I still remember the way she used to call out my name. Her voice ringing with exasperation at my repeated refusal to have breakfast in the morning. I just had to have something sweet in the morning, or for all other meals at that? but the ritual drinking of milk in the morning was something on which me and my mother never agreed upon.
Thus used to start my day, and hers, with a pitched battle being fought over the dining table. With threats emanating from the kitchen till I downed that disgusting tumbler of milk. I was not a kid then, I was Sixteen, old enough to carry my own ego around on a pedestal.
And there were times when I made her cry, well almost. I knew I had crossed a boundary beyond which a son hurts a mother?s sensibilities, when her threats fell silent, and things became unbearably silent at meal times. All I can do is to smile wryly when I think of those days now. What an ass I had been.
Sixteen, the age when you are a man enough to take a girl out, but not a man enough to hold her hand in front of her father. I was just getting to know my mother, as a person. How I used to envy my elder brother who used to have long conversations with her, sitting next to her, while I was still treated the like kid in the family, which I was.
At sixteen, I think my mother started treating me like an adult for the first time in my life. She spoke with me of things which only a mother can say and get away without making you realize that she actually knows what you have been up to while she wasn’t around.
She used to teach me Hindi and Sanskrit, in preparation for my class 10th board exams. She had been a University topper in Sanskrit, and she left it all to go and marry the man she loved, against the wishes of most of her family. I won a medal for the highest score in Sanskrit at my school? I lost that medal, don?t know where it lies amongst the debris I have strewn across my various dwellings in India, but I do remember the special meal she cooked to celebrate the medal.
She was a beautiful woman, and the first thing you notice in all her pictures is her smile. At times, I think back and try and capture what would have been the lasting image of my mother for me, but I have always failed. There is now way I could confine her to a single lasting impression.
She died when I was sixteen, suddenly and without explanations, and 12 years hence, I am still unable to comprehend what life could have been like had she still been around.
Her death rocked our family to the core, and things took more than a decade to stabilize. But I still find myself thinking of her when I do something good, or when someone says something nice to me.
She died convinced that her youngest son will become a doctor, while I went on to do something entirely different. It?s a strange feeling to be cheated out of a chance to love someone back , to be able to hold someone in your arms and tell them exactly how much they mean to you? and to know that when dad took her to the hospital that night, her tired face was to be my last glimpse of her. I felt very very alone then, standing alone in the lawn of our house, with our family dog running circles around me. Next day, she died in the morning, a day before Valentine?s Day, and I was deprived of even a last chance to say goodbye to her.
Guess, its never too late to write down something I should have sometime ago.
Comments from the past:
9 Mar 2007, 4:18pm
Very sorry about your loss. How awful it must have been, and still must be. Some situations make one feel so helpless, there is nothing except acceptance that can follow.
13 Mar 2007, 9:14pm
A sigh, a smile and a hug from my side..:) Needless to say, u have done her proud.Look at what u have established for yourself dear. God Bless U
14 Mar 2007, 8:05pm
This is the first time I visited your blog…..Very touching. I liked the way you wrote and the way you expressed your thoughts….. Iam really moved!
15 Mar 2007, 8:09am
Hey. Keep writing.
19 Jul 2007, 1:24pm
Very touching.. Men dont cry.. but u made one shed a tear right now!
26 Jan 2008, 2:13am
Sorry about your loss. Very touching blog entry.
God bless you and your family