Friday, 2 August 2019

More than just a Mom


The five textbooks stacked up on my desk sat waiting. Waiting for me to find the motivation to open at least one. I would've done it after all, if mom hadn't called for lunch that very moment. And I knew better than to ignore mom's call.

Seated at the dining table, the guilt wouldn't leave me. So with each handful of rice and fish curry, I built on the study schedule to be followed in my mind. The silence over lunch went unnoticed until my mom broke it.

"So there's this meet happening at Pune next month." she says while casually munching on her food, "A lot of them from the office are going. I told them I'm out, anyway. It's not like I'd be missing out on something huge. There'd be a good deal of exhausting's better not to..."

Mom'd told me about this event earlier. Something that happened only once a year. Or was it five? I couldn't remember.

"Why aren't you going?" I ask, still distracted with the ongoing study plan in my head.
She shrugs and replies, "The dates clash with your exams."
I look up at her, "So?"
"So, I need to be here." she says like it is the most obvious thing in the world, "You'd have to take care of food and other things in between studies otherwise. It'd be too hectic. Anyway, it's not like I wanted to go..."
She sounds like she is trying to convince herself more than me. I wait patiently for her to finish.

They say that once you become a mother, you tend to forget yourself.  You tend to put your heart and soul into the lives you brought into this world, keeping your own one on hold. You tend to believe that your kids are all that matter to you from now on. Even when your kid is seventeen years old.

"I can handle it, mom." I tell her, "It's okay."
She looks unconvinced. But I feel like I saw a glimmer of hope dart across her eyes before drawing back to dubiousness.

"Really, it is!" I try to assure her. She begins to reconsider and finally nods.

It was funny how it looked like our roles had reversed. How this time, it was she who'd gotten permission to hang out with her friends. Sacrifice. Something that has always been intertwined with love. Something that every mother has felt obliged to do.

But you see, love worked both ways. As much as you wanted me to live the life I want, mom, I want you to live yours. And this is to every mother out there who puts their children before everything else, who believes their purpose is to but serve their dear family, who feels guilty to part from home to step closer to their dreams. Your life is worth much more.

A month later, I'm setting the table for lunch with dad. Mom's chattering away over the phone, describing the magnificence of the Pune center. She has flooded the WhatsApp family group with photos so we could marvel at it ourselves. My exams have been going well. The ecosystem is working fine.

Every year, we've had much praise for the mothers for being, well, mothers. This mothers' day, let's remind them to step out of their mothers' shoes and be who they want to be. Because being a mother doesn't pin your wings to the ground.


Written on Mother's Day at Literary and Debating Club, NIT Calicut

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