Touching your feet to pay respects on Mother’s day
The unforgettable mornings of unconditional warmth…
The clock chimes 6:00 am. I open my eyes, my head rested comfortably on my soft, bouncy, pillow. I glance out of the window..The grey morning sky is turning bright as the sun peeps from behind a cloud, spreading the warmth of its golden-hued rays. It’s uplifting.
I drag myself to the dining table and slump in a chair next to dad’s. He seems lost in his newspaper, but I know he is watching me. He is keeping track of every morning minute, to make sure we – my sister and I, catch the school bus in time. We have to catch the bus at 7::15 am. In my house, missing school was beyond unacceptable. It was akin to an undefined, blasphemy. The fear of the consequences of missing loomed large!
The aroma of mom’s cooking is in the air. She”s up every single day at 5:30 am, all set to make fresh rotis, a vegetable curry and masala chai. Be it the pressures of raising five kids, sleepless nights or the juggling acts of running a home-based business, mom is up every morning to prepare fresh food for our lunch boxes. She is perfect. She is punctual ….every single day!!
Mom serves piping hot chai. The first sip of the flavourful tea is undeniably refreshing. My sister is up and joins us at the table. Mom puts her tea on the table, plants quick pecks on our cheeks and urges us to head quickly to our bathroom for a shower. Fully awake after gulping down the hot tea, we take turns to shower and slip on our school uniforms.
Mom has finished making lunch and a snack, both neatly packed in two lunchboxes. She shoves the lunchboxes in our bags in haste as we run to the little stools at the door.. Dad`s waiting to help us with our shoes. `Hurry up, we have only five minutes left,` he`says. Socks pulled up tight, shoes on, laces tied, school bags hung heavy on our shoulders, we are ready. The clock chimes 7:00 am and we know we have to rush. We dart out, running to make it to the precious destination of our life: the school bus!
I look forward to a new day at school. I was an attentive student, always listening, always answering all the questions. My teachers loved me for it. The secret behind my great attention span? My dad’s military-like discipline and mom’s obsession to keep us well-fed with nutritious food. She lived, ate, breathed, slept.. for a singular purpose of feeding us well!
Looking back, what strikes me the most is their die-hard consistency. I don’t remember a single day of mom being sick or dad lounging on the sofa to take a day off. I seriously don’t. “How did they do it?”, I often ask, especially now that I am a mom myself.
When the quiet silence of a winter morning is broken by the tantrum of my preteenager because I am running late to serve him a decent breakfast, I think of you, mom. You were simply amazing! And dad, you were outstanding.
Mom`s quiet consistency was the same as dad`s persistent disciplining in many ways, and yet so different. Mom was and even today, is, full of that ever-so-giving and in a way, spoiling, warm, unconditional love. Dad, on the other hand, evoked fear. The minute he raised his voice, we knew we were in trouble!
Their contrasting styles were the best, unplanned good cop, bad cop type of disciplining that complimented harmoniously to shape us into well-educated, responsible citizens.
As I look back at their dedication and single-minded determination, I am filled with awe and immense gratitude. Tears roll down my eyes when I think about their selfless humility.
I continue to sob as I think of those beautiful, bright mornings. I miss them. I miss the warmth and the golden hue of the morning sun, I miss the scent of the fresh morning newsprint. I miss the flavours of the masala chai. I miss the hustle to get to the school bus. But most of all, I miss the unconditional warmth of mom’s love that made those mornings truly unforgettable.
When I repeatedly seek acknowledgement for everything I do for my son, I realize — I have a long way to go. As I wipe my eyes, I touch their feet, virtually with deep reverence, in the true Indian tradition — a tradition they took pains and a lot of effort to ingrain in me.
I love you mom and miss you a lot! . I hope to be like you …. some day!!
Happy mother’s day!