To Ma, With Love


Dear Ma,

It has taken me a while to get here. It is a strange place though I've spent some time here now. Here, you make mistakes, you don't know a few things, you express fear, you have views that I consider wrong, you even have views that you earlier considered wrong. It's almost as if you are… a person.

I thought you were perfect. Always knowing the answers, always knowing whatever skill was needed for home. Perhaps, it began when you admitted your limitations, this dismantling of the picture of a Goddess I had built. Then came the insecurities, followed soon by illness, loss and your vulnerability in the wake of each.

I found out that the woman who taught me public speaking- from language to intonation to stance, gets jittery on stage. I realised that plain inertia makes it difficult for her to continue the education she paused for her children. I saw her wanting something other than to nurture a life, my life. I discovered that, inadvertently, I contributed to this life where she could not gain the skills she wanted, at least not easily.

It has taken me a while to get here- to go from idolizing you to rationalising the challenges you had to face because of your motherhood to finally realising you are just a human making the best of what she has, a human I aspire to be.

Perhaps your brutal objectivity regarding yourself and others is why I got here in the first place. This disorienting realm where I regard you as a person. But this honesty, this vulnerability and the sincerity with which you seize the opportunities that come your way- this is probably why I have fallen in love with you all over again.

I still remember your initial indignance at being asked to resume your studies after I started college. There was this fear of being unable to cope after decades of not studying. And it seemed weird at first. A woman scoffing at a chance to resume her studies. But then I figured I couldn't find the motivation or concentration to resume my studies after summer vacations so you definitely had a point. This time around, I got to be the person cheering you on(as opposed to the child literally turning your face towards herself to get your attention). And you slowly did gain momentum, like a hardworking person with a supportive family does. You cleared your NET, you (f)aced job interviews and are working on your PhD… you are a reminder that we don't always need miracles. Sometimes, rewards in proportion to effort are good enough.

I have always loved you as Ma but that is beyond reason. It is instinctive and perhaps a love that I can never define.  Now, though, I admire you, Ms. Meena Sinha. I consider myself honoured to be part of your story.

Love
A very, very proud daughter

P.S.- That interview where you were asked what you did all these years? And you told them of the teaching? And then followed it up with “I gave two good citizens to the country”? It made me beam with pride. Always will. Also, the sass and your own glee at saying it was pure joy to hear ❤️. You're awesome.

#tomawithlove #letterstoma #shivangishankar #ma #mothersday   

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