes on a special occasion and she managed to and still does, effortlessly put about 10 on the table! I just land up at Gap Sales while she attended sewing lessons and then worked late into the night after we all went to bed so she could make us some really pretty clothes and also save some money. I barely manage to get my children to playschool on time while she was ready with hot steaming rice, dal and boiled egg each morning at 5.30 am, without fail!

This woman, who always made us her first priority. Who toiled endlessly and never got a thank you from any of us for the efforts she put in. Who pushed us endlessly just so we can be what we are today! Suddenly everything looks so different when I put myself in her shoes.

Today I pray that I have her strength, her endurance and her selflessness. Today when she admonishes me for not cooking enough new dishes for my children, I say something I’d never have imagined saying a decade back. “You are right”, I say as I watch my 2 little fussy eaters lap up her chicken pakoras, spring rolls and cookies with glee. I add, “Can you teach me a few of these?

Today, I am willing to learn. Because today I know she did a far better job than I gave her credit for, and a far better job than I do!

*Photo credit: Moushumi Palit

Congrats Moushumi! You win a copy of Chicken Soup For The Indian Mother’s Soul and Bringing Up Vasu from Westland Books.

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