Friday, November 14, 2014

Happy Birthday Mummy

"Nanhi Pari, sone chali, ghata dheere aana"....this was the song my mama sang for my newly-born daughter. Her melodious voice has not altered although years and sorrows have worn her down. I still remember my mom singing songs of Lata and Asha while me and my brother sat there listening to her. It all seems as if it was yesterday. The mesmerizing 'thandi hawaein, lahra ke aayein', the haunting 'aaega aane wala', the soothing and sad 'tum itna jo muskura rahe ho', and hundreds of other songs and ghazals were beautiful and melodious to me because my mom used to sing them. Even now I can hear her singing. Maybe it is true that sound never dies. It is her birthday today and after much thinking and searching, I finally gave up the idea of sending any gift. I cannot find anything special for her. I used to send flowers but she says that flowers look good in the garden. Why pluck them? True. What she wants is me and since I cannot go to her, my words can reach her. I can tell her how much she means to me by writing what I feel for her. 

What does mom mean to me? The first thing that comes to my mind is care. When I am sick, I dread calling her because the moment I say 'Hello', she will make out that I have cold or cough. And before I can say anything else, she will say, 'dawai khai kya, halwa bana le apne liye, door baithi hai, yahan hoti to tere liye kuch bana deti.....bachche bhi akele sambhaalti hai......' and so on. I keep smiling while she is saying this and then the question ' pata nahi kab wapas aaegi'. And I think, how I wish that moment was here now - that moment when I could hug mama and sit next to her. The moment when she would tell me endless stories about her past, about the present, and advises for my future.

Mom is love, mom is care, mom is fear too....fear that nothing bad should happen to her children. Mom is wait.....wait for her children who have flown away from her nest, leaving it empty and who she hopes will come back to her. Mom is faith.....she always tries to persuade me that I should say my prayers,that I should believe in God. She knows that after the loss of my father and my brother, my relationship with God has been hostile. But what to I tell her. How do I pray to God. She is my God. She is my strength. If God made her suffer so much, how can I pray to Him. What do I ask from Him? If He is there somewhere and if He can listen, then I will ask for a smile on her face, and music on her lips. I will ask for a basket full of love and happiness for her. 

Mom is good guidance. She is like a lighthouse that will not let you go astray in the dark. She shines from far beckoning you, helping you find your way out of the dark and stormy seas. 

Mom is good food, although my mom has never been a foodie herself, nor is she fond of spending time in the kitchen. She would rather sit and read a good book or watch a good show. Still there are things that only she can make....foods of my childhood , the tastes of which still linger in my mouth and in my memory. Her sweet dalia (mama is going to frown when she reads this....and i am smiling....), her aloo-puri (my staple food I used to take to friends would always guess it.....tu to aloo-puri lai hogi lunch main, they would often say...), her tamatar ki chutney topped on the wonderful namkeen mathis she used to make, her kheer, her matar ke mouth is watering matter how well I try, I cannot make them the way mama does. I am a decent cook myself but their are things that only mama knows. I wonder what her secret is. But mummy ke haath ka khana is ....well....only mummy ke haath ka khana
Mom is wisdom - wisdom that comes from life as it is lived. I remember mama sharing her stories with me and with my friends, telling us what mistakes she did and how we can learn from them. She has so many stories to tell. Stories about her and stories not about her....but stories which tell us that life needs to be lived to its fullest, that one should be prepared for the rainy days and that one should smile whenever he can. She tells me about a life we might have had earlier and a life we may have after this life. I do not know what to say to her about that but all I know is that this is the life we have and in this life she is my mom, my eternal sunshine. My days start when I hear her voice. My days end thinking about her. With pride I show my friends pictures of her childhood and college days. I admire the strong little woman she is and my heart flutters with joy when she laughs. My papa and mama studied in the same college and although they didn't know each other, I like to think that my papa must have had a crush on mama when he heard her sing in the youth festivals. Mama always says no but I like to think it that way. My mama with then famous sadhna-cut hair-style must have won papa's heart. 

Finally, what I am today I owe to her. The way I write, I owe to her because she is my first teacher, my first reader, my first critic. And it need not be said but I still say it that I love you mama. Wish you a very happy birthday and I hope and pray that we are together soon so that we can celebrate our birthdays together. 

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