Tuesday, October 11, 2011

An Ode to Mother Dearest

I have seen him, his brothers and sisters do that. I have seen that when I was little and was trifle amused by what I then thought was a kind of acrobatics. Bending and touching at her feet or falling prostrate at her feet whenever they ventured out on a long journey or before engaging in any labour of importance. He, (my father) had asked me and my sister too, to touch her feet (in reverence) before we returned from the summer and mid- term vacations at her place. Which was then a serene, sprawling country side by the sea  with copious  paddy fields  that go beyond the horizon straddling back water canals  and  meandering rivulets on one   side of the  hamlet  , lush green all over with coconut  and areca- nut palms , majestic mango  and jack fruit trees  standing on the fringes of beautiful fresh water ponds - bearing fruits seldom found even in paradise.

I did not literally imbibe the gesture of obeisance I saw him bear with humility towards his mother. But I have not let a day by , since I have  begun using my faculties of thought  as an adolescent  where I have not  gotten off the bed in the morning and began  another day without remembering her, my mother, where ever  she was- in the same house or elsewhere. Day begins with thought of respect, gratitude and remorse for my many delinquencies as a teenager that have pained her much.

Sometimes I trust that the karmic philosophy is just not a theory but a fact of life. Because perhaps what ails one’s life may be the just requital of what one does to one’s parent – mother in particular. Metaphorical though, makes sound sense to pursue as a matter of good living.

She has been the most cultivated and Spartan of women. Her pictures from the old tell much about her pretty countenance and demeanour, the gracefulness of beauty. This, my sister has not been fortunate to genetically acquire. She was called “mayil peeli chechi” (sister with peacock plumes). Such was the amazing lush, long black hair she had. I remember my elder cousins (father’s nieces) reminisce that they were in awe of her the day she came home to my paternal mother’s as the bride just married. They have told me that they wanted to befriend her as quickly as they could, to touch her. My father’s sisters never had a word of remote resent for her, only admiration and respect ,so were all her relatives in law.

No one had ever spoke ill of her and never have she spoken ill of any. Even the difficulties she encountered in marital life, did not make her succumb to speak ill about my father or reveal even a wee bit about her melancholy.  It was not that he was unkind to her .This happened while I was little, may be eight or nine years old. The conversation took place between my maternal grandfather and my mother. Or was it a monologue from him? He was a domineering person as men were more autocratic those days. He did not meet eye to eye with my father and they had mutual dislike. It was some matter that troubled my mother and I saw her weep. She was being admonished by her father (my grandfather) for putting up with my father. He wanted her to separate from him and proclaimed that he had the obligation and the resources to take care of her and her two children. She was not angry with her father for what he wanted her to dare. He in fact understood that of all his six children, it was she who would be with him and not for his wealth. And she was a portrait of decorum even in the most distressful times of her life. We in jest say she is the eponym for tolerance. But she has never forsaken self respect.

She was quite a terror to me sometimes. I now guess that it was more out of her frustrations that she was annoyed with me than my provoking her anger.

The respect that came forth for her from all because of her demenour was conspicuously apparent to me when elder members of the acquaintances, friends and relatives we have one after the other  reminded me of not to hurt her by word or deed. This was when they were told that I was to marry a girl from a catholic Christian background. There was this friend and school mate of her who did not mince words in reprimanding me and reminding me about my decision and that in no way must hurt her.  And it has not , I’m fortunate!

Genteel as genteel can be,!


NRIGirl said...

Beautiful words about a beautiful Mom - inside and out!

It is like I can almost picture her in my mind through your words ...

Arun Meethale Chirakkal said...

Lovely post, As NRIGirl said, one can see your mom through your words. "Because perhaps what ails one’s life may be the just requital of what one does to one’s parent – mother in particular." Just the other day I was wondering whether life had a pattern and I'm quite surprised to see that you've expressed something similar :)

Bikramjit said...

beautiful post Sir, loved reading it Mothers :)

Mavaan thandiyaan Chavaan
Chavaan kaun kare
Mavaan de harjaane loko kaun bhare
Mavaan thandiyaan chavaan
Chavaan Kaun kare.

Put kaput bane par maa rehendi Ma banke
Sukhan Sukhdi khairaan mangdi fer fer ke Manke
Put mere ton Tattiyaan vavaan Rehan pare ..

Mavaan thandiyana chavaan .. chavaan kaun kare


Mélange said...

Touching Anil.

anilkurup said...

@ NRIGirl,

Good to know that you could identify with my thought.

@ Arun Meethalle Chirakkal,

Thank you .The statement was more metaphor you know.

@ Bikramjit,

Thank you and for the verses you quoted.

@ Melange,

For once I see a very very short and crisp comment from you. But I understand that has much to say in it. Thanks.

kavita said...

Beautiful and touching .

anilkurup said...

@ Kavita,

Thank you. And welcome after a recess on the blog

Insignia said...

One thing is your mom's self respect, respect for others and tolerance.

Another thing is that you were able to realize that and know her.

Not many would make an effort to understand their parents; as parents their children. If thats done; every family would be a heavenly one

anilkurup said...

@ Insignia

B, a blog is complete if it has been commented upon by a few like you. A trifle late this time.

I guess every one will have to tell about their mother. To some it will be a matter of the bosom.

Happy Kitten said...

Wish every son and daughter would say thus about their mother!

for that wish to be true... each of one of us as mothers need to take lessons from this post of yours...

anilkurup said...

@ Happy Kitten,
I have seen and heard of some mothers who are contrary to all you mean as virtue.
Leaving that aside i guess one has to gratefully appreciate the value mother plays in our formative times.

Insignia said...


Its a privilege to read you and an honor to be part of your space :)

anilkurup said...

@ Insignia,

B, Thank you. It is indeed a privilege to have at least a few , who Blog and appreciate dissent and agreements in the best of the argumentative tradition. That is what makes it richer when people like you are around. Thank you again.

KParthasarathi said...

Should I applaud you for the rich content in the post on your great mom or for the admirable style you write that is music to my eyes?Anilji,you are scintillating and your posts are standards for me to aim for

anilkurup said...

@ KParthasarathi,

Your comment is a gratification I never desired and certainly not quite worthy of.am I?

But it is of immense encouragement that people such as you who discern things with impassioned observations expresses such opinion as you did.

Thank you Sir, Thank you.