A NOSTALGIC ‘MOTHER’ THOUGHT

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A Nostalgic Mother Thought

Lazy mornings. Super late brushing and hurried getting ready. And when you pick up your bag to leave for school, a voice would tuck you back in one gentle pull. Mother’s call. And you would stop for the tastiest breakfast in less than three minutes. Then when you rush to your bus stop or to your cycle, you would probably not have realized that those were the sweetest moments of your life. Irretrievable moments of untainted and selfless love.

You know that motherhood is an instinctual thing. If you are a mother, you know it. Yet, before conception you would consider yourself the most irresponsible, party-loving, lazy person made of non-motherhood material. But the moment you find a blue line appear on that pee-stick, you begin to become a mother- one step at a time. You see the birth of a mother in your mind and body- moment by moment. What happens during those moments of realization? Probably we would never know. But a peep into our childhoods might tell us more about it.

When I was a child, my mother used to tell me, “I won’t force you. If you want to study, you do. It’s your life, and it’s your decision”. She used to toss the ball into my court mercilessly. And when I stayed up studying late in the night, she pretended to sleep. But if I coughed lightly even once, she was there with a cup of warm milk and a serious face. She never slept when I was awake! Years later when I started receiving my pay cheques, and she began using her spectacles and diabetes tablets, I realised that it was her persistent determination about me that led me to where I am today. She is a superwoman- all mothers are.

More than half of all mothers are homemakers. You see them as happy home makers. Have you ever wondered why a mother decides to settle for being a homemaker while umpteen opportunities are available outside her home? I shall rephrase that question. Have you ever thought why your mother chose to be a PA to three or four people while she could be a CEO if she had so wished? The question becomes a sharp double edged sword when you compare the two roles and their benefits as in the table below.

Woman with a paid job Home maker- Unpaid
Salary Yes No
Recognition of work Yes No
Social Security Yes No
Bank account/Savings Yes No
Decision making power Yes No/partly yes
Sphere of influence Large number of people Just the family
Freedom to move Yes Not very much
Freedom to spend Yes Not very much
Freedom to choose a career Yes Not very much
Freedom to choose a career Yes Not very much
Self-expression Yes Limited
Social visibility Yes Very limited
Acceptance and appraisal Yes Rarely yes
Respect Yes Not overtly

 

Now, this comparison gives us enough reasons to realize the worth of a mother. A home maker is an unpaid labourer who toils in an unrequited manner.

Years ago when I left home, my mother had to make sacrifices for my sake. We didn’t have much money at that time. So she happily pawned her only gold chain to buy things for my journey and stay. I remember how her eyes were filled with tears, yet sparkled in hope, ushering my bright future in when she waved me good bye. Beyond my hazy view, I saw her smiling through her tears. Then she visited me almost every week! I never felt I left home.
But I failed to think from her side. I never wondered how or what she felt when she missed me. Now I know. My kids are away from home and I long for their presence day and night. I call them, and write to them incessantly. I wish they were here. And sometimes on lonely nights, my eyes well up with misty tears and I feel my mother standing next to me. With a sigh, I lean on to her for comfort. I wish she was there! Oh, nostalgia.

There are two kinds of nostalgia about mothers or anyone, or anything for that matter. One is positive nostalgia, while the other is negative. Most of us feel nostalgic about our villages or towns, and are sad about their receding greenery and increasing temperatures. But we don’t do anything about it. We don’t plant a tree, or save a drop of water. We don’t walk a mile instead of riding a huge air-conditioned car. But we don’t fail to blame ‘others’ for being irresponsible about nature. All we do is feel nostalgic about the good old times! This is negative nostalgia. As opposed to this, if your nostalgia makes you plant a tree or grow vegetables on your balcony or walk to your office or save some water every day, your nostalgia is positive. Positive nostalgia leads you to a positive course of action. Sometimes people say they are nostalgic about everything around them. Like this one: ‘Oh, I feel nostalgic about my colonial past! I miss my oppressors. Oh, they were lovely! *sigh*’. This is nothing but a feel-good mechanism through which people hide their guilt. Nostalgia that doesn’t lead you to positive actions is fake, phony and bogus.

So, if you feel nostalgic about your mother, and the childhood she sweetened, do something about it. Send her a card. Buy her a pair of shoes. Gift her a warm blanket. Take her out. Listen to her for ten minutes every day, take care of her. Make her feel loved and heard. Your mother has grown old physically but her mind has grown young. She must be nostalgic for you –you who were nicer and sweeter and younger.

She has given you enough reasons to feel nostalgic. Give her share back to her. If she has already left this world, find others who need care. Help them. Plant a tree. Gift a deserving child. Be nicer to your children. Nostalgia is a two-way road. You felt good once, so you make someone else feel good today and tomorrow. Give what it takes to take what it gives! Be positively nostalgic, always.

 

 

Here is a nostalgic poem about a mother: Yesterday

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SAJIT M MATHEWS
Sajit M Mathews is a Research Scholar at the Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh in the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences. He had been teaching English Language at the University of Hyderabad and IIIT Kadapa from 2012 to 2015. His education is in English, Media, Philosophy and Physics. His interests span from English Language Teaching, Media, Sciences and Technology, to Arts, Painting and Music.

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