I think, therefore I write

Tag: Amma

Little things that matter

After the year that was 2020, we didn’t have much plans or hope for 2021. We didn’t plan to break out of our shell anytime soon. But, having a toddler at home and the nanny on leave, Bangalore’s December drove us to different decisions and destinations. After a week’s failed attempt at handling things ourselves, we accepted defeat and ran to our hometown where our parents live.

Amidst the fear and initial shock of the outside world, we were forced to come to terms with the fact that we can only be cautious but cannot force anyone else to follow any form of social distancing or precautions. I agree that we were living on one extreme, not without reason though, and the majority of the world around us was on the other extreme. So this homecoming served as a balancer for us. After a fortnight there and visiting our families there, we came back to Bangalore but I still didn’t feel the pang as my mom came along with us. The plan was that she’d stay for a month. So altogether, we were out of our usual routine for a month and a half. Where did all that time go? Sigh!

After coming back to Bangalore, we were desensitized enough to venture out on our terms with necessary precautions. Our toddler started on the infamous terrible 3s this year and we realized that even if we wanted to, we could not keep her cooped up any longer. When back in Bangalore, she was in her territory and unveiled all of her super powers of throwing a tantrum and melting down, just because she can. On the upside, she had immensely enjoyed the trip – visiting her grandparents’ places, being the center of everyone’s attention, getting to know things outside of the 4 walls that we call home.

After a month that whizzed by, today, my mom left for her place, routine, and life. This time, I did take part in the chores unlike most other times of her visit, when I let down totally and chill. Still, she has such an impact that getting back to the grind hits hard. More than the chores, it is the feeling of being responsible and being a grown-up. Being the pivot of the family at all times. I don’t know how she does it. When she is around, irrespective of how much work I do, she is the pivot. Man, is this how she felt around her mother, whom she lost last year? She never explicitly conveyed the pain of losing her mother and just accepted the fact that her 97-year-old mother’s time to rest in peace had come. But I can understand how the realization, that you don’t have that one person who was your pivot, could be.

It is in the small things that we take for granted – switching off the lights when you forget, ensuring the breakfast is fresh and hot, making sure the bath water is just right for my daughter when she comes back from the playground, keeping my daughter’s attention so that I can cook or attend a office meeting in peace. And more that are so part of the routine, yet sometimes, I’d have to sacrifice and adjust if it is not right. You wouldn’t feel it when it is being taken care of, by someone. It hits you when you are the person who is responsible for each of these and more. I don’t know when I get to visit her place or she can plan to come to our place again . But I know it will be a while to get used to the longing in me and get going. I have a hard time being the grown-up. I do it because I have to but it does not come naturally to me. I often wonder why or how I am not as selfless or as responsible as my mom. I don’t know the answer but I do know this – I can be my own person, I can learn from my mom and I can strive to be the best for my daughter.

Until later 🙂

Recreating memories

By this post, you would know that my interest in cooking is fairly recent. It still is a chore for me on most days but I manage to get by knowing that I can cook up a delicious meal, when needed. Anyway, as I made my way through different dishes from amma’s culinary repertoire, trying one at a time, I realized that the newly discovered interest has a backstory after all. One that’s so obvious that I am surprised that I missed it.

I miss my mom and her cooking.

Though this has happened when I first moved out from home to my hostel, then dealing with various cuisines of PG food (ugh!) throughout my spinster life and so on. I have missed amma’s cooking earlier too but that was different. This time, with each of us locked in different cities in the pandemic, it’s been a while since mom got a chance to pamper me and my daughter I got a dose of her pampering. It’s amazing how she never gets bored with cooking and always has the energy to cook up something delicious.

Anyway, this week as I tried my hand at making Vaazhaipoo urundai (A type of falafel made from banana flower), Vaazhaithandu adai (A patty with banana stem – a variant of the first dish), paruppu dosai (My favorite dish with coconut chutney, always ready when I visit home from hostel), Mushroom curry fry, Masala dosa and many more of mom’s signature dishes, the aromas wafting through my kitchen reminded me of my childhood memories, particularly around food that I enjoyed the most as I grew up. I could just close my eyes and see amma working her way around in that dingy kitchen of the monumental house that I grew up in.

Amma in the kitchen was the norm for us. I was a pathetic daughter who didn’t help around much, I did an odd chore here or there but that was it. Yes, I do feel bad that I didn’t do more for her. I would ask her why she keeps at it and how she is not bored day after day, doing the same chore and she would reply, “You enjoy the food, right?” I couldn’t imagine the level of selflessness it took to have that attitude, even if it is for one’s own daughter.

For more than 30 years, she has never tired of the kitchen and cooking. Every time I cook something, my mind automatically compares it with amma’s. The comfort of childhood memories with amma combined with the comfort of food just makes my heart fill with content to the brim. That’s probably what made the experience better for me with time – else I was unhappy that I had to work to develop the interest unlike amma for whom it just came naturally.

Of course, there is a benefactor to all this – my daughter. She is happy that she is getting a variety of dishes as opposed to the mundane routine of rice and sambhar. I don’t think I’ll ever get over amma’s cooking, no matter how old I get. I hope my daughter retains some of these memories as nostalgia when she’s all grown up. I am surprised that she, unlike me, shows an interest in cooking and household chores at such an young age. She loves sitting in the kitchen and watching me cook. And narrating the recipe to her as I cook does make the chore less boring. Sometimes, I put on music and we do a bit of dancing jumping around as well.

So if my daughter looks back at one of these evenings and thinks of it as fondly as I think of my mom in the kitchen, I’d consider it my greatest reward.

Until later 🙂

P.S: Maybe, I should start posting some recipes. Lemme think about it.

How can I not?

To the best mom ever,

Here comes another day to remind us
Just how lucky we are to have you in our lives
It is not just our childhood you brightenedamma
But our entire life is a gift from you
With every sacrifice you made, you gifted us smiles
You made our lives easier with every step you took
Never once did you mind, nor did you mention
The dry, peeling and itchy skin on your palms
Or the black rings that covered your under-eyes
The cracks on your heel never mattered to you
Neither did the sleep you lost for the last 3 decades
Our smiles are always enough for you
Our dreams are your dreams and
Our achievements, your pride!
I have always been an agnostic
Questioning multiple religions and idols
But today I realized that I do believe in God,
How can I not? When I see you everyday…

Happy birthday ma!

Your Keirthu and Kirubha

Until later 🙂

A birthday wish to Love personified


Source: youthheaven.com


Even before I start writing, I know very well that a post would not do justice to you and your love. Yet, I wish to write about you here to fulfill that small part of expression which I can at this instant, on this special day on which you were born.

There is this famous saying – “God cannot be everywhere. So he created mothers.” It is not without reason that they say this for what you have done for me till this day can be equaled by no one. Your protective womb was not only for those 9 months when I was a fetus but for my entire lifetime. When I look back in my life, there is not one instance when you weren’t there for me – mentally, physically supporting me in all ways. When it came to taking care of the family, nothing is impossible for you.

You make all the delicacies in the world, but never once have you made them because you wanted to eat them. It is for the family, always. For all the festivities, when everyone around switched from home-made delicacies to readily available ones in shops due to lack of patience and strength, you are the only one who refuses to back off from the tedious routine of making all the sweets and snacks. For you, we are the priority over your troubles. The coconut water out of each coconut used in our kitchen,whether a mouthful or a glassful, has waited for me specially until I wake up after my lazy slumber. This happens till date. I remember asking you every time –“You can have it na? Why are you saving this for me?” Your answer is always-“You like it na? So I want you to have it”. Every dish that you make is heavenly because I know there is that extra ingredient of your love which makes it so.

I can never comprehend how you work non-stop starting at 5.30 AM till 11.00 PM. You must really have some super-power! I look at your strength and my jaw drops. Not once have you lied down saying that you are sick even when you had health issues. It was me, Anna or dad who found out you were not feeling well and forced you to rest. How could you not get fed up with the annoying fights between me and bro when we were young? If at all you were strict with us, it was for the sole reason to teach us the value of a sibling, to discipline us. I now realize how much you have struggled to ingrain every aspect of discipline in us and at the same time pamper us where possible. How you brought the 2 aspects of parenting together is something that amazes me still.

Where do you get that patience to listen to my incessant blabber about school stories, college stories, how I fought with my friends, how I made up with them, who said what etc? When I first rode a cycle, then a two-wheeler, when I learnt swimming, when I won prizes, when I started earning, for every single milestone I reached, the look on your face – It was as if your life’s purpose was fulfilled. The ways you try to learn to use the computer, the doubts you ask.. It’s funny for me sometimes, but I always know it is a big deal for you to grasp the fast changing world and technology. But you do, for us. The world may outgrow you, but we never will. Anna and I will always be kids to you. The world may grow so much in technology but there will never be a time when mankind can invent anything even closely equal to a mother’s love.

I don’t remember a single time when you have ever wanted anything for yourself. Any sari that I certify as nice will be saved in my wardrobe though I don’t prefer saris. Your explanation would be “You might be interested in wearing them in future. So I will save it for you.” I have pestered you with the question-“How can you give away everything without any wants for yourself?” And your answer remains-“You will understand when you become a mother.” Frankly I am scared how I will be as a mother. The responsibilities you shoulder, the sacrifices you make, the pains you bear, all these seem impossible to do. Yet you are here, doing everything I call impossible, showing solid proof for who a mother is.

Your immovable confidence in me and my decisions made me stronger and more responsible. You gave me the freedom to fly high though you were scared to do so. You wanted me to experience everything life has in store for me. You understood the freedom of voicing my opinions especially well since you have never had the chance to in the society you grew up. The way you supported me when I expressed the biggest decision of my life..Despite your fears, hesitations and protectiveness, all that mattered to you was my happiness. Throughout the struggle, you prayed with me, cried with me, smiled with me, fought for me and finally won it for me.

I know you don’t give importance to this day, the day you were born. But how can we not celebrate the birthday of the soul of our family? Happy Birthday Amma! You are the best mother one can ask for. I can keep writing and there are not enough words in any language to describe your selfless love. So I end it here with my personal note – “With just a single call of “Ma” all my needs have been fulfilled, all my sufferings soothed, all my wants pampered, all my dreams made true. I may fly higher and higher but never beyond your reach. I may change with the world but never so much that you don’t know me. For you, I will always be the kid that you know me to be.”