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A quick tale 118

Remembering mother

Some nights I wake up wondering if your nose was as I remember it. Sharp and defined. I remember you used to tie your wispy thin hair with a string stripped from the bark of a banana tree. I used to pull it to annoy you. 'As if I have 6 feet of hair for you to play with! Go away', you would rebuke me while re-tying the sad bunch into an indistinct bundle. And your voice. A while ago, I was worried that I was starting to forget the sound of your voice. But one day, out-of-the-blue, I remembered the children's rhyme you used to sing. Something about running squirrels and yellow pumpkins. I recalled your voice in an instant.

When I look at myself in the mirror these days, I compare my reflection with your photo. Same eyes, nose. And when I brush back my hair, I can see where I get my broad forehead from. Funnily enough, I never inherited your love for coffee. They say that you used to run through the back door to your mother's house for an extra gulp. Did you really do that?

As far as I can recall, you never complained. But you had quite a temper. The other day I heard someone mention that you were an ocean of patience. How we tend to bestow upon the departed a uniformly genial disposition. As your first born, I often bore the brunt of your short fuse. You would pinch me on my thigh and I would howl with pain. I only have to close my eyes and it stings even today. I cannot believe you have been gone for so long. I still remember telling the younger ones that you will be back soon. Because it was getting dark and you would never stay out after sunset. I refused to believe that you were not coming back. I was angry at you for a long time for neglecting us. But at nights, I would talk to you. I told you about my graduation. How I took up father's profession. My wedding. The birth of your first grandchild (he was still born). I named my daughter after you. I tell her that she looks like you. May be I just want her to look like you. She is a wonderful mother. Even if she pinches her little boy on his arm once in a while.

My father lost his mother 50 years ago this Tuesday. He was a teenager then. This is an imagined piece.

Comments

Rubic_Cube said…
Ammani... only one word. Wow! This piece touched the deepest parts of my heart. Yep! Mum's the word... They dont say just like that... "Mata Pita Guru Deivam". Mum's come first. Then the rest of the world.
Suze said…
Beautiful piece of writing!
dogmatix said…
Classy. I liked this one a lot. Remembering a mother in the most honest way. I never buy the general 'mothers are beautiful angels' theory. They are all different. Sometimes mothers are ugly and some can have a she-devil side to them. But no one can love u more unconditonally. even if they 'pinch' sometimes.
ashok said…
ammani-jr writing about Ammani-sr...beautifully written
Anonymous said…
Hi Ammani,

I have been a regular reader of your blog. After the initial few wonderful articles, I got the feeling that you were writing to merely get better at the exercise than to convey a point. Don't take me amiss: the pieces were still very very good, only they lacked the sting of the initial gems. But here, you are really back to your best! This piece really affected me more than any of the previous many. Maybe you should write more about issues that really affect you as a person. As is with most writers, they bring out the best in you.

In order that my feedback remains strictly what I feel, untempered by political correctness,

I remain,

Anon
Ms Ch said…
Your best by far. WTG
Mahadevan said…
One of your finest Blog. A great imagination. You sustained the reader's anticipation through out and the great denoument that it was your father's imagined reverie.
Zero said…
Too good; So good that my writing about how good it actually is, is very very futile.
harry said…
i like this! i like the way u write! keep it up :D
Thangachee said…
Paatti-yin tidhi week-il idu nalla oru anjali.

Kozhandayai killadhamma!
(ennai killinadu poraadha..*ayyo valikkardu*)
Cherie! said…
"Ashwaq" is the word that comes to mind. Poignantly melancholic.
tilotamma said…
na eppo azharen
Sue said…
Its a wonderful post! One of the best I have come across in your blog..
apu said…
It is one of your best...poignant...
Anonymous said…
ammaa - nee !
-Raapi

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Bio-data

Married for 31 years, 2 months and 17 days
Six cups coffee a day, brewed everyday of marriage
Three meals a day,
At least two dishes cooked, each meal-time
One snack for every Sunday
Big basket of clothes ironed every Tuesday
Average 18 items of clothing washed per day
Three children
1 miscarriage
One mother-in-law suffered
900 sq metre of floor space mopped, once a day
One caesarean endured
3 chicken poxes, 2 measles, 2 fractures, 8 diarrhoeas, depression, conjunctivitis every summer, 1 tonsilitis and countless common colds and flues
1 job held for 29 years
6 hours slept every night
Sex tolerated every 2nd week
Religious rituals everyone of them, carried out
Not one of them, believed in
Lived 52 years and some
Died exhausted

Overheard, “At least she had the satisfaction of having lived for her family”


http://jikku.blogspot.com/2005/02/quick-tale-3.html#c111042815438237631

The Saturday Poem

Found this in yesterday's paper. Again, I wish I'd written it.

-a

Now and Then

"Now that I'm fifty-seven",
My mother used to say,
"Why should I waste a minute?
Why should I waste a day

Doing the things I ought to
Simply because I should?
Now that I'm fifty-seven
I'm done with that for good."

But now and then I'd catch her
Trapped in some thankless chore
Just as she might have been at
Fifty-three or fifty-four

And I would say to her
(And I have to bite my tongue)
That if you mean to learn a skill
It's well worth starting young

And so, to make sure I'm in time
For fifty, I've begun
To do exactly as I please
Now that I'm thirty-one.

-Sophie Hannah

Lost in Post

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My fears that you would be overshadowed by your brother have proven unfounded. Over the past year, you have come into your own as a person. Your brother demands and challenges our love and attention. You, on the other hand, are much more accepting of our distractions with him. It is almost as if you understand that he is used to being the star of the show for much of his…

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-

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