A letter to Maa
Our popular mom bloggers pour their hearts out to their moms in passionate letters
Letter from Lalita Iyer to her mother
I am doing something so typical of our times, which is writing an online letter to my mother. But then, like so many other things that seemed alien in the beginning, for example, the concept of ‘parenting’, I think this is also one of those. You have so much to say to your mother, that you may as well put it out there, on the World Wide Web so others can find a vocabulary for their feelings too. Although I know you believe in the philosophy of show, not tell.
First off, I salute thee. You are a true rock star. You had three children (two of who were twins), a real job, that you managed to keep for 36 years (I am guessing that was enough time for us to turn into adults), you managed to keep our big fat south-Indian family together, you had friends for life (some of whom you still speak to every day), you made every birthday memorable (you still do), you never let go of traditions and rituals and when I look back, I wonder: How did you do it?
You got Appa to be an equal partner in parenting. He was a hands-on daddy before hands-on-daddydom existed. Things just got done, whether it was cooking or time spent with the kids or planning holidays. You and Appa defined gender neutrality for us before it was even invented.
Sometimes, when I was growing up, I longed for the words “I love you”. But you made up in actions what you didn’t say in words. I remember you would always tell me, “You will only understand when you become a mother,” and I always thought there was a veneer of martyrdom behind those words.
There were times when I hugely underestimated how much you were capable of understanding me: Times when I wanted to run away to the hills and start growing coffee and starting a bookshop, times when I wanted to remain forever single, times when I changed careers before you even understood what I did.
I love you for never getting in my way and for all the PTA meetings you never came to, for you trusted me completely and allowed me to be the person I was. I love you for never praising me enough; it was the only way I could have polished myself the way you wanted me to.
Lalita Iyer is the author of “I’m Pregnant, Not Terminally Ill, You Idiot!”. She has written for the Times of India, Indian Express, National Geographic Traveller, among other eminent publications. She blogs on mommygolightly.com. You can follow her on Twitter @Lalitude and Instagram @mommygolightlee
Click on Continue Reading to read what Tanu Shree Singh writes to her mom
Letter from Tanu Shree Singh to her mother
Thank you. For all the times when I whispered in your very much asleep ear, ‘Mumma, are you sleeping?’ For all the times when I mixed up everything there was to mix in the refrigerator and upturned the containers for good measure, and for all the times I flushed the keys down, you had a valid reason to kill me. But you didn’t. Thank you.
The reason you maintained your sanity, you say, was the strong belief in Karma – whatever goes around, comes around. Mumma, you could have warned me that it comes around, hits you in your face, making you fall flat on your back, and, as you try to get up, it lays a square blow on your head. I would have been a better kid if I had known. Seriously. At least, I wouldn’t have pushed that flower petal up my nostril.
I can hear you smirk all the way here when the boys decide to pay me in my own currency. The younger one dipped the cordless phone in the toilet bowl when he was two and offered to wash it when I asked him to take it out. Yup, sounds like Karma. And the sibling fights make ours look like a minor disagreement in UN between two miniscule nations. Mine fight like nuclear superpowers. Yes I know, this is payback time for all the siestas we disrupted thanks to me being a pesky younger sibling.
You laugh when I tell you that I hid in the washroom as the 194th war of the siblings raged outside. And to baffle me further you say, ‘you were a good kid and never really fought this much’. Just when I start doubting your memory, you describe my favourite dress right down to colour tone and number of stripes. I remember giving you sleepless nights and torturous days.
Yet, when you talk about me now, I see fondness. Does that mean in a few decades time, I’ll look at the boys and forget the fight that had resulted in a broken vase, ink stains on the wall, a torn book, and three maimed toy soldiers? For now that sounds fairly unlikely. I am like a walking logbook of disasters that the two teens bring upon me nearly every day. But I choose to let Karma take its course like you did. And I kiss them good night, as they reassure me that tomorrow will be a better day since I am taking them for a movie.
One day when they are surrounded by diapers, I’ll have the last laugh. Till that day arrives you can grin looking at the mould samples I just found in the younger one’s washroom that he calls his laboratory. Then perhaps, you and I can stand together and educate them about the life cycle of nastiness. Till then, I’ll just be awed by your patience, and your capacity to love despite me returning home with a kilo of sand in my clothes everyday, always taking the opposite direction, and just being me. And I love you for introducing me to your long time companion, Karma. Yup, she bites.
Tanu Shree Singh is a parent of 2 teenaged boys who describe her as ‘awesome’ or ‘a dictator’, depending on their life circumstances. She teaches Psychology to undergrads although none of the theories have made parenthood a smooth ride for her. Her articles can be found at Huffpost, Mycity4kids, womensweb and Rivokids.
