My mother was born in an era where women had very little privileges, yet she stood out with her cadre, personality and fiery verbal prowess. Not the one to give up given the circumstances that she lived in, I get to hear a lot about her big mouthededness (if there is a word like that) from my close relatives. She was a fire brand and growing up I was in complete awe of her and till date I am unable to fathom, how she did it. Only if she had that tiny winy bit of courage to stand as an equal with my dad. When I look back, the ‘I will Punch You On the Face’ archetype was her way of coping and putting up that brave face for the pseudo world, telling everybody ‘I am Fine’.
She was married at 18 to my dad who was 29 then. 11 years, Phew!—that gap when I think about it, my 5 years of marital gap seems too farfetched with high degree of verbal high handedness, gigs over space, chore sharing, me-time and the new modern day couple goals. Well couple thing was unheard of then as they stayed in the confines of their in-laws goals. Even holding hands was a taboo which was equivalent to being in a coital state of affair. Talking to other males was like, ‘Are you having an affair’. To this date, now that she is 75, is still questioned on her chastity. On the other hand, my dad painted the town red. Not that she didn’t know about it, she did. All that she said was, ‘Where do I go, who would take me back, my family is so poor’.
She had immense power moments that defined her character and audacity. The moment she decided to bring me home and convinced dad that we need this child and the rest they say is a history. She stood by her commitment to bring me up lovingly with a strain of strictness and discipline like any parent of that era. 13 years with no ‘issue’ was a do or die situation for her but she turned it around with selfless deep love for me.
To this date she has never mustered courage for all the wrong that was done to her. But…this! but is a game changer, only after I realised that she was conspiring and brainwashing dad against me, again a coping strategy or a passive aggressive way of dealing with sadness and injustice. May be she is not sure or trusts me that I will be with her.
She is bitter with all that she has gone through over 50 years and I stand by her. I had a tough time forgiving her that she could do this to me, but only coming to terms that she too is a sweet soul who just wanted to have an equal foot in the door or someone like my dad to open the door for her. Only if I was mature enough then to stand by her and help her rediscover her power. She went through this all by herself; being a dutiful wife and a strong mother.
Talking to her everyday is like speaking to an unreachable government official. She maintains that stance of being in control but deep inside she knows she can never have that control.
She is and will always be “The strangest, craziest and strongest person I’ve ever met.”