From ever since I remember, she’s been my teacher.
- Taught me to walk, holding her little finger;
- Taught me to talk, filling my ears with the sounds of the alphabets;
- filled my life with sugar and spice and all that’s nice so I could be the quintessential “good girl”;
- Taught me what’s right and what’s not; (E.g Wearing jeans and T-shirt was wrong:“Boys will whistle at you”, Riding a cycle was tomboyish, hence wrong; speaking endlessly over the phone was wrong; Sitting at home practising maths was right. Ok, enough!)
- Taught me manners, music, dance, art, swimming, the works;
- Taught me to respect my elders and appreciate my lineage;
- Taught me to love and care, irrespective of the relation to the person
- Taught me to cook decently
- Taught me to listen to the GenYore’s take on life
- Taught me to bear and adjust
- Taught me lessons other than those of history, geography, civics, biology …
- Taught me to fear God and believe in His powers
- Taught me that life is not easy
- Taught me to strive and never to quit in life…
(I know I missed out a lot, especially those that never made any logical sense, but haven’t the time for more.)
And a lot of things she missed out, either deliberately or forgot in her busy daily schedule, I learnt myself and learnt them well. And as far as my poor memory goes, I’ve never had a difference of opinion with her. (It’s a different issue that she imposed her opinion on all others without giving anyone else a chance). I’ve always had nasty fights. And I used to hope and pray, someday she’ll shed her teacher’s robe and don that of Ma’s. The one who pampers and cuddles and plays with her only child, sometimes even spoils her and most importantly, becomes her best friend. But alas! She missed the bus and my prayers were left unanswered.
So from ever since I can remember, I never wanted to be anything like her. Let me try and illustrate that:
For starters, she’s the world’s greatest cook (ok I know most of her kind are, but she’s really different). She can rustle up the most amazing dishes from even the tiniest possible left over or the most uninteresting groceries.
She can travel the earth and back to help some distant relation or friend, or no one specific, and do loads of other “social service”.
She can endure, adjust, compromise and yet always end up on the wrong side.
She can enthrall an audience with her dramatic much-exaggerated stories.
She can teach & preach like there isn’t a tomorrow…
Strangely enough, as I catch up with her age, I can see traits of her in me, and increasingly so, much to my utter horror. And I look for the