I don’t know why I’m writing this letter here, instead of sending it straight to you. Maybe, because somewhere I know that even if you read it, you won’t understand it. Not because of the intricacies of my language here but because the lens you need to understand this perplexed situation is not available with you. And even if you do understand, you won’t let me realize it, and if this is Motherhood, it is very strange.
You are beautiful, pretty, a kind of person who has it all. I have inherited your smile and it is praise-worthy. You are the loudest person in our family, even if you are happy, you’ll let everyone know in our neighborhood just by laughing so hard. You are a multi-talented person I have witnessed in my life. You have a Midas touch in your hands, your fingers thick and plumpy, not at all artistic, that does every work of art. I have seen you painting, I have seen you knitting. You are an amazing cook. I just had to tell you that I want something of this kind and you get it for me with every detail just as I have mentioned. I wonder sometimes if you have a magic wand with you all the time or is it just the Motherhood that does everything.
I know I’m your favorite child. I have had perks for being the favorite and the loveliest of all. But there were demerits too. People talk about Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, What is the term for Excessive-Attention/Hyperactivity like symptoms? I think you had the latter one. You were obsessed with every activity of mine, be it good or bad. Your reaction to each one of them was so loud and over-reactive, that I learnt to hide things from you, so that I don’t have to see you frowning over just anything, for my mental peace. And that’s where I learnt to prioritize my satisfaction over yours, without ever pondering about how does my active life affected you, Does it make you happy, satisfied or sad? I never bothered to know.
You never liked any of my past relationships with boys. I wonder whether you didn’t like the boys I dated or me. The latter cannot be true because all those boys’ Moms were quite fond of me. Maybe, you didn’t like me getting into relationships. I remember you used to listen to my conversations by another connection of our telephone line. When I got my own mobile phone, you used to roam in and around the area where I was talking. I remember when you used to wake up early to secretly read my journals or the letters I used to write to these boys in the name of cleaning up the house. I think you never realized that I noticed all of this. I am your child, I notice even the slightest movement. But we never talked about it, maybe we both had immense patience to wait for the day when something bad happens so that you can give me a lecture on it. Maybe if we would have talked and discussed, things could have been different today. Maybe I would have learnt to love people differently and not secretly and maybe our relationship could have been a little less salty.
There was a time when as soon as a call comes from our humongous family, almost as large as a district’s population, about someone being hospitalized or someone dying or someone is having a baby, you used to run to help them leaving everything in our home just like that. Without bothering about your children who will return from school and seeing no lunch in the casserole, without thinking even once that they may have a test tomorrow for which they need to prepare. You are the Florence Nightingale of our family. You just left every responsibility which was yours to take on your children and since I was the favorite, it came on me. Maybe that’s where I learnt how to be independent, how to live alone and fend for myself and everyone else you used to feed and clean. I became a Mom when I was just a child.
I attribute my success to this – I never gave or took any excuseFlorence Nightingale
I know Motherhood does not come with a rule book to follow, you do things you’ve seen mothers doing or whatever you’ve experienced as a child. Maybe, that’s why there was no pattern in your behavior for dealing with me. Some days, you were so anxious that you even called up my friends by secretly copying their phone numbers from my diary to know about me. Then, there were days, you were not bothered to know if I’m happy in my life or not. So, I learnt to keep my emotions of happiness, curiosity, sadness and ambitions locked in a box inside me. That, if one day, I’ll vomit blood and there will be blood clots coming with it, they will be the clots of unspoken, unsaid and unheard words that I kept inside me all this while so that no one can ever know the life I was living. And maybe that day, I’ll meet someone who would be able to read my story from the clotted words.
I realized that you never like the boys I have dated, not even a single one. Even I don’t like them now. But you never gave your judgement to me, then. After so many years, now when I look back, I realize I have dated all the available crappiest boys turning into chauvinist men who have misogynist prejudices. The icing on the cake was while I was with them (individually, of course) I never realized it and was always carried away with their thinking and finding ways to make them happy even if it means agreeing to everything they say. Such a dumb creature, I was. Now, I realize, all of this was such a waste of my time and energy maybe that’s why you were unhappy with all my relationships.
I learnt how to be strong and struggle to stand straight in this crowded World. I learnt not to be with any man if he is not worth my time. But, while I was learning all this, I was thinking if you were the one I learnt this from, then
Why didn’t you learn it from yourself?
Why didn’t you fight for yourself?
Why did you make such a big sacrifice, first for your Father and then for mine?
Why didn’t you save yourself from this cruel patriarchy who crushed your soul and ambition in the name of ‘You’re a Girl’?
This Girl is on fire. She’s walking on fire.Alicia Keys
I am an independent woman living today entirely on her own. I’ve build up a career on which everyone around is proud of me. I do not have to seek anyone’s permission or validation to do anything in my life. I am not answerable to anyone.
Do you see this girl? Yes, this one. You gave birth to her. You raised her sometimes with cold emotions and sometimes with love. I am the reward of your sacrifice, that’s what you say to everyone. But I’ll ask a question today, Was it necessary to do a sacrifice? You could’ve become this woman yourself and set up an example for me. You know it better that you’re way more accomplished than me and I have inherited all these skills from you, then Why don’t you stood-up for yourself?
I am a proud daughter. I tell everyone that my Mom is more educated than my Dad. In fact, she is emotionally stronger, efficient and talented than him. They say, you grow up together in a relationship, but I have seen only my Dad growing up, cause you were already grown. You brought out the best in him. You have this inherent skill to bring out the best in people by hook or crook.
Maybe that’s what distinguishes you from others. You know it is easy to become a substantial person, to pursue your goals and be successful in your life. It is difficult, and takes a lot to shape a person into a personality, the World looks up to.
Maybe that’s why you’re a mother and I’m your child.