Sunday, March 25, 2012


(Penned on my mother's third death anniversary)

When I was little and made tall demands
Ma, you’d say, “Don’t ask for the moon!”
Soon a time will come when my grand kids
can plan their honeymoon on the moon!

With so much technology and advancement
can’t I hope for some 11G smart phones,
to call our dear departed
wherever they might be?!
Then my first call will be to you, Ma!
Remember you’d talk to me some 40 minutes
every single day for tidbits and updates.
I have a lot of catching up to do now –
It’s two – wait – three years since you bid adieu!

You considered your children as crucibles
to pour in your cribs and complaints –
Most of them insignificant and baseless,
A few grave, others beyond our control!
That was your nature Ma – harping on endless trivia!
And I’d typically pooh-pooh your unfounded fears!!

We’d go on and on about some day-to-day issue –
“The power-cut has been increased to three hours.”
“But Ma, you have the inverter, don’t you?”
“What will happen in the summer?”
“We’ll think about it then, Ma! Why, you can come down to my place."
“Oh, but I can’t use the lift there!”
“Why not?”
“Can’t trust the fickle power, that’s why!”
“As it is, you don’t go out much, Ma!”
“It’s all very easy for you to say!”
We did have good repartees, no Ma?

I know you never liked your ‘kids’ answering back!
But we too have our say Ma.
You simply loved to look for problems rather than solutions!
If they were minor ones, we’d let you cling on to them,
So you wouldn’t come up with fresh ones!

Some other day, your target would be the maid –
“You know Kala bai turned up an hour late!”
“It’s ok Ma! You don’t have any office-goers!”
“But I can’t have all the housework pending.”
“Well, Ma, she doesn’t have a watch!”
“Ok, go ahead and buy her one!”
Really Ma, you sure had a sense of humor even in your anger!

Another complaint was about the regular tender-coconut-vendor -
“He has not turned up for the past three days!”
“Have something else – ‘nimbu paani’ may be?”
“Can ‘nimbu paani’ equal tender coconut?”
I guess not – stupid me!
There could be no substitutes or adjustments for you, Ma!

Sometimes you’d be agitated with yourself!
“I keep forgetting and misplacing things.”
“Quite natural – you’re getting old, Ma!”
“Not me! Even you are forgetful – didn’t you say so?”
“Yes of course – though I’m much younger!”
“But you have your hubby to hunt for the stuff.”
What’s the connection, I’d ponder.
Stupid of me not to realize you miss appa!

At times you’d complain about sleepless nights.
“I took a sleeping pill prescribed by my doctor.”
“See that you don’t get addicted, ok Ma?”
“All very easy for you to say!”
“Ma! It’s a common complaint in old age.”
“How do you know when you aren’t old?”
I’d feel like tearing my hair but would end up
Clutching my head to retain my cool.
“Why don’t you make up with a nap?”
“A long nap will again result in a sleepless night.”
Always you had to have the last word, Ma!

‘Your brother hasn’t called for over a month.’
‘He must be globe-trotting as usual, Ma.’
'Tell me which country is so backward -
without phone facilities? 
And doesn’t he have the Blueberry or Strawberry….?’
‘Blackberry, Ma!’ I’d chuckle at your wit.
The next day you’d go ga ga over your son’s call –
His long conversation, his concern, care and affection.
You’d blow hot, blow cold – always spontaneous, always blunt.

Most days you had my sister’s company
at home and for small outings.
Some weekends you’d call me after your nap.
‘I’m bored – is there anything worth a watch on TV?’
I’d suggest a musical extravaganza or dance program
Which would have you glued for the whole evening.
Now whenever I’m watching them I can’t but think of you!

You were my window to our family, Ma!
Your calls would connect the dots
To uncles and aunts and cousins.
You’d talk nineteen to the dozen
And I’d be very calculative with my words!
Now I realize what I miss –
I wish I’d spoken what you’d have loved to hear
Rather than being just matter-of-fact.

I want to flip back the calendar by some four years -
Just to hear your non-stop chatter all over again.
Or I wish to get connected to you in the other world -
I know you’ll have lots to share about these three years!
I'm just waiting for another Steve Jobs with fingers crossed!
Believe me, it’s just a matter of time! Or isn’t it?

© Copyright 2012. Brinda Balasubramonian.

1 comment:

  1. Very nice, Brinda. I can see how much you miss your mother. Mothers are irreplaceable.