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The Politics of Motherhood

13 May 2012 06:30 pm - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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By Anamika
Yes, the original intention of this column was to be vaguely political, resist authority and create a safe space for expression. Until I remembered that it was Mothers Day yesterday. So for today, I will not talk of what I set out to talk about – the raising of flags and the larger issues of nationalism but talk of love, understanding and personal realities. I guess this is the time to draw attention to the sleep-deprived mothers whose newborns have day-night reversal.
The mothers who have no time but the present and turn off their own cell phones for one minute, and then check all the messages that came from the children during that minute. The mothers who try their best to finish paying the credit card bills to cover the expenses of their daughters and sons, also mothers, who devote all their time and energy to looking after their children and give it their all. For most of my childhood, my mother appeared to be a typical suburban housewife of her generation, although I knew she was anything but typical.

She sewed my clothes, was my 24 hour chauffeur, tried to coach me in tennis, and as clichéd as this phrase maybe, taught me to become the person I am today. She left one indelible mark on me - never settle for the cards you’re dealt. Curiously enough, my family has never been one for celebrating anything; be it birthdays, anniversaries, Mother's Day or Father's Day. A cursory happy birthday and a carefully chosen gift would suffice for a birthday and anniversaries were largely dismissed. We were not for large parties with scores of friends and extended family coming together. Rather, we seemed to shun the very thought of it. Given this whole tradition of disregarding any important events as such, Mother’s Day was also relegated into the realm of days not worth celebrating. It was just another day.

The fact that my mother’s birthday was most often a week preceding this ‘important’ commercialized day, was just a mere co-incidence. But this year, a change is necessary. This year, amidst all the upheaval we have faced as a family, I want to say thank you. I want to wish her a Happy Mother's Day, a day later, and a belated Happy Birthday for last week. I want to say that she is all that I want to be, and more. Also maybe this year I should also grant my mother the gift of hitherto unmentioned facts in print. Which are that she still does all of my washing, most of my ironing, solves my problems, vanquishes my demons, and puts up my shelves when I am at home. If I didn’t have her, I’d exist in an interesting state of a perilously poised emotional wreck. Therefore, saying thank you takes precedence over the larger state of affairs in this country I call home. And this “thank you” is as political as I can ever get.
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