Last year this time when I spoke to my mother in India, I told her the recent heavy rains has filled the creek behind my home. I see a lot of frogs in my backyard and very soon I might see some Rattle Snakes to complete the food chain. As usual in a concerned voice she advised me to be careful and pray Lord Siva to keep this slithery beast away.
Teasing her mildly (as we often take that liberty with our mothers, though we can’t take the same with dad) I said “Mummy, we all know Lord Siva has a stranglehold over Cobra, not sure if he has the same control over Rattlesnakes of America. Sanskrit SLOKAS (hymns) won’t work here. Southern American accent filled sermons from the local Methodist church might help in keeping it away.”
She chastised me as usual “Stop teasing and take my advise seriously. I will pray for you to Lord Siva to keep you safe from “Rattle SAAPA(snake)”. The depth of her love to me is unfathomable.
Whenever I go home, she puts an Igloo shaped mound of rice on my lunch plate, telling – TU PETA PURA KARI KHAUNU, JHADI GALUNI (you are not eating stomach full and losing weight), though there was hardly any sign of my weight loss. For her, this hemispherical shaped rice on plate should be high, high enough for its tip to touch the legs of a cat trying to jump over it. That’s her unit of measurement of quantity to keep her son’s stomach filled.
If I insist on reducing the amount of rice, suggesting it would add me some extra flab, my mother vehemently disputes it, saying (in Odia) “TORA SWASTYA TIKE HEICHI, TATE MOTA KIE KAHUCHI ?” “You are little healthy, how dare someone call you fat’? . Like all mothers from our generation, gaining weight by their son is a matter of pride. A chubby chap is known as KHAIBA PIBA GHARA PILA(in Odia) or KHANE PINE KA GHAR KA LADKA (in Hindi) – meaning a boy from a well to do family who liberally spends on food. (A SWYASTAWALA or healthy son earns accolades for the daughter-in-law for feeding the son well. On the other hand a slim husband can earn the wrath of the mother-in-law for not feeding her son enough).
She still advises me – BARSA RE ODA HABUNI, THANDA DHARIBA – Don’t get drenched in the rain, lest you catch a cold. If she finds I have a fever, she advises me to eat Apples and LUNI BISCUIT (Saltine crackers, similar to the RITZ crackers, popularly consumed during fever as it titillates numbed taste buds) and eat PAUNRUTI (sliced bread). She still treats me as a 10 year old. Though we have gone past those days, her love is eternal.
No matter how far I am from her, her unadulterated love and concern for me never ever wavers. I have complete faith on her devotion. Now that I have outsourced my well being to her I can roam freely in my backyard and get on with my life. HAPPY MOTHERS DAY to all.