Motherhood: A divine institution
I understand death today, but my childhood expectation has still not perished, and I am still waiting for my mother.
She is an institution; an overflowing reservoir of love. She possesses an astounding quantum of care, concern, compassion and affection. A hand that feeds, a hunger she satiates. A phenomenon, a guiding light, a beacon of hope. A lifelong crutch; an embodiment of beauty; a pristine spirit; a glowing splendour of nature.
She is a mother, so I was told.
Destiny has infinite wisdom. For reasons best known to itself, it sprang a heart wrenching surprise on me by plucking away my mother to the dark corners of life beyond.
After just 26 months, she lost her life after ushering a new life into the temporary world. In death she left a trail of life. An amazing testament to the process of procreation. Since the acquisition of this profound knowledge, that death is not a temporary separation but a permanent one, I wondered what joy she could have derived from my agony of losing her - without even having gotten to know her.
Life cheated on me during my infancy by conspiring with death to snatch her away forever. I have pondered many times if my mother willingly participated in this dance of life and death. If the act of dying was willing, she would have known the pain and misery it would cause me. If death took her by surprise, then I mourn the pain and misery she would have undergone then.
They say in this world where emotions are prone to being polluted and conditional; where injustice, unfairness, inequity prevails aplenty; where anarchy and chaos are the norm, peace seems to have evaporated from our lives. However, there is still one sanctuary, one haven which offers solace of remarkable quality.
I have heard, no matter what the strains are or the anxieties gripping a person, there is a lap full of unqualified love and respite which dwarfs the most monumental of tribulations once you place your head there.
It is the mother’s warm embrace which requires nothing in return. It only gives inexhaustibly. It’s that wonder of the world, which cuts across religions, customs, cultures, nationalities, languages, social status, race, creed and colour. The purest emotion of love which a mother elicits for her children is beyond these barriers. It’s miraculously uniform across the world.
There is this mysterious magic in a mother’s soothing voice which chases away all suffering. Offering nothing short of her undiluted commitment and affection, even when the offspring take her for granted or are harsh towards her, she never bears any ill will or grudge. But to the contrary, only continues to dole out from the chambers of her heart, unadulterated form of fondness for her uncouth children.
Strange is a mother’s love; no matter how flawed the child could be in character, however ordinary looking, or even physically deformed or mentally imbalanced, to a mother he/she is the most beautiful and extraordinary child. She fails to register the irregularities with her children. To her, they are simply perfect.
She may be a very strict mother; the one who scowls at indiscipline, punishes at times and may even admonish or criticise. But should someone else attempt to disparage or scorn the children, you’ll see her reacting with an immensely possessive and defensive streak. So much so, that at times, a berating even from the father can be met with intense cynicism from the mother.
She is certainly someone who melts away easily and is the softest target to get through to the father for fulfilment of any excessive or exorbitant demands. She is also the strongest shield against the wrath of an authoritarian father. However, in some cases fathers delegate the autocratic job to the mother.
When you run out of patience with your mother’s string of questions, just pause and recall that when you were little, she answered all your trite questions a trillion times over with the same enthusiasm as the first time - without a crease on her forehead. She was up with you every night when you were a baby, only to feed you and lull you to sleep at the expense of her own comfort. There is no way in the world that this debt can be settled ever.
During my innocent and oblivious childhood, the heap and the mound I played on had a marble tombstone at one end. It was that swollen ground which contains the remains of my mother. Her permanent dwelling place in the vast plains of sadness permitted the longing son to only temporarily visit her.
I would almost every other day, if not daily, be standing next to her graveside along with my loving father and siblings. Each day, I left her back in the grave, in the hope that she would later join us for dinner at home.
This amazing conjecture or deception of my mind lasted till I got into my teens. I understand death today, but my childhood expectation has still not perished.
I keep waiting for her.
Sadly, the most beautiful and cheerful word ‘mother’ in any language, evokes in my mind a tragic picture of a forlorn grave; that’s the image of my mother for me.
Love you mother - she is a blessing. Parenthood is a passing phenomenon of nature and childhood is the spring of hope. Cherish moments with your mother; because, alas, the clock can’t be turned back.