I love you, Ma — part 1

May 6, 2010

This is part 1 of a two-part essay dedicated to my mom. The entire essay is also an entry in BlogAdda’s Tribute to your Mom contest sponsored by Pringoo.

My mom’s not the typical mother.

She never has been.

Ma was always there — and still never was.

I served food for myself when I came home from school, I completed my homework on my own, I made my own cup of Bournvita in the evenings and rocked myself to sleep at night.

Daddy ferried me to school and back till I got my own bicycle, he would always be at the parent-teacher meetings, he attended each sporting event I participated in, he glowed with pride at the awards functions and never missed any of my concerts.

And, no, he was not a stay-at-home dad.

He also had a job to take care of — but his was more flexible.

In spite of Dad’s omnipresence, I missed Ma.

Each of my friends could spot my father from a distance — almost as well as they could find their own dads in a crowd.

As for Ma — they would meet her too — once every year.

At my birthday parties.

She would play the perfect hostess, looking after each of my guests with cheerful maternal affection. She would make sure all my friends felt at ease.

She’d play Bingo with them.

She made fabulous snacks. She cracked jokes (the non-vegetarian kinds, too).

Ma was a complete hit with my cronies.

They loved her!

She was cool.

As for me — I missed Ma.

Home science classes were a nightmare because of her! We had to sew, embroider, knit and paint. And it was not a problem for anyone else in class but me.

I was a decent enough painter, but the rest of the girlie stuff? Ugh!

Everyone would submit fascinating mirrorwork cushions, beaded purses, cross-stitched wall hangings and fancy frocks. I could only account for a straight-knit muffler, sloppy scarves and painted pillow covers.

I didn’t have the kind of mom all of them had.

Mine worked. Full-time!

She was committed to her job — not slacking one bit.

Ma worked from nine to six, seven, sometimes eight in the evening, and then came back to attend to household chores.

The moment she would step into the house, the air would become electric.

She’d quickly change out of her sari into something more comfortable and step into the kitchen.

Between chopping vegetables, filling buckets of water at the community tap (we got rationed water from seven to nine in the evenings) and preparing dinner, she also prepped for the following day’s breakfast and lunch.

All I remember of Ma in those days was a shadow … a blur.

At dinnertime, while mom and dad caught up with each other, I watched TV intently.

Ma never asked me how my day was.

She did not know about my assignments. That was Daddy’s job.

But she did kiss me good night without fail.

That was always the last thing she did to end her day.

And mine.



My last award function at school.

As I stepped onto the stage to receive the Best Student award, my eyes searched the auditorium even though I knew she wouldn’t be there.

I saw Daddy wearing his best navy blue suit and sporting his widest grin.

He looked fatter that day. Or maybe he was just swelling with pride.

And just as my lips curved to flash a smile back at him, I saw her!

Ma had come!

She had taken a half-day off from office to be part of her only child’s moment of glory.

My mom was there.

I introduced her to all my teachers.

They sang my praises. She beamed with joy, telling them this was all my doing — she never had a hand in any of it.


Fast forward to 2000.

I was a graduate now and received my first job offer — writer and copyeditor at a company in Mumbai … 850 miles from home.

At the same time, Ma, who was the chief manager of her bank, was up for a promotion — which meant a salary hike and relocation.

Daddy’s job was flexible but he could not shift base — all his customers were in Lucknow.

Our family of three would suddenly be in different parts of the country.

Ma couldn’t possibly let this happen.

Could she?

Would she “desert” daddy and me?

As a kid I was entitled to do that — that’s what we kids do when we grow up.

But she was the anchor of the family.

If she left, I’d have no home to come back to.

I’d have no place to call home.

Most women would put family first — that was the Indian thing to do.

But my mom was atypical.

She deliberated for two days before coming to a decision.

Come back for part two of this essay tomorrow — same place, same time icon smile I love you, Ma — part 1

16081BD1A60533E0F1173D28DE4F0D3F I love you, Ma — part 1

dp seal trans 16x16 I love you, Ma — part 1Copyright secured by Digiprove © 2010 Mansi Bhatia

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16 Responses to I love you, Ma — part 1

  1. Susan DeborahNo Gravatar on May 6, 2010 at 3:46 pm

    You stopped at the right time. You know it all don’t you. How much ever I try to focus my perspective to yours, I can’t but admire her for her grit and tenacity. As a person who lost her father quite young, I have been quite independent and can totally relate to your mom. But then there are other perspectives too.

    I think I will like your mom!

    Shall cam eback for Part II.


    • MansiNo Gravatar on May 7, 2010 at 7:03 am

      I think you will, too, Susan :-)

  2. TulikaNo Gravatar on May 6, 2010 at 6:46 pm


    You are a story teller…u’ve knitted this yarn so beautifully. I can almost anticipate what decision your mom took, but by giving it a break… you’ve upped the mystery quotient. I so look forward to Part II! :)


    • MansiNo Gravatar on May 7, 2010 at 7:04 am

      Thanks, Tulika. It’s a tough story to tell…finding the right words…reliving those memories…but as you probably anticipate — it all works out in the end :-)

  3. DebosmitaNo Gravatar on May 7, 2010 at 3:56 am

    I am hooked… Write the second part soon, Mansi :-)

    • MansiNo Gravatar on May 7, 2010 at 12:05 am

      Coming up on your computer screen, very, very soon :-)

  4. BillNo Gravatar on May 7, 2010 at 4:08 am

    Interesting story Mansi, I look forward to part II. It’s a great feeling to have the support of your parents. I was always the one in the family that walked to a different drummer. They still supported me some but it took many years before they were really behind me. I’m the only one of 5 kids that’s ever lived outside the area that we grew up in & I’ve lived many places….oh well life is an interesting puzzle.



    • MansiNo Gravatar on May 7, 2010 at 12:06 am

      And we choose the path that works best for us. I can relate with your journey, Bill, although I am an only child.

  5. […] I love you, Ma — part 2 May 7, 2010 By Mansi This is part two of a two-part essay dedicated to my mom. Read part one here. […]

  6. Indian HomemakerNo Gravatar on May 8, 2010 at 4:09 am

    Waiting to read the next part. I think I like your mom till now…

  7. Judith van PraagNo Gravatar on May 9, 2010 at 1:09 am

    Oh, you’re a tease Mansi! I’ll be back!

    • MansiNo Gravatar on May 11, 2010 at 5:19 am

      I hope you were able to visit again and read part two, Judith:-)

  8. mahesh kalaalNo Gravatar on May 10, 2010 at 1:08 pm

    done with the footprints…
    waiting for the strides…

    • MansiNo Gravatar on May 11, 2010 at 12:45 pm

      Hope you came back and stayed in step with me :-)

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