The day just gone by happened to be my biological birthday. Nothing great about it. I do’nt even think that I have had a spectacular innings or have broken any world records. All I can honestly say for all these years is that ‘ we survived’. Me and Appu. Appu and me. Whichever way.
But Appu thinks otherwise and she and ‘The Team’ at the office decided to throw a surprise party for me with lunch and it was very touching and inspiring. No fakeness. Just down to earth affection and caring. No huge gifts or glamour. A huge potted plant from a nursery ( because of my love for plants) and an illuminated portrait of Krishna( as they saw the Bhagwad Geeta) on my table. Very thoughtful. The best part was that that everyone from Sunita ( who cooks food in the office) to Sana ( who takes care of the phone and various admin issues) to Rajesh ( the guard) to the technical guys, Rajat and Soma, all came together as a team. This bonding was beautiful. And the ‘sutradhar’ of course was Appu who also choreographed the show in anonymity. Myself, who claims to know every little event that happens in the office had no clue that this get together was being organized.
Thank you guys. For the team spirit you displayed. For the bonding. For the TLC (tender loving care).
My father called. Wished me. Asked me to save some money for the rainy days. So far so good. Then the same tape. My classmates were making so much more money than me. ( So what papa? It is ok. I have my dignity, work that I like doing and Appu. We have a decent life, we are self supporting). And then some more. You should not make friends ( what you mean is ‘men-friends’, right? But where were you when I was alone, without money for any treatment even when I was sick? Did you think then that I could get used or abused by men/women alike? Aaj yaad aya aapko? Aaj aap advice de rahen hai?). It is Ok papa. You could not be there for reasons best known to you. I have stopped judging you. Please stop judging me. We did our best, you and me.
What I also remember from the day gone by is that my mother never called me. I wish I could write to her and ask: ‘ Mom, would you have loved me if I had made more money? Or if I had been more successful in the world outside? Or had more name and fame? Would you have loved me if I had been more of a traditional daughter? Would you have loved me if I had stayed in my marriage despite knowing that it had broken up long ago? I tried you know. For a long time. To make you happy. Even if I was dying inside, I wanted you to be happy. And then somewhere I gave up. Do you even know when I gave up trying?
It was that moment when I had no money, no husband, no place to hide myself or my daughter. I called you. You came with Dad. And then you said that it was all my fault that my marriage broke. My fault that everyone left. And so I had to face the consequences on my own. You drove away with Dad and I was running behind your car. Till I was tired. At that moment I knew I was alone. For better or for worse. That it was just me and God. That you were never there. And it was at that moment I accepted that I had no Mom. I loved the title of Mom. but there was no one there. never had been for a long time.
So I guess you just gave birth to me and forgot. I do not know if I need to be thankful to you for giving me birth or resentful for abandoning me.
And so , I really do not know how to be a Mom to Appu. I just keep trying to not do, what you did to me. Maybe that is not enough. I do not know.
Maybe someday I will have the courage to write that letter or ask you face to face: ‘Why the hell did you abandon me’?
Someday, I will write.
A letter to Mom.