Update: One of my best friends thought that i have done an emotional outburst. So she took pains to edit it for me. Here goes the post
This is a very personal post, dedicated to my mom, on her birthday – March 17th. It is a lengthy read and if you like only short posts, please skip this!
And, if you loved reading this post, go tell your mom how much you love her. Don’t waste time!
I always say “Love never happens by default” – you can’t love a person because he is someway related to you. But Moms are exceptions! 🙂
May be a few people will not like their mothers but no one hates them. And for a lot, like me,“Moms are the greatest”... I love my Mom, not for what she was to me, but for the wonderful woman that she was! Her real name was Magdalene and the guy who wrote her birth certificate didn’t know the spelling – and he wrote it as Maxilina.
She was the eldest of 6 siblings. She lost her father at a very early age and she became the prime focal point and supporter of the family. She took nursing training and started earning for her family. She became friends with my dad in the hospital where they worked together in Tanjore and then fell in love, ended up marrying each other for the love that they had for each other.
My grand pa (father’s dad) never approved of this love marriage and hence my mom and dad lived an extremely tough life during the initial days of their life together. Both my dad and mom have to give away their salaries every month to each of their family. Even for every little need, they had to look for money from my grand dad. And of course there were those typical in-law issues to put up with. I was never fond of my grandma for these very same reasons. I was told that the birth of my brother in the first year of marriage just added to the existing complications. I am the second son, born after 5 years of marriage.
My mom was a wonderful woman. Very bold and determined. She was confident, very straightforward and her decisions were very meticulous and rational. She truly stood out from the crowd of women, in those days. She inspired my dad to take up his Masters in Surgery, while she went on to look after me and my brother. I was always a mom’s boy!
I never allowed her to go anywhere alone. I remember tagging along with her for church on Fridays and Sundays. She was very religious. Every time, my dad, brother or me walked out of the house, she would mutter the Holy Mary prayer. She loved Mother Mary of Vailankanni more than her life… Every year she used to go for the flag hoisting day in Vailankanni.
She was so determined that we should have to buy a house for our family and we bought it on loan. I was pampered by her more, than my brother. May be because she quit her job when I joined the school. She used to come to the school, during lunch hours, to feed me everyday. She never allowed me to eat cold, not-so-tasty food. As my friend Saravana puts it in this post, she would bring the latest cricket scores for us daily and becomes a mom to everyone around, forcing them to eat well. My whole class liked her as she cared for every one of them. She knew everyone by name.
She never said “no” to me and I have never lied to her. I used to give her a blow-by-blow account of my school days, lying in her lap, everyday! She encouraged me and my brother in every damn thing we were interested in. My interest in music, football and Table Tennis… There are so many. The reading habit came from her. She was a voracious reader and loved Lakshmi, Kalki and Sujatha (in that order). The first book she gave me was Ponniyin Selvan and that triggered my reading passion, which stands at next to crazyness now. 🙂
She loved Balachander’s movies. Initially I never allowed her to go for movies. Then she started taking me along with her for watching movies. Although I didn’t understand much of movies then, I think it’s her passion and my dad’s liking for English movies have contributed to making me the kind of a movie buff I’m these days.
I was told that she didn’t know cooking when she got married! You would not believe that if you had eaten out of her hands. Her delicacies, especially the crab masala and viral fish curry, still lingers on my taste buds.
She made sure that I will go to every tour that my school organised, because she loves travelling. Sadly, she never had the chance or time for travelling at her will. Like all mothers, she was trying to make her dreams come through me. She used to sit with me with a prayer book in hand, whenever I was afraid to sleep alone in my room. There was not a day, when she had gone to bed before I fell asleep.
As she was a nurse, she had easy access to over-the-counter medicines and she practised self-medication whenever she had a cold or fever. This habit is one of the prime reasons for her Kidney Failure. I never understood what her problem was initially. When I was in my 9th and 10th grade, I understood the seriousness of the health issue. Kidney failure is one of the worst ailments for human body and dialysis is one of the most painful treatments physically and visually. Once I saw her undergoing dialysis and I cried alone in my room after that. I never went back to that hospital room again whenever she underwent the treatment. It was emotionally very tiring.
