Life brings with a plethora of experiences, each with a flavour of its own. I wish to share with all my readers these various experiences and observations that I have made during my time here on this planet. They may be funny, thought-provoking or simple reflections. I do hope you will find these enjoyable and interesting.

Friday, 17 May 2013

Momma, Dear Momma of Mine

"Yes Amma, I have had my coffee.  Yes, I have eaten my lunch.  Now you eat that food up.  That is for you".

I look into your face and try to coax you to eat.  Suddenly the tables seem to have turned.  You are my child, I am your mother.  I feel a wave of protectiveness towards you.  I want to pick you up, cuddle you like a baby.  You are so frail my Momma.  You look like a little bird which will fly off on the wings of the slightest breeze.

But somethings do not change.  "Have you had your food"? you ask me as soon as you see me.  Even through the mists of your foggy mind you do not forget your concern for my well being.  We sit together.  You try to tell me something.  It comes out no louder than a hoarse whisper.  I try to listen.  What do you want to tell me Ma?  You don't remember words.  You make up your own.  Some words you remember.  But the stories you tell are also made up - situations of your own making.  You live in a world of your own.  No one can enter there.  We sit and look at each other.  I allow you to examine my palm.  You trace a design on it.  You examine the floral pattern on my dress.  You start pleating my kurta.  I just watch you.  I love it when you touch me.  Every moment with you is a treasure.  Pity I can't spend more time with you.
I get up to leave.  "You don't have to go.  Sleep here" you say.  It breaks my heart.  "No Momma, I can't stay.  I have to leave.  I shall come back soon.  I must go home before it is too dark".  "OK" you say.  "Go carefully".  Even through the haze your concern for me surfaces.  It has become ingrained into your psyche.
I am part of your Ma.  50% of me is made up of you.

My mind harks back to my earliest memories.  It's a hot summer afternoon.  You and I are lying on the floor. I wake up and look around.  You look at me, smile and pat my tummy. :-)  

You are eating your lunch.  I toddle up to you, point at your plate and demand brinjal.  "You have already eaten your lunch" you tell me.  "I want more" I demand.

You wake me up at 6.30 in the morning.  You have been up much earlier and been cooking to pack lunch for me.  I have to catch my school bus at 8 a.m.  I get up take my brush and hold it in my mouth and doze off.  You come and shake me awake.  I start eating some toothpaste.  I love the taste.  You chide me and get me through the routine.  I sit in the corner and await the hot phulkas which I have for my breakfast.  You pack my lunch box, check if I have taken everything, plait my hair and come along with me to drop me off at the bus stop.  

I come back in the evening around 4.30.  You have some snacks awaiting me.  You have made them yourself.  Not for you the convenience of ready cooked snacks from the shops.  Then comes my homework.  You sit down with me and ensure that I finish whatever homework there is for the day.  Sometimes you ask whether you are studying or I.  You have literally held my hand and taught me to write.  You have made me do page after page of cursive writing to make me write neatly.  You are a stickler for neatness.  It shows in my written work even today.  

"I was not allowed to finish my studies" you tell me.  "Study well.  Study as much as you want.  We won't stop you.  Achieve whatever goals you want".  You want me to have what you could not.  The fact that you were made to stop studying to get married at 20 still rankles in your mind.

Dinner is served and then you and dad clean the vegetables for the next morning.  

Mom, I remember you grinding batter for idlis on the traditional stone.  I remember you grinding rice, masalas etc on the stone.  I remember you and the maid actually scrubbing the floor with soap and water. Your kitchen was always spic and span.  How did you manage mom?  You were prone to frequent head aches and had a bad back.  That did not prevent you from slogging from morn to night.  We had a stream of visitors at home.  You took care of them without batting an eyelid and loved having them over.  How did you do it ma?

You helped raise your grand-children till quite a late age.  You looked after dad like a nurse when he was laid up in bed with cancer.  Day and night you slogged looking after him, washing sheets ........  You yourself were no spring chicken at that time.

Dad passed on.  You carried on with a stiff upper lip.  You refused to come and stay with either of your daughters.  You insisted on living on your own.  Why Ma?  Loneliness finally got you.  The dreaded "A" hit you.  

Now you need to be looked after all the time.  All your life you only gave.  Life always has a way of balancing things out.  It is now your turn to take.  You need to be cared for.  

I look into your face and try to coax you to eat.  Suddenly the tables seem to have turned.  You are my child, I am your mother.  I feel a wave of protectiveness towards you.  I want to pick you up, cuddle you like a baby.  You are so frail my Momma.  You look like a little bird which will fly off on the wings of the slightest breeze.

I love you my darling Momma.  More than words can ever say.  Thank you Momma, for being my Momma.


  1. Oh dear Satchi
    It is very touching and those words which I am not able to make such an wonderful writeup you made that for me. (not only for me who are all in the same line)
    thank you dear

  2. Satchi such beautiful words and the fact that you have shown both sides of the age is what makes it even more beautiful..

    1. Thanks so much Richa for the lovely feedback. :-)

  3. Dear Swati, so well portrayed happening in most of the houses.

    The picture is so similar to what I feel and experience every time I come home. The situation is not much different from what you described.

    Loved it so much.

    1. True Unknown (would love to know who you are :-)). Unfortunately this is becoming all too common with the increasing life span. On one hand we are happy to have our parents with us for longer but this is certainly not how we want them to be or how we would choose to remember them. It is really painful to see a close one deteriorate this way ..... but then that is life. :-) Thanks so much for the heart felt feed back.

  4. Hi Satchi

    I don't think I have read a more poignant ode to a mother. The other day as I was returning home from college and my mind was pondering over what to cook for dinner, I remembered how when I was younger mom took care of everything.... And now there is nobody to even ask you how your day was....

    My father-in-law has frontal lobe dementia and requires a lot of care. He is living with us now and recently I asked my husband, who takes care of him like he was a child, does it ever upset him or does he ever get bogged by the question "Why Me!" And he replied "Not many have the luck to take care of their parents like I do - so I think of it as a privilege" I think it is that thought that gets him through the tough times.

    Somehow I wish there was some kind of support system for caregivers. Maybe a support group where caregivers could give each other strength - because caring for a family member that is deteriorating mentally is painful and emotionally traumatic. Wishing you both the best.


  5. Thanks so much Arch. I don't ask "why me". But yes, I do ask "why my mom? Why she, who has always only done so much for others? Why does she have to be faced with this in her last years when she should rightfully be enjoying the fruits of her labour". But ours not to question why, our's not to reason why ......." I could have still have pampered her like a child even if she had not been thus stricken, but I guess she would not have allowed herself to be pampered ......

  6. I think your answer makes the case for that selflessness is actually achievable and not a fallacy!

  7. Arch, I am neither making a case for selflessness, nor against it. I just wish she had been alright either way.