Mom-paedia


I have just gone in to take a shower. My son seems to have this uncanny ability of sensing this precise moment, and chooses it to ask questions across the closed door – over the gushing sounds of the shower water.

There is a sharp knock. I pretend not to hear it. My son repeatedly hollers, “Mom, mom”, till I give in and answer wearily.

“Mom, where is the cordless phone?” asks my son. I tell him that it must have gotten wedged between the two seats of our sofa.

I come out of the shower, and in just a few minutes, my daughter asks me if I know where one of her workbooks is! Sigh!

And this is an integral part of being a mother – the skill of knowing where every article in our home is at any point in time. But, I do also know that every mom is blessed with some form of sophisticated MOM-GPS that thankfully helps her remember and identify the precise location of her daughter’s favourite hoodie, or her son’s graph notebook that has mysteriously disappeared from his school bag, and the hundred other things that go missing in the house.

And then again, most moms are also walking Mompaedias, for they need to answer questions that straddle many levels. From answering questions about why rainbows are formed to answering questions about the purpose of life (to a teenager), to answering questions about fashion, which are immediately deemed as being outdated, to answering questions about the little bird that visits the plants on the balcony – a mom needs to have answers to simply everything.

A mom also knows that while her sub-ten year old will cling on to her every word, her teenager will probably listen with a disinterested look, or with an expression that says, ‘Can’t wait for you to finish, mom’.

But from all these years as a mom, I do know that children listen, even when they don’t want to be seen as listening. They watch and they learn.

And they do love their moms, for no one in the world could take her place. When she is not around, they even miss her nagging. The energy of the house is pure mom. And come Mother’s Day every year, they pack all their love into their lovely cards and gifts, and make the day super special for her.

My daughter has already given me a beautiful coffee mug; my son is giving me knowing and secret smiles, and is slinking from one room to another, planning his big surprise.

There was a time, not many years ago, when the excitement of keeping the mother’s day gift a surprise was too much to bear for my son. But he has now transformed into this big boy, who is able to keep secrets.

So, I wait patiently.

I think of my journey as a mother and what it has meant to me. I realize that this is a love so deep, which only keeps growing with time. I wonder how one heart can hold so much love. But that is who a mother is – every pore of hers filled with love. A love that comes camouflaged in many flavours – happy, sad, silly, proud, angry, irritated and nagging, but all of them mere manifestations of that one all- encompassing love.

Happy Mother’s Day to you all.

Image courtesy – http://www.pinterest.com

Amma


After marriage and kids, rare indeed are the opportunities for one to spend quality time with one’s mom, especially if both of you live in different cities.

I’ve suddenly got this opportunity to make a dashing visit to my mom’s place, at the end of a long, busy day.

It is past 11 pm when I reach. I hear my mom’s cheerful voice the moment I ring the calling bell.

I am enveloped in a huge mom-hug. And, as we chatter away, trying to catch up on all news, she walks into the kitchen and comes back with a hot cup of filter coffee, prepared to perfection, just the way I like it.

I stretch out and revel in the joy of spending time with my mom, without the kids to interrupt or ask their hundred questions. Our conversation meanders from the past to the future and back to the present.

She gently prods me to the dining table to eat. And, unbeknownst to myself I wolf down the hottest, softest and yummiest chappatis, with green moong dal sabzi and tomato chutney, washed down with mom’s love and more coffee.

Memories of times past come rushing back – when the whole family used to sit around the table at dinner time arguing, laughing, singing and sharing our fears, success stories and failures.

I stretch and unwind like I haven’t done in a long time. There is a sense of peace and contentment – of being a child again, completely pampered for a few hours, of being at the receiving end of pure unadulterated love, mom’s love.

In the morning, as I leave, she hugs me, and pins a strand of fragrant jasmine flowers on my hair.

My eyes mist over. It is time to go, back to my duties and to my family.

Love you, Amma. There is simply no one like you.

Mom


Whichever way I turned this last week, there was only one theme – Mother. There was ‘mommy love’ everywhere. If there was an energy meter that could measure this love, it would have probably burst!

Cards, gifts, letters, cookies…..and a million other ways to express one’s love for one’s mom!

When we were kids, if we did something wrong, one look from mom had us quaking…for we knew what was coming. The same mom would, with a twinkle in her eye, hide a gift for us on our birthdays.

She made the loveliest and yummiest foods at home, but also watched us like a hawk to ensure that we ate our veggies, even all those ‘healthy’, green ones!

She spent hours helping us with so many projects, but never hesitated to have us go up and apologize if we had said or done something to hurt someone.

Image courtesy – http://www.istockphotos.com

She never interfered in sibling fights, but always had a kind word or a hug to share after the fights, when we moped.

Her greatest joys came from our achievements, however small. Her eyes always lit up in excitement. She told us repeatedly that we could achieve whatever we envisioned; and gently admonished us when we stopped trying. She jumped for joy when we succeeded, but held us close to her heart when we lost – comforting us in the way only a mom can.

She inspired us with her positive attitude and her energy.

Even now…when I speak to her, she is the first one to ask me about ‘me’, and what I have been doing.

