24 May 2006

Belated Mother's Day bouquet to my daughter

Mother’s day has long come and gone and I had put up a tribute to my mother. But now I thought I would like to post a tribute to my daughter, a one-year mom. She is a working girl and feels all the guilt that many such mothers feel. She was so very upset for example, when she missed seeing her son’s 2nd tooth. She desperately wants to work from home and is trying to get such a job. She juggles her work and her home like so many other women I know—and so is not special that way. Besides, being here in India, means that she has house help to help with cooking and cleaning.

What made me think of doing this post was that not too long ago she asked me if she was a good mom and I was able to say wholeheartedly that she was. To me what I see is a mom who loves her baby. He knows he’s top priority in her life. She’s easy with him meaning the right amount of flexibility, an absolute essential I think when bringing up kids—if you don’t want to go berserk. Of course it maybe that the Supreme Power has given her son an easy-going nature. But whatever it is, the fact that the baby is friendly, and self-confident, shows, to me atleast, that she’s a first rate mom. Here’s to you daughter dear, belated happy mother’s day.

17 May 2006

Happy birthday Ma

It is my mother’s birthday today and besides it was Mother’s Day on the 14th. So I thought I would post a tribute to her today. I know I had written a post to her before but I feel compelled to do it one more time. I found this online and felt it said exactly what I wanted to say about her.

GOD said--

"When I made woman,
I decided she had to be special.
I made her shoulders
strong enough to carry
the weight of the world, yet,
made her arms gentle enough to give comfort...

I gave her the inner strength
to endure childbirth
and the rejection
that many times will come
even from her own children.

I gave her a hardness
that allows her
to keep going and take care
of her family and friends,
even when everyone else gives up, through sickness and fatigue without

I gave her the sensitivity to love her children under any and all
circumstances. Even when her child has hurt her badly....

She has the very special power to make a child's boo-boo feel better and
to quell a teenager's anxieties and fears....

I gave her strength to care for her husband, despite faults
and I fashioned her from his rib to protect his heart....

My mother is all of the above and more. I love you mum.

Fly away, fly away, go where you may wish!

I have sort of gotten over feeling sad about my daughter’s proposed move away. My children have the right to live their lives the way they want and sometimes it all turns out for the best. It is just that, as we grow older, it takes longer to get comfortable with a big change. So, bless you daughter, whatever decision the two of you take and wherever you fly to.

12 May 2006

My daughter, or rather my daughter’s husband is planning to move to Mumbai form Chennai and I HATE the idea. I feel sad even thinking about it. I so much prefer the southern Indian states to bring up children. Mumbai has become so soulless. Also of course there is the fact that they’ll be moving much farther away from home. Then there is the strong family support that is available in Chennai as opposed to none at all in Mumbai. Is more money and prestige worth it? I really don’t know and I also know that I whatever my feelings, it’s their life and beyond giving my opinion, I have no other right. But I am sad.

06 May 2006

My father passed away on Tuesday 2nd May, in the morning. He was 93 and had been suffering from senile dementia since 2001. His condition had gradually deteriorated over the last year or so. In this last year, the number of times I have been able to have any kind of conversation with him can be counted on my fingers. All of us siblings watched in sorrow at seeing our brilliant father like this. At some point I came to terms with it and said a farewell to him because I realised the father I knew had left quite a while back.

When he started breathing difficulties, my mother called for me around 11.30 p.m. on Monday night. When I heard his breathing it didn’t sound too good. My mother didn’t want him to be taken to the hospital. So, I sat by his bedside the whole night, holding his hand and massaging his chest, while my mother sat on the other side of him. Sometime during the night, while I watched him struggling for breath, I realised he was nearing his end. I just prayed for him to get release. I said my last farewell to him then. When he finally passed away at 7.45 a.m., I was relieved for him and really glad I that I had been able to be with him.

I was never a ‘daddy’s little girl’. It is my mother who I am close to. My dad was a constant, but distant figure in my life. I could never confide in him, or joke with him or even just chat with him. He was a workaholic I guess and most of the fun things we did as children was with my mother & other extended family. My dad was the one who helped with maths and science homework, or the one you discussed serious philosophical points or the political scenario with—things like that. We rarely saw the lighter side of him I think, though I do remember him taking my brother and me to a disco in Delhi (it was 1970), because we couldn’t afford it on the allowance we had while in college. So I remember feeling surprised and touched when, two nights before my wedding he told us about him going pub crawling with his friends after passing his Bar exams in London!

He was very liberated in many ways. But I guess he could never quite forget his upbringing. So he was more old-fashioned in his treatment of us daughters. He treated us as helpless frail creatures, which used to irritate me then. Much later, around 10 years ago maybe, I had a big argument with him and told him that it was insulting to us, his children, to be treated as though we were incapable of looking after ourselves. Yet now, I don’t feel any resentment. I think it’s been a long time since I stopped seeing my parents as gods and started loving them as fallible human beings, which makes everything so much easier to forgive. Also, seeing them old and frail, but trying hard to be independent, made me realise how much I love them, warts and all.

My father was fairly well known in India in his heydays as a professional manager with great ideas and an undying loyalty to his country. What I admired about him was his willingness to help whomever he could, the fact that he was a consensus person, very good at getting people across the spectrum to come to an agreement, his ability to get to the crux of the matter very quickly. But the quality I most admired (and which influenced all of us siblings) was the way he treated his employees and those less fortunate than him—all equally and with respect, unfailingly polite to all.

Goodbye Achach! I’ll miss you.