Tujhe sab hai pata - Meri Ma!!!!

A Rabindra Sangeet by Asha Bhosle on the greatness of motherhood

“ Ar ami je kichu jahi ne,

Janani bole shudhu dakibo,

Tumi na rakhile ghriho ar payibo kotha,

Kende kende kotha berabo”

Few lines of the greatest creator ever Rabindranath Tagore on the enormity and divinity of motherhood! It means “I don’t want anything else; just I will call you mother, if you don’t keep me with you, where will I find home, where will I roam about crying.” The entire song is included at the beginning of my narrative, but it is in Bengali, so my non Bengali friends might not be able to enjoy completely. But believe me; the tune will touch your soul.

Me and Ma on my wedding day

Mother, the divine creation of God, a representative of him near us! When a baby first learns to speak she/he says “MA” meaning mother. So the word “MA” is more than it appears, it is the connection between the divine power and humanity. It is a mixture of such tones that the texture of it is such that, it is the first word an infant can utter. Such is its greatness. I am not a mother yet, but I have the best mother in the world. And every child thinks so. Sometimes when I think of her greatness I feel so meagre, so selfish, so small in front of her complete selflessness. Since I gained senses I have never seen her think about her comforts. Her only aim was to keep the three us (we are three sisters and I am the youngest) happy, healthy and content.

I have no idea, how can anybody be so self giving, and I guess that is why she is mother. I only hope when I have a little one to call me MA, I can be a bit of my MA.

As a kid, contrary to my sisters who were closer to Baba, I was my mom’s shadow. They would call me “koler bachcha” meaning “baby in the lap”. And I was so. For every little thing I wanted her to be with me. Slowly time passed and I became more independent and self reliant. But I never distanced out, the umbilical connection reigned supreme in my existence. I believe she played a friend, a guide, a teacher and a lot more like every mother does. She is really an expert; can you believe, being from a Bengali Medium background, how much effort she must have put to teach me English? Immense is the word! I was adamant not to have tuition teachers, I feared their rebuke. As I entered into adolescence sensations unknown to me tickled my belly, again it was she who came to hand hold, my best buddy, my mom. I was not quite able to distinguish between righteousness and distractions, my expert explained all. Being a mother to a daughter entering into adolescence, is a challenge I guess. But she was quite a child psychologist I must admit, always understanding and seeing my newer signs with compassion. This is very important in the process of growing up, befriending kids before they are too distanced out. In a famous Bengali short story by Rabindranath Tagore, named “Chuti” (meaning freedom), he describes the importance of mother in an adolescent boy’s life. How he when taken to urban life by his uncle for studies, suffers when exposed to a completely different environment compared to his simple village life. The author describes with great lucidity how at a certain age a child is understood only by his mother. When he is too old for lullabies and too young for taking a stand, he suffers from identity crisis and how only motherly touch can keep him going. In the story ultimately the boy, gains freedom through death.

MA allured by nature in Matheran

But as I grew further, I understood that I was also the means for her to confide. With teenage came crushes, attractions and I discussed all with her. My expert always explained how normal these feelings are. In the darkness of the night both mother and daughter would share their concerns, likings and dreams and sometimes shed a tear or two. But reality struck us when my father passed away. My sisters were married then and it was my mother and me to take care of the household. I had started my engineering and it was a long way to go. And it was at that time, when my expert proved her expertise the most. A woman who was completely unaware of the world outside the four walls of her house, suddenly became self reliant. She knew she had to make me independent. From managing funds to household chores, she was the Dasabhuja (Goddess Durga with Ten hands) I worshipped. I completed my studies and that too with flying colours. Although Baba will be missed forever, because we all are a bit of him, but Ma did all she could to keep us unaffected of the loss. And then I left home, leaving her alone for a job and till today I am away from home. I got married to the most compassionate heart I can think of and today my mom spends few months with us in our Mumbai residence every year, though she is settled in Kolkata.

I don’t know if am a good daughter or not, but I bet I want to and I try to. She was, is and will be the first and only expert in my life, a woman of true substance and intellect. Though we stay away from each other, but the umbilical connection is as strong as it was and I am still her baby in the lap.

We decided to pamper our mothers a bit so took them to Gangtok.

“As I grew up with you at my side,

I thought life was a joy ride.

But as candle got added to my birthday cake,

It was time for me to be awake.

You taught me to be independent and take the rough waves bravely,

But in lonely nights, I will always miss your touch in melancholy.

When my head aches, with tensions and fear,

I miss your lullabies, they are so dear.

Phone call and Skype has made it easy to connect,

But that is not enough to breach the cleft.

Yet I feel you, day and night,

Even when I think, that survival is a fight.

What ever happens in the time to come,

I am your daughter and you are my expert mum.”

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