And that’s what it is…Moms are the ones who teach us our values. They are the needles in our moral compasses, always telling us the difference between right and wrong, good and bad; teaching us about humility, letting go, having the courage to stand up for oneself, having the strength to accept and rectify one’s mistakes…and many more.

Mothers prepare us for life – sometimes with love, sometimes with a gentle nudge, sometimes in anger, sometimes with strictness…..but always rooting for her children. Always!

And that’s why all these cards and gifts can express only a fraction of that love…!

Letting go in bits and pieces…


The excitement at home is palpable. My son is scurrying about, double-checking, triple-checking and quadruple-checking with me; ensuring that all the items on the checklist given by his school have been packed.

He is going away on a three-day school trip, the longest he has been away from home and from all of us.

We have to drop him early tomorrow, so we try to get him to sleep early. He checks his big backpack, and a smaller backpack, one last time, before he hits the bed.

His excitement is contagious; we are also caught up in it all.

As his mom, I hope he will be fine, and able to manage on his own. Above everything, I want him to have fun.

His elder sister, who has been on many such trips, gives him a few tips. He is after all the youngest, and it is time to let him go!

The next morning flies by in a flurry of last minute checking, and driving to school. Many children and parents are already there. In what seems like a jiffy, the children board the coaches, and with a few waves and yells, they are off.

Picture courtesy – wikiclipart

I head back home. It is like any other school day, when the kids are not around, but the house seems a tad emptier. I go around the house picking up stuff. On my son’s table are some eraser shavings, a half-done sketch of an animal, and a pencil. Suddenly, it hits me that a bundle of energy will not rush into the house at 4 pm, for the next two days. There will be no non-stop chatter about the school day or animals, or the cats in the neighbourhood.

Soon, when I check my phone, I realize there are some photo updates from school. Lovely photos of the kids and their activities; what fun experiences they seem to be having.

I zoom in, and eagerly scan the innocent faces for my son. There he is, smiling, with his friends, looking happy and cheerful.

Soon, the day’s chores catch up with me, and my daughter and I also take some time out together, catching up on some mom-daughter time.

The three days fly away, and my son is back home, enriched by his experiences, and bubbling with stories about the trip.

As I hug my little one, I realize that he has taken an important first step in his life. The first of many such experiences and challenges he will face in this journey called life.

As his parents, my husband and I hope we have equipped him to do just that!

Realization – A short story


It was raining outside, but the sounds in Jaya’s head drowned out everything else, to the point that she was barely aware of her surroundings. Her fingers absent mindedly plucked at the frayed embroidery on the table cloth.

There was a dull ache in her heart as she replayed her son’s words on the phone.

“Mom, we can’t have you stay with us…you know we are struggling to make ends meet”, he’d said.

The words had stung, and how. She had always believed that their simple but happy family life would last forever, but her husband’s death had kind of pulled the carpet from under her feet. She had come to realize that their finances were in very bad shape and that there was very little left as savings. There was the monthly pension, of course!

The hopes she had pinned on her only son came to naught. Now, she planned to sell all the furniture and electrical appliances, and move to a home for Senior Citizens.

She sighed as she moved around the house reviewing what could be sold. The next two weeks flew by…all the furniture and appliances were sold.

Her son came to help her move into the Home. There was a wall between the mother and son, love frozen into a sudden strangeness and unfamiliarity.

Jaya soon aettled down in the Home. She passed her time reading, doing her shopping and doing yoga.

One afternoon, just after lunch, she got a call on her mobile.

“Hello. Is this Ms.Jaya Kumar?” asked a voice.

“Yes, this is she. Who’s calling?” asked Jaya.

“My name is Kevin Williams. I need to meet you regarding a very important matter concerning the furniture you just sold to ‘Woods n Carves’. I work there and need to talk to you”, the voice said.

Her curiosity piqued, she agreed to meet him at a local coffee shop later in the day.

As she sat at the cafe, she saw a short man, with a paunch, walking in. He looked around and walked to her table.

“Mrs.Kumar?” he asked.

She nodded and smiled.

They placed their order and she looked at him enquiringly.

“Mrs.Kumar, this is a very delicate matter and I hope you will keep it confidential”, he started.

She nodded.

“Hmmmm, you know the small dining table set you sold to us? I am incharge of the Repurposing Department, and all items that the shop buys comes under my purview. Before joining this organization, I was an antiques dealer. The table you sold is a very special piece, that can be traced back to the Mysore Royal Family. It is worth a few hundred thousand dollars at least.”

Jaya’s eyes nearly popped out. This seemed too good to be true.

The man continued, “I have thought of a way to help you. If you can buy back the furniture from us, I can help you find a good buyer for the antique piece and you should get a good price for it.”

Jaya pondered. Could she trust this man? Who was he anyway? Was he a fraud? Was he trying to make quick money, by getting her to buy back the furniture with a fake story?

Kevin watched the play of emotions on her face.

He said, “I know how this may appear to you, but believe me, you are sitting on a golden egg here and it is only fair that you reap the benefits. As for me, here’s my card, you can run a check on me.”

