Amma

We all want to thank our mothers for whatever she did for us. But we lack the will to do it. The following story is my way to thank my mother for whatever she did for me.
Cleaning the old store room of my house, I stumbled upon a box. It was the same box that had been an enigma for me since my childhood. The box belonged to my mother who never let anyone touch the box. Whenever I would ask what’s in the box, she would say “everything” and keep the box away. I sat down just staring at the old box that had lost its charm  because it no longer belonged to my mother. Even the box could not bear the separation from its lover, dilapidated, unkempt, unheard, unloved.  I heard a voice, it was similar, it was a voice that made me walk, made me talk, made me find my way in the dark. The voice was that of my mother, but she was far, away from the place, not near me, not visible. I could not open the box. I felt a tingling in my heart, some old records started playing, memories began unfurling, my ears vibrated telling me “don’t open the box”. I sat down on the floor, holding the box in my hands. Sometimes it is the small things that make  you realise that it is the small things that matter, bigger things come into picture when small combine. My mother always says that we are defined by what we do, how we behave with the not so fortunate, how we care for those we love, love is not something that exists between a couple, it is the need that makes you worry about the other person, ask for their health, do a chore for them, massage the tiring work away, call them, talk with them and most importantly listen to them. I started remembering the days when the only thing that mattered was the food that my mother made. How she would carefully dress every bite, wrap it in her filling that comprised every ingredient she could think of- care, affection, belongingness, sprinkle it with her foresightedness, open her mouth so that I could eat it and satisfy her hunger by the eyes that saw the bite entering my mouth, my teeth biting it and it going straight down my throat to my stomach. My father always commented on how she would open her mouth wide, wide enough to let someone peek inside her, to see what she felt, to hear what she never said. Everyday when I came back from the school she would be in the kitchen, preparing delicious meals for me and my brother. The aroma of the food would entice us the moment we would enter the realms where she reigned, the place we called home, where all of us would live, talk, fight, love, stay together. We would bang on the door and she would come sprinting and open the door for us. Dripping in the water that had condensed on her due to the excessive humidity of the abode of spices, she would take our bags and water bottles from us and in a voice that was exerted due to the exhilaration of the moment ask- “how was the day?” and there were we blabbering every thing that happened in the school- the new kid in the bus, the pencil that was lost, the sharpener that broke, the tiffin which the entire class ate, the teacher that spoke in a funny voice, the bird that sat on the desk, the cyclist that fell down. She would listen to our every nonsense and reply with a smile while helping us change. After we were finished talking she would ask- “what happened to your shirt?” and we would go numb, turn our face away from her, look down at our shoes and would say- “Amma what’s for lunch?”. Amma- that is what we used to call her. It was like she knew what happened with shirt, the way the world revolves, how people function, she would not scold us but in a calm voice would say- “you don’t need to fight with every person who starts to fight with you. Intelligent people ignore.” Her words had no relevance for us back then. We would hear it from one ear and let it pass through the other ear. But now I realise- her words were like the water that we give to a sapling, the water that gives it the strength to grow, to fight it’s way upto the top, to stand on its feet, that shapes it. After feeding us till she felt full, she used to escort us to our beds, make us lie down. I remember how when we were sleeping she would occasionally come to check on us. She would move her hands over my head. Her touch was special. It was not soft. Her hands scratched my head, left some marks on it. The delicious meals had carved their spaces on her fingers, her fingerprints disappeared in the tools that helped her prepare ecstacy, her body smell overshadowed by the fragrance of the divine flavours. Her hand was very special, she bore the brunts for the entire family, never complained, always smiled, never exhausted, always full of energy. I never saw her resting. In times when she was sick, we had to make her lie down. Love is not what we show, love is not what we feel, love is melting yourself to make someone better, adding yourself to them so that they grow by leaps and bounds. She always tried to mix with us, match with us in our so called technical know-how but we always ignored her. She never said a word, never changed her love for us, always stood by us. During the exams she would ask -” how are studies, do you need anything” and I don’t know which power she got, she could comprehend the exact same thing what I wanted. She could read faces, hear what I thought, feel the pain of my broken heart. There were times when I got sick. Amma would go anxious, she wanted me running, screaming, shouting. I could see her fighting my sickness with the will that was stronger than the strongest celestial force in the world, searching for the root, devising ways to kill the thing that had kept her little packet of joy on the bed. She would be excited when I was participating in something. Her face reflected how proud she felt when she saw me on stage, her hard work was successful, her kid a star in her eyes. She would clap like crazy and will look at me to make me comfortable on the atrium that was frightening me. Words are always not necessary , eyes speak what words may lack. Whenever I scored well, she would declare to everyone that her kid is the brightest. It was almost a dream come true for her. Amma is a religious person. She loves chatting with the one who lives in some place unknown, but is visible in everyone. Keeping fasts for everything was her way of ensuring that everything went in the same exact order. Anything new that was brought had to undergo a ritual of induction in the family. It was auspicious she said, it makes things last longer. Beliefs are something very dicey. You believe that Earth is round, but at the same time you believe  that the world is flat. Beliefs can drive people to do things impossible or can turn them incapable of doing the possible. Whatever happened she was the one who never broke, never let anything disturb her inner peace or never wanted to show her weaker side. She guided each one of us in the times of distress. Never made us lose hope. While remembering this I realised that i still had the box in my hand. I opened it. The contents of the box took away all the inhibitions I had. After a long time I was crying, crying like a baby, who cannot be consoled. My eyes rolled down tears that were mixed with emotions of respect and love for my mother. I wanted to hug her, wanted to kiss her. But she was not there. The box fell from my hands and everything was scattered on the floor. Everything she had said. Everything for her was everything that we ever did for her. All the birthday cards that we made for her, all the medals we won, all the pictures that were lost. There was stillness in the room, I was crying my heart out. Appearances are deceptive. They cover your inner feelings. After seeing what was everything, I couldn’t resist but ponder what was I doing. I was staying away from the only thing that brought me in this world. I immediately took my car out and started driving in the direction where Amma lived.
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