She slowly became weak and more sick over the next few years. Sometimes she would suffer from high fever that she would not be able to bear the cold and a few moments later you would find her sweating. She was allowed to eat only 0.5 Mg of salt daily. And she would ask me, her sister or cousins to give a little more of salt, which we can’t. Sometimes I too would eat without salt. I used to feed her my food.. Those are some poignant moments of life which I won’t ever forget in my lifetime.
During the 10th grade holidays, I had to be in Tanjore, when she was taken to Chennai for a series of possible kidney transplant tests. That’s the longest time frame I stayed away from my mom, until then. When my matric results were out, I wanted to see my mom and when I saw her, I ran towards her madly to hug her and she hugged me and planted me with a kiss in the forehead. I can’t explain that happiness in words…
She refused to undergo the kidney transplantation, as it was very complicated for her. In fact, she didn’t want a third party donor. She wanted someone from the family and none suited her needs. She came back to tanjore and focussed on various pilgrim tours. She went to Bangalore to see the child Jesus church and the Ulsoor mother Mary church. She wanted to go to Chalakudy prayer centre. Her health was so critical that it was impossible for her to be without dialysis for 7 days. Yet she insisted in going. A woman of will. My dad, my newly married cousin and his wife accompanied her to the divine mediation centre in Kerala.
July 24 1998, I had a sleepless night. Nightmares! I somehow pushed myself to the chemistry tuition classes in the morning. The teacher asked “when is your mom back?”, I said ” tomorrow” with a smile. It was a Saturday. I don’t eat on Saturday mornings, a practice that was taught by my mom, owing to a ritual to mother Mary. I went to school. It was to be only for half a day, as the sports day was coming up .. I was in no mood to play and I was sitting alone when my librarian came.. He announced that my cousin has come to see me. His eyes were red. I was surprised to see my cousin there in school, who went with my mom. Suddenly it struck me that something isn’t right. “dei yeppada vantha, mummy yeppadi irukkanga” He didn’t answer that. Instead asked me to follow him to our house. The walk from the school to my house was utterly gut-wrenching. And in eerie silence.
A few people have already gathered around at home, when I reached. I guessed that it’s going to be the worst day of my life. I went into the bedroom to see my mom lying lifeless. A smile lingered on her face. The last of her expressions. I felt my knees weakening, and somehow managed to walk out of the room. I held the wall behind. Just sat there for sometime. Then I stood up, came out to see people hugging me. My Anni asked me to cry out loud. I said “I will not. She doesn’t like me crying”. I never cried the whole day. I paced up and down the backyard. My whole Class came to see her. Teachers, friends, I answered all of them without crying. Strange relatives even termed me ‘stone hearted’ because I refused to cry! They didn’t know that while they had lost just another person in family, I have lost my only mom.
I slept in the night exhausted. Woke up the next day for funeral. Still I didn’t cry. I stood like a stone. The mass happened in the church, I looked at Jesus and said “I loathe you because you took my mom away, when you had yours next to you.”
When they buried her, I started crying, only then I felt that she is going away from me forever. I felt a vacuum that cannot be filled ever. I had lost the lap in which I slept the most. She just left…
She never saw my successes. I know that she loves to see me win. She loves to hear people talk good about me. I was the Master of Ceremony (compere) during my annual school-day, in my 11th grade. When every one congratulated me for doing a good job about the whole event, I glimpsed that eternal smile on my mom’s face.
I missed her throughout my life ever since she left me. I missed her when I chose my UG. I missed her when I chose my PG. I missed her when I got my first salary as I wasn’t even lucky to buy her a saree. I missed her when I took the decision of leaving my first love. I missed her when I won my first quiz. I missed her when I did my first quiz as a quiz master. I missed her when people say I am intelligent. I missed her when I lost heart in losing quizzes. And I miss her the most now, when I want to live again. I know I will always miss her.
People said that god loved her so much and that’s why he took her to be with him. I say “Hey God, whoever you are, whether you exist or not, just know that I loved her a lot more than you loved her. That’s true and you know it too.”
“Mom, I don’t believe in life after death. Yet if you have a chance, be my daughter. I would love to love you the way you loved me. Happy Birthday Mom. I love you wherever you are. Just know that I miss you more than ever now.”