She flushed as she realized that he knew what she was thinking.

“Why don’t I talk to my son and call you in a few days?” she said.

That evening she called her son and told him about what had happened. His voice sounded animated and as he spoke, he ran a quick search on Google for Kevin Williams. His credentials were impeccable. There were many white papers on antique furniture to his credit.

“Mom, fix up a meeting with Kevin for this weekend. I will meet him with you”, said her son.

On Saturday, they met at the same coffee shop.

“I am glad you have considered my suggestion, so what I will do is tell my management that the owner wants to buy it back, shouldn’t be too much of a problem. They may ask for a 5% increase in the buyback price”, Kevin said.

Jaya and her son quickly conferred and agreed.

Jaya said, “Mr.Williams, you have been very kind, we would like to repay your kindness.”

Kevin said, “Ah..that, I will come to that in a minute. Now that you have agreed, I want to tell you that there are two potential buyers and the price range is between 800,000 to 1,000,000.”

Jaya and her son let out loud gasps.

Kevin continued, “As for me, I would like 40% of the total.”

Jaya and her son took some time to talk through this. They rationalized that 60% itself was great as opposed to nothing.

They agreed.

Very soon the agreement was signed. Her son put up the money to buyback the piece and the antique was sold.

Jaya’s bank account was swollen with money. She walked with more confidence, and a small smile on her face.

Life was more pleasurable now that she had this nest egg. She decided to continue staying at the Home.

A few days later her son and daughter-in-law called on her at the Home. They brought lots of snacks and gifts for her.

Her son said, “Mom, why don’t you move in with us? Things are looking better for us, so we would be thrilled to have you back with us.”

Jaya said, “You are my son and I can read you like a book; that money will come to you only after my death, and I plan to travel to a few places that I have dreamt about. I woke up to reality the day I moved here.”

Mother


Hands that snip craft paper for that school project, hands that patiently wipe away silver tears, hands that hug you to her bosom, hands that snatch you away from danger, hands that cook the tastiest meals, hands that sew buttons, hands that hold yours to say ‘don’t worry’, hands that ruffle your hair, hands that clap for joy, hands that are callused from hard work, hands that write encouraging letters…HER HANDS

Legs that walk tirelessly about the house, legs that walk with you to and from school, legs that seat you on her lap as she sways to put you to sleep, legs that run when you learn to ride a bicycle for the first time, legs that run up and down the stairs to check on you when you have fever, legs that transform into horses and elephants, when she carries you on her back, legs that are worn with age…..HER LEGS

Her eyes that light up in that special way when she sees you, her eyes that mist over when she sees you performing on stage, her eyes that reflect the happiness she sees in yours, her eyes that have bags from not having slept, her eyes that show compassion, her eyes that laugh silently when you throw tantrums, her startled eyes when you roll your eyes as a teenager, the crow’s feet around her eyes from years of smiling….HER EYES

Her mouth that croons lullabies to you, her mouth that has a 100 watt smile, her mouth that laughs, her mouth that kisses your forehead when you feel down, her mouth that prays for you all the time, her mouth that sings sweet songs as she moves from one chore to another, her voice that sounds divine when you call her from university, missing home……HER VOICE

Her heart that’s hidden from view, a heart that’s probably what she is made up of, her heart filled to bursting with love, love and only love, a heart that prays, a heart filled with compassion, a heart that can sense your pain, a heart that beats for others, a heart of pure gold…..HER HEART.

To all moms around the world, for all the thoughtful things you do, for the love that you give, for every single thing you do to light up our lives –

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!

Rebuilding – A Short Story


Their small house stood on top of a hillock. After years of repaying loans, they finally owned it, every single brick, every bit of wood.

They were a family of five, husband, wife, two daughters and a son. The children were 12, 10 and 8 years old.

The house was a modest one, with two bedrooms, a study, a kitchen and a living room, filled with photos, and love, and bits and pieces of their life together.

On this day, the Sun shone a bright yellow, as the radio blared within and the early morning sounds of the three children getting ready for school floated in the air. There were arguments and teasing.

The father had left home early. Breakfast was served. The three children sat down at the table.

And at that very moment, the Earth trembled so violently; that their home shook from side to side. As they clutched each other and watched, a huge chasm opened up near the bedroom, and that part of their home was swallowed up by the Earth.

More shaking, more rattling..and then there was an eerie silence, a silence that was deafening, as the mother looked to see if her three children were safe, to see if they were hurt and if they needed anything.

She gathered them for a hug, realizing the power of the force that had shaken their lives.

They were both inside and outside their house at the same time, with one half of it missing. There was a huge cloud of dust around them.

The mother drew from her inner reservoir of strength. She sent a prayer upward asking that her husband be safe.

Then she resolutely fixed her mind on rebuilding their lives. She was a mother and she would provide for her children, come what may.

P.S: My heart goes out to the people of Nepal as they grapple with the aftermath of the earthquake, to the countless families who have lost loved ones, and who, now, have the very difficult task of rebuilding their lives, both physically and emotionally .