Click on Continue Reading to read what Kiran Manral writes to her mom
Letter from Kiran Manral to her mother
I have a confession to make. I’ve turned into you. The realisation dawned upon me, as most realisations do, not in a calm, let’s get this thing done with manner, but the rather unpleasant manner that sledgehammers have when they connect with cranium. Bang. And followed by splintering realisation.
It happened the other evening when the offspring, or the apple of your rather jaundiced grandmotherly eye, was raising the usual dead in his efforts to amuse himself around the house, leading to clear and present danger for the unwary occupants of the premises. “YOU STOP THAT RIGHT NOW!” I thundered, with all caps and exclamation mark of course, and added, “Or else,” for good measure, leaving it at that. Then it struck me, like a sudden squeezing of my intestines with a cold clammy hand. Your voice had become my voice. But my offspring, unlike the me of yore, has no fear of the implicit threat in the “Or else…” and looked back with barely a flicker of fear. “Or else…wot?” he asked.
This is a generation that has been raised on Superheroes who tackle alien mutants, and WWE wrestlers who decimate each other in the ring, and do not quail at threats of “Or else.” Mamma, you needed to come up with a more effective threat I could use now.
I hear you speaking from my mouth. “Eat up everything on your plate, there are children starving out there.” “If you drink water after you eat a banana your tummy will ache.” “If you sneeze, say God bless you.” “Sit straight, shoulders straight or I’m going to whack you one between the shoulder blades.” “Early to bed, early to rise…” and finally, the classic, the line you raised me on. “There’s nothing wrong with you. Go drink some water and you’ll be fine.” It worked with me. I’m making it work with the offspring.
Mom, you didn’t know how easy you had it with me, I was the proverbial angel child. I did not stay down to play till after dark because I was afraid of the Bogeyman coming to eat us up. Today’s kids will laugh the Bogeyman into an ignominious retirement. I also gave you grief to attend school regularly and would not study as much as I should. Suffice to say, Karma is biting back, and she has bleddy sharp teeth.
But, verily, I would be thankful if I was half the mom you were to me, to my son. I can only hope I bring him up half as well as you brought me up.
Kiran Manral was a journalist before she quit to be full time mommy. Her blogs were both in India’s top blogs and she was a Tehelka blogger columnist on gender issues.
She has authored The Reluctant Detective and Once Upon A Crush and the third book is due to be released in August.
The Mother of all Sorry Letters! From Ruchita Dar Shah to her mother
Remember all those sorry cards I made for you when I was 5, 6 , 7 , 8 or 9 years old…yes, yes, basically as soon as I could draw a stick figure and scrawl ‘ Momie I am sorree, I love you’. Until I had caused you teenage anguish I have been writing sorry notes to you. Yes, each year the language got a little better and the note got more expressive.
And now that I think about it, with so many sorry cards, it’s not rocket science to deduce that I must have been a very naughty kid. Though let’s be honest it wasn’t just the sorry but I also made many beautiful birthday and, of course, Mother’s Day cards. Also let me confess that while I was very sorry for whatever I had done, I also loved making those cards, as it was great practice for my budding artistic interest! But what completely tickled me was the fact that you lovingly kept all my handmade cards safely tucked between the folds of your silk sarees. Those lovely silk sarees that always carried a faint fragrance of L’air Du Temps, your favourite perfume. Even today if I catch a whiff of it in a store I get a fleeting feeling of your presence around me.
Unfortunately though both the brats have inherited my impish spirit, they haven’t inherited the art of making any cards. I don’t have the pleasure of saving any handmade cards, with incorrect English but the right emotion. At best, I can hope for some whatsapp sorry/I love you messages with the appropriate emoticons! While lovely silk sarees are missing, I have enough should-have-discarded-but-one-day-I-will-fit-sized clothes in my wardrobe to keep them safe, if they ever came to me in paper form.
So while I wait until the cows come home for my sons to create cards, I try to remember when was the last time I made a sorry, birthday or mother’s day card for you? I try hard but can’t remember for the life of me and it saddens me.
Just because I have become a mother now it’s not like I have stopped being your daughter and I am pretty sure my wrongdoings as a kid were far meeker than some adult frays we have had. And given that I am a strong-headed daughter of a strong-headed mom, we have had our fair share.
So today on Mother’s Day I write this letter to say sorry for all the cards that I didn’t make since I became a mom myself. It’s a sorry for all those days I forgot being your daughter in the pursuit of being a mother myself. I am not too sure if I will ever get any handmade sorry card from my sons but I’m very sure that even today this letter will find its way between your sarees.
Ruchita Dar Shah, the founder of First Moms Club, is a graphic designer by training and before her 2 wonderful boys came along, she used to work in the advertising industry. A very happy mom, she is far from the ‘perfect’ stereotype given her hatred for cooking and (horrors) no knowledge of baking either.
Compiled by Harshikaa Udasi
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