Birthday Loving

Thursday, 15 March 2007
I don’t want to get all senti, but I’m definitely going to miss throwing a nice party for my mum who turns 60 in the next few days and is finally retiring from a long, and highly rewarding, career. So I’ll do the next best thing: write about her crazy adventures! :)
It’s easy to describe your mother as a traditional caregiver, slaving away in the kitchen, a self-sacrificing woman with multiple roles who does everything to make home, hearth and everything in between complete. I’d like to think of Maa through a series of vignettes: as a 12-year-old, sitting on the rooftop of her family home, legs dangling and freshly-applied oil dripping from her hair, the clothesline behind her as she bites into an apple and frowns at the camera because the sun is getting in her eyes. Or at 16 when she aces her class and wins the basketball trophy at school, she gets a call from the principal’s office: not to be cheered or to be chastised, but to be asked if her parents would be interested in a certain boy who happened to be a relative of the principal’s? Then a stark studio picture circa 1965, wearing one of those tight kurtas of the day and a shy smile, but a confidence that perhaps came from riding the rickshaw with her best friend to Allahabad U. and enjoying the whistles and filmi songs along the way. Finally, the Sadhana fringe and the dark sunglasses and the crowded rides on the local train that came along with her move to do a master’s at Bombay U. She was always cool and she didn't even know it.
But Maa is basically having a party wherever she goes and no matter what the age. And just last week she was having another one at a friend’s son’s wedding. They were the bong baraatis going with every intention of having fun at the expense of a punju bridal party. Maa stuck to good old Coke and watched as two of her pals happily headed towards the bar. As Aunty #1 and Aunty #2 gulped down their Old Monks and JW, the intensity of laughter increased. The good times were rolling so well that Aunty #1 craved a fag after nearly 10 years of quitting. Aunty #2 told her to shut up and breathe the tandoor smoke instead. The three 50-somethings continued to comment on the food, the lovely bride and why Sonu Nigam was still as cute as ever and considering “these times,” how he had not managed to split up with his wife, a bengali, of course.
“We were sitting in one corner and just laughing so loudly, after a while your father had to come and shhh us up,” she said. “So after that I had to look after those two properly.” Will somebody grow up, please?! :) Nah, why bother.

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