My mother is now 80 years old (at least that’s what I think she is because she refuses to let on how old she really is) and for the past 58 years that she’s been a mother, she’s been on her feet. Actually my mother has been on her feet ever since she was born simply because she just can’t sit still. In fact, the only time I ever really saw my mother lying down was when she was knocked down by a car and run over. Even then, she pulled herself out from under the car and stepped on to the stretcher and onto the Operating Table. It was only when she was bandaged and plastered and rendered immobile that she lay in bed for a whole month. Even then she was quite active, combing her hair with her fractured arm every time she had a visitor, trying to put on some lipstick without a mirror and putting them at ease with her cheery account of what happened . Indeed, I often feel that my mother’s constant activity has left me permanently exhausted and allergic to working hard.
My mother was a school teacher while I was growing up but before that she was a tailor – at least that’s what I thought because she used to stitch a new dress for me every day. She also used to bake every other day – a sponge cake with chocolate icing which she topped off with simple white piped stars. I loved that basic cake which always made the house smell of vanilla essence. Apart from the cakes, she also made the yummiest lunches for us and I remember taking two tiffin boxes to school one for me and the other for my friends.
So I seriously think that my mother needs some tender loving care because that’s what she’s provided us all her life. It is not only her family who’ve received it but many of her students as well. I remember one occasion when of her students was really very fidgety during an extra tuition session at home. She realized that he needed to get out for some fresh air and a smoke and she very tactfully told him that he could go out for a bit. I was amazed at how she allowed such an unbecoming behavior when she constantly warned my brother and me against the evils of smoking and drinking. She told me that the boy in question was a repeater and was naturally tense about doing the exam for the third time. He was much older than the boys in the class and would possibly give up studying altogether if he didn’t clear this time. He needed to de-stress and this was the only way he knew how. I was quite amazed at this logic but it seemed to have worked because the boy cleared his exams and was ever grateful to my mother because she understood what he was going through.
My mother has been my best sounding board especially as an adult. Living in a joint family has its difficulties and dealing with grown up children has presented another set of issues. Talking to my mother about things helps put things in perspective and helps me de-stress. I know when I tell her something, it will remain between the two of us and I get a good listener for free! My mother has been agony aunt to her friends and relatives and even comparative strangers who somehow unburden themselves to her. But even though she is a born optimist and smiles through every difficulty, I’m sure she is not without stress! With her failing eye sight and impaired hearing, I am sure she is tense about hailing a rickshaw and zipping all over town by herself even though she does it daily with effortless ease. So I think this amazing woman who goes through life without a whimper deserves some extra pampering to make her realize that she’s someone special.