The lady who is still a child at heart with grays on hair. Sshhh don’t ask her about the grays okay? She was brought up like an apple inside a fridge with her brother pampering with goodies from every town visit, mother not letting her to do any housework in spite of fellow village girls slogging to meet their mom’s orders, father letting her to handle finances, younger siblings running around her obeying all her orders. She lived a life no less than a princess yet swiftly emerged out of that dreamy life to face the reality after marriage when she had to start a life all by herself at a new city. Thank you amma for it is your gene that has led me to manage work/home/kids without biting my head off in this foreign land with zilch help.
She got married at the tender age of 15 imagining marriage as child’s play, gave birth to her first child at 17 after struggling for three days and nights and groomed herself as a woman learning life along with her offspring in tow. You name a class, she would be there learning cooking, baking, knitting, stitching. Hailing from a bigger family she funnily recollects the early married days when she cooked in biggest kadai for just two. She is now the well wisher for my maternal uncles and aunts. They call him “akka” (big sister) inspite of her being their father’s sister. The maternal clan from my generation, for that matter all of them call her “mummy” even after starting their own family. Such is the way she treats family. Thank you amma for its your love for family that led me sail through difficult times and guide my family with love and affection as the primary focus.
Once a friend, she will always be a friend with you. “Aunty” is very popular in my friend’s circle for her hospitality, food and companionship. No one will put the phone down without asking about aunty. She owns big big vessels just to cook away for friends and family get togethers with love as the secret ingredient. She still maintains contact with those mami’s and mama’s whom she befriended some 40 years back. She makes at least a dozen sweets and savouries for Diwali. The preparations will start ten days in advance, the stove will be brought down and the house will be filled with smell of ghee. She has come a long long way in cooking as she recollects from learning to boil water to making the sumptuous wheat halwa and mysore pas. Thank you amma for its your determination that had led me to learn cooking and enjoy baking with my daughter.
She had hosted distant relatives from our native village during their exile to chennai for a better life. Its quite common to have an impromptu visitor to our home at odd hours. She befriends domestic help akka, pal-kara-amma, kerai- kara-amma, meen-kara-amma, pazha-kara-amma, paper-podara-anna, poo-kara-amma. Come to my home mid morning or afternoon you can see one of this amma or akka taking rest at our porch after selling on the streets screaming their lungs out. Its our home where they stop by for a lota of water and some days even for their lunch. The meen-kara-amma (fisher woman) even cleans the fish for her when she returns after sale to rest for a while. She gives them company as they rest talking nineteenth to the dozen. No, we neither lived in a bungalow nor had surplus financial status but she had never hesitated to host people in that small two bedroom rented house. Thank you amma for it is your love and warmth for people that was instilled deep down in my heart that led me to build nice people around me.
She had taught us to always address relatives with the relationship names like atthai, mama, chithappa, chithi, periappa,periamma. We call most of our relatives only by relationship. The generic uncle and aunty was rarely used. Whoever comes home, we should at least greet them with a “hello, how are you?” Locking inside the room had never been a choice. Thank you amma for its your actions that had taught me the act of socializing and the importance of relationship.
She suffers from severe OCD when it comes to cleaning. I have seen her with inch tape on her shoulder to measure the distance between wall and sofa while cleaning. Her home will always be spick and span, even the distance between the toys at living room showcase will be measured to micro inches. She dresses up so elegant while stepping out that people ask “where do you work?” instead of “do you work?”. It is a delight to watch her in those pressed cotton sarees with neat pleats and matching blouse. She never compromises on dressing up especially on the matching blouse. She followed the same rule for us too. She would travel to the other end of city to just buy one shirt for my bro. She wouldn’t hesitate to empty the purse if I liked the salwar, ofcourse after saving the coins for return train ticket. At the same time she taught us the value of money. I am still wondering on how she pampered her kids to the core and at the same time instilled good values in them. As kids, we were never exposed to financial issues of the family. She would make everything affordable for us yet make us realize the value behind it. Thank you amma for all the bold decisions that you have taken for our betterment and its the way you handled us that I am reflecting on my parenting skills today.
She had never shown any difference in the way my brother and I was brought up. I have only heard about gender inequality but never experienced it in my family. When asked whom do you love the most she would say “both my kids are my two eyes” and laugh away when I counter her as ‘Am I the cataracted eye?” She soon got the other eye cataracted too and I was left with no option to pull her leg. Instead of restricting, she gave me full freedom and enabled me to understand how to use that freedom in the right way. Is that your way of teaching amma? Thank you amma for its your support and encouragement that made me who I am today and enabled me to lead my life with confidence.
To sum it up I realize that I am turning to be you in your early thirties amma. In every action of mine as a mother I see you. Most incidents appear like a replay with just change of roles where I play as you and my daughter plays as me. Many times we think alike and speak each other’s mind much to the other one’s surprise.
Thank you amma for teaching us by living and not by preaching or enforcing.
Thank you amma for instilling the thoughts in us to transform and rise up according to the situation rather than training us with dry runs. I am trying my best to focus on correcting Adi’s thoughts than correcting her actions as a better thought process will eventually lead to better action.
Thank you amma for making me realize that it most matters as how a kid evolves as an individual while starting its own life. My life is a living example. I am a lazy bum in your presence where as I roll up my sleeve when the responsibility is on me. Preparing for tomorrow needs as much attention as correcting today’s action.
Thank you amma for believing in your kids and trusting them one hundred and one percent.
Thank you amma for making us realize the importance of education. I can’t forget those trips you made to your friend’s place to get loan to pay our education fees and those late nights when you sit along with us reading magazines as we prepare for our board exams.
Thank you amma for being there for me and our family. Just your presence does wonders to us.
Thank you amma for taking in all that crap I through on you yet lift me up when I break down.
Thank you amma for listening to me and never judging me.
Thank you amma for even justifying our anger towards you.
Thank you amma for never letting us down in front of others.
Thank you amma for being selfless and giving me wonderful childhood that turned into beautiful memories to cherish.
Thank you amma for looking at life through my eyes and being active part of my month long preparations for every birthday.
You are the only one to whom I speak from my heart with no filters.
Like I told Adi the other day, there is no “bad mommy” in this world. She asked “How about a witch?”, I said, even a witch will be good to her own kid. No mommy can be bad. Period
And as I read somewhere “God created amma’s to help him out as he cannot tend to all his creations at the same time”.
Happy mother’s day to my bestest amma and all the amma’s out there!!!!!
Cross posted at IMC. Do checkout their site. They are celebrating motherhood at a different level.