An ode to a selfless woman.
by Abhinav Kukreja
I remember being young.
I remember you teaching me how to walk.
I remember you giggling every time I fell down and peed on myself.
I remember giving you constant nights of nappy changing, and pointless crying, and you cuddling me even though I literally reeked of poop.
I remember staring at my reflection in your brown eyes. I remember smiling.
I remember you nursing my wounds when I fell off the bicycle and making sounds of pain, even though it was me who was hurting.
I remember you buying me that extra packet of chips, every time the other kids decided to stop playing with me.
I remember you staying up till four in the night, to make my school projects.
What I don’t remember is you taking credit for any of this.
I don’t understand why you do any of this for me, because truth be told, I don’t think I can do all of this for you.
I try to understand the depth of our bond, but it’s beyond me.
Sometimes, I just want to be away from you, even though I know how much you love me.
Sometimes I think you smother me, mother.
I don’t know what its like playing host to a brat. I wouldn’t bear all that pain for you. Why do you?
Why do you put up with my nonsense, and still be there for me when I think the world is about to collapse?
Why do you match me tear to tear, one bad night to another, when you know I can’t do the same for you?
Why do you pray for me, even though I constantly ask you not to?
Why do you fight with the man you’ve been married to, just so I get another juvenile reason to smile?
Are you even humane, mother?
I don’t like it when I can’t comfort you when you’re crying. I try to, I really do.
I don’t like it when you cry because of me, but I don’t like my hormones either, maa.
I don’t like how you let me choose the restaurant, every time we decide to dine out.
I don’t like how you let me have breakfast in bed, day in and day out.
I don’t like how all your big dreams start and end at my bliss.
You need to be a little less selfless, mother.
I don’t think how one little anecdote on one day can make up for everything you do for me, even though I forgot to wish you.
I don’t know how I can thank you enough because had it not been for you, there wouldn’t have been eighteen candles on my birthday cake.
I don’t know how you manage to put up in a house that would collapse without your presence, now that dadi is no more.
I don’t know if I can take care of you the way you take care of me.
I don’t know how you do any of this.
I don’t like taking you for granted, but you make that task so easy.
I try being a better man, I try making things right.
I know how the human cycle works, and that one-day, one of us will not have the other, but I don’t see how I can survive without you.
I don’t like how you promise to be there for me at all times, even though I never promise to do the same.
I don’t like how you’re so supportive of my dreams and promise to pay for every country I want to visit, even though you want me to stay in close proximity at all times. I don’t like how you crush your dreams for mine, Maa.
I haven’t seen you laugh in a long time. All I see is a woman burdened with responsibilities, but not making a fuss out of it.
I don’t like the dark circles around your eyes, mother. They make you look old. You’re not old.
I don’t like how I’ve made you sick, just by being a brat.
I don’t like how I am a bane to your existence, even though you’d never accept the fact.
I don’t like how you make your life banal, just to add a little more color to mine.
If I could take away every single moment when I made you cry, I would.
It’s sad how you refuse to believe that I’ve grown up. Maybe I like that.
Maybe all I want to be is a child sometimes.
I know I’ll be gone in another year, mother, to fulfill my dreams, when I unconsciously trample yours over.
But that’s what people do, mother. People are selfish, and people want to live.
But you don’t understand that, do you?
Because you don’t know how to be selfish, and that’s naïve to me.
I know you can’t talk about issues like politics and religion and capitalism and patriarchy with me, but you are much more wise than I ever would be.
I know you can’t lift that twenty kilogram flour bag like I can, but you are twice as strong as I would ever be.
I know I tell my friends that you irritate me and I despise your presence, but part of me knows that that’s not true.
I’m sorry for not loving you as much as you love me, mother.
I want to thank you.
Even though I don’t believe in this day. I don’t think a concept as auspicious as motherhood can be celebrated on one day.
I want to thank you for putting up with me, even though I’m not half the son I want to be.
I want to thank you for being so altruistic even though I’m a pain most of the times.
I want to thank you for not blaming me for crushing your dreams, even though I know I did.
I want to thank you for giving me birth, and making me, who I am, because that’s all you, mother.
Every award I win is yours, and everything I ever achieve will be because of you.
Thank you for being there, my mother aka my beating heart aka my support system aka gallant soul, aka portly belly aka cause of my existence aka definition of compassion.
Thank you for this lovely gift of existence.
Thank you for being who you are.