None in our family actually ever celebrated mother’s day because for us everyday was mother’s day. My sisters chatted to her almost everyday (big thanks to technology). I lived with her for almost 18.5 years minus 3 months of all my trips without her.
At very young age I didn’t like mom, because she was rude, always shouting on little mistakes I made. Her impatience level was 106.99! Well, the worst moments were the mornings when she woke me up for school. Those with Punjabi moms might get what I’m saying. No, not like those sweet Punjabi grannies/moms we see in movies but real Punjabi, impatient mom, whose anger words will always comprise of dangerous swears or ‘siyapa hi hai tuhada!’ And when we start to be in our senses in grade 11, ‘Saare kmaa daa thekaa mehi chakeya? Tusi vi sikh koi kam kaaj!’ And when we are humming to songs ‘aaho, rab naa chete krleyo kadi… saara din kanjar khaanaa lageya hi rehndaa…’ Two things will scare us to death- the deadly stare, or when they clench their teeth… Jeez!
There came a point in life where I didn’t even talk to her much, I had no answers to her questions. I felt sick, returned home with heavy feet. In 2012, I came here in Edinburgh, where my sisters sat down to talk to me. My eldest sister’s one sentence changed that bit of my life.
‘You are lucky enough to spend 365 days with her. We aren’t even sure if we’ll see her at least for a month the next year.‘ -Namita Sofat Jaiswal
They asked me to be in mom’s shoes and think from her perspective, I did and it hit me hard. A few months later I went through some experiences from which I learnt that her observations were almost always correct. Today even my friends acknowledge her sayings.
She actually looked scary to all. No, not by her looks but her sternness. She had the beauty, grace, strength and will power greater than that of a lioness. And as you know, no matter how majestic a white lioness would look to you, but it’s sternness would keep you away from even the thought of touching it. Though mom was soft at heart but had an extremely rough tongue.
She didn’t stop to shout or be impatient, yet I stopped affecting my self and started calming her down instead. It took immense self control to not to get angry. Deep breaths and controlling my thoughts so hard that I was physically there but mentally in another world, every moment biting my tongue. If I knew that I couldn’t hold up the rage, I asked her to calm down and talk later a bit more calmly. Slowly it became acceptable, I started doing things so that she wouldn’t get upset at returning home and find the house in mess(Cleaning never ended!). My change, new way of controlling her and listening to her, etc., affected her heart deeply. Where everyone said that ‘she’s 56, she can’t change but you can. She has done enough in her life, etc…etc..’. The shocking bit is that even in the bleak (equivalent to 0.009%) hopes for her to change, she did change. I’m glad that the last two and half years of her life that I spent with her, each and every day with her passed by with just one thought, ‘live the moments now, you never now when you’ll lose them and you certainly don’t want to regret to lose them later in life.‘
I became protective for her, as much as I had disliked some of her things before, I loved her ten times more for everything now. We developed a connection, our thoughts sometimes were same and we answered each other on some view points of life. We shared what we liked, our common interests like being more nature loving, etc. She made me fall for her smile, mischief and even her anger. She was stubborn sometime, hurt from loved ones she would grind on and on and my sisters and I pacified her.
Her most constant say was, ‘No matter what you do in your life, never be thankless to that ‘Daata’ for giving you life and all the comforts. Your primary thing in the morning should be a pray to thank him for this life and everything else‘
Until the end of her life she tried becoming a better person. She tried not to grind on things, not to expect much, not to gossip about random people. She didn’t stop gossip (it’s natural in all of us, and as some say, there’s practically nothing left to talk if there’s a void of gossip! ), but the level of it decreased significantly. In her last moments, her only focus was on the ‘naam’ she had chanted for half her life. In all the pain of sickness, she never left her cantillating, in unconsciousness, her mind cantillated, her lips mouthed it. Words to describe my mother will go on and on, well, she was just so incredible.
Among many other tiny yet significant lessons, I learnt from mom that no matter the age, people can change provided you give them immense love which takes a lot of patience. It’s difficult to enlarge your heart for someone. My sisters made sure entire their lives that mom had all the comforts. Every success we take in our lives, we remember the moments of her smiling face blessing us repeatedly.She might not be here with us today but the treasure of her memories keeps her alive in our hearts. She is our Daata– god…
Parents can be hell imperfect, but they are the reason for our existence today. It would sound funny to some if I end the note by saying love can conquer the most rigid hearts. So, I’ll end it this way:
‘In certain relations, no matter how imperfect someone else is, if we try to perfect our imperfections, most reasons for fights and any other situations can disappear. There are chances that the other person would try to change too.‘
Oh! And my favourite thought:
‘Your heart is free, have the courage to follow it.’ ~William Wallace
[For music lovers- Ammi by Satinder Sartaj, maa tu bataa by Tony and Neha Kakkar, Maa E nii mein kinnu aakhaan by Quratulain Balouch, Thank you Mama by Sizzle, Mamma by Irfan Makki and there are many more which you can recommend too ;)]
(Picture credits: Aneesh Jaiswal)
-Mamta K. Sofat