Does it sound ambiguous? Read on.
For any child, mother would be the first love. I was no different. I was always amma’s girl. Amma was more than my best friend. Not a single secret would be kept away from her. Though I had my share of beatings from amma (compared to sis) when I was less than 2yrs old, I always wanted amma only. I was super clingy to her, if I get her message clearly not letting her do any household chores. Being a new mom, pressed for time and having a whole of lot of work to complete, managing me wasn’t cake walking for amma. Needless to say, she had to vent out her pressure onto me.
Imagine this – she would wake up at 4Am, just so that she could complete all the clothes-washing when there is water supply. Otherwise she would have to carry everything to a nearby bore-well during the day, leaving me with the not-so-curious-to-look-after-your-kiddo grandparents. Within minutes of her starting the work, I would crawl to the bathroom to find amma. Feeling frustrated for not being able to look after me properly, she would spank me so that I would atleast cry to sleep. But No! I would still be clinging on to her crying, making her frustrated enough to break down finally. Till date, she has a feeling that she couldn’t bring me up the way she wanted to. She feels guilty for beating me at that tender age (of which I obviously don’t remember) She feels she was imperfect as a mom, but I beg to differ.
Mom compensated for all these by not putting a finger on me from the time I remember. She doesn’t even raise her voice and when she does, I know she is tired and pressurized. She had been there for me, more than a friend many a times giving me a shoulder to cry on.
Once dad was on official trip and we were all missing him very badly. I remember waking up every day with the same question – Isnt dad home yet? Not knowing how to pacify us, she made Rasagulla for us – that is from scratch. I was in 2nd std then and I remember clearly how it turned out to be a disaster. The sweet didn’t have a shape, it was watery and it smelt bad. All I remember today is her efforts to make us happy. Till date, we tease her for those rasagullas and have a hearty laugh. There are a number of occasions she has tried something new for us, just so that we could enjoy. Failed attempts have never stopped her from trying again.
Like any kid, who loves her mom’s food I loved it every bit without questioning. Amma would give me a glass of Ragi Kanji (congee) every day in the morning, given that any other health drink was unaffordable. Without questioning her, I would drink it in a gulp. Most days she would be so pressed for time that the kanji would be a bit burnt or have lumps. I protested with her one fine day and started making my own kanji. Soon I got lazy to make it myself and amma took over again. If not for her and her kanji, I never would have had the stamina to cycle 10Kms to and fro every day to school.
Come Diwali, I and sis would start bugging amma to make us the Diwali sweets and savories. Every year, murukku would be prepared by default. Amma has this heavy Indalium Murukku press and it used to take her one full afternoon to complete preparations. Murukku made at our home never were round in shape or in other words, would look like small strings or broken murukku pieces. They weren’t those perfect looking murukkus from other houses, but we have grown up loving these only. When we were of the understandable age, we got to know how hard it should be to operate that heavy murukku press. If it were me, I would have given up in the first five minutes only. Gulab jamuns are another specialty from amma – she has never been able to shape them up correctly and has never managed to get one jamun out without a break/crack. Again, we have only known these until I started my cooking experiments. Now I desperately try to get a shapeless jamun/broken murukku pieces and I fail miserably. While amma takes pride at my preparations, I can’t help but wonder why am I not getting it like amma.
There are a number of devotional songs that amma sings, as she does her morning chores. Its always a pleasant thing to get up at parents’ place, listening to amma singing songs on Krishna mostly. Most of these songs were passed on to her from Ammumma (my grandma) and I love it when she tries to imitate ammuma’s style sometimes. Having never listened to the original versions, I only know what my amma sings and I have grown fond of it. I try to sing many of those songs (though a lame attempt). A few days back, I happened to hear the original version of one of the songs that amma sings almost every day and I disliked it the very instant. Having listened only the imperfect version, the correct version seemed so distant. I am planning to get all her songs recorded in her voice sometime soon, for I don’t want to miss it here.
There are number of things that has amma’s signature style – like the way she wears her saree, bindi, the way she handles certain vegetables, makes a flower-string, draws cartoons, sends messages, attends to the phone calls, responds to certain questions – all these being her quirks and I cant express how much I love them. There is a uniqueness about it, which makes her stand-alone! She might not be perfect at all the things she does, but she has been doing it the same way for so long that I have grown fond of it. She is an imperfect perfection in my world 🙂