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Meri Maa Pyari maa

Posted on : 19-2-2016

My mother had always been an early riser, and went for walks at around dawn. I, on the other hand, spent as much time as I could in bed. Our morning ritual involved her taunting me about my sleeping habits and blaming my phone for it. When I would be sprinting across the house to gather my things, she would place some breakfast on the table and I would have a bite before darting through the door.

Maybe it was the hectic city schedule and the need to achieve my dreams that kept us from bonding. I would barely spare a glance at her when I left, and she would be asleep when I came back home. I replied back to her texts in the most crisp way possible and never answered her calls during work. We spoke a little on weekends, about getting errands, the weddings in my family and how the diesel prices were plummeting. With little conversation, I had no insight into the pain she was going through.

One day I came home earlier than I usually would, courtesy to the weather warnings issued. It had been raining heavily, and I was soaked. I called out to my mother, but got no reply. Shivering, and slightly irritated, I went into her room. There she was, sitting on the bed with her chai. She wouldnít have coffee, but only tea and her favourite biscuits for the last five decades. But her chai was sitting on her bed side, half empty, waiting for my mother to take another sip. She didnít.

I stood at the doorway, my eyes glued at my mother. She had a photo album clutched in both her hands, almost too afraid to let go. Her gaze was anchored at the black and white photos. Photos of her youth, her time in college with her friends, her wearing the most beautiful saree I had seen. Photos of her with those extravagant 60ís hairstyles and exaggerated winged eyeliner. Her lips curved into a smile almost too seductive to be that of my mother, and her nails painted to perfection. My mother, when she was my age, at the prime of her youth.

I couldnít stand her sighs of nostalgia and remorse, her fingers lingering on those memories. I slowly backed away and went into my room, unable to process what I had witnessed. Something so seemingly small, yet so profoundly consequential for my mother. I had missed every clue of her being unhappy. Her trying to convince me to wear that shade of lipstick she picked up for me, or her shopping for the best clothes yet never wearing them. There was something amiss in my mother, and I hadnít figured it out before. Guilt showered over me like the rain drops outside, but I knew I couldnít just wallow in silence. I had to fix this, and I knew just what to do.

The next morning, I pretended like I knew nothing. I didnít wake up with the first ray of sun, I didnít talk to her any while longer, and I definitely didnít have all my breakfast. But I did leave her a text message telling her that I had called someone home using the Googlibox app, and she was to let her into the house. I kept my phone aside, avoiding any questions. I was unsure of the outcome, but I told myself to keep praying and not giving into panic. It was only at night that scenarios started building themselves in my head, and I took a cab back home to reach as early as possible.

The lights in the living room were off, which was odd for this time of the day. I was half expecting her to watch those cheesy sitcoms I would groan about, and her ignoring my whining and continuing anyway. I reminded myself to not jump to conclusions until I knew what had happened here while I was away. There was slight light escaping the door of my motherís room, and I tiptoed my way there. She was sitting at the same place on her bed as yesterday, but that was the only similarity that the days shared.

My mother was staring at her very own reflection in the mirror. She was wearing one of her favourite sarees, a rich blue fabric with intricate golden embroidery. Her hair was luminous and her eyes looked brighter than the stars. Her lips were a deep maroon and her nails had a fresh coat of nail polish. Her cheeks were the colour of a girl who was falling in love. Most of all, there was finally an aura of peace around her. I stood there for a few more moments, awestruck, when my mother took notice of me. She patted the spot next to her, and I sat down, not taking my eyes off her for even a moment.

ďAre you jealous?Ē she asked.

ďA tad bit.Ē I smiled and hugged her.

I felt a tear slip down her cheek and onto my shoulder, which only made me embrace her tighter.She asked me the details of this little stunt I had pulled off, about the beauticians who had turned her ď21 againĒ. I narrated the incident, and downloaded the Googlibox app on my motherís phone, so she could forever stay and feel 21. She deserved to be happy, to be content and confident about herself, I told her. This was her neglectful daughter making an effort at the same. There were more tears from both mother and daughter, ones of overwhelming emotion.

After my mother and I composed ourselves a little, I got my phone out for selfies. She better have something to remember the day when all her woes disappeared, and she was the charming, young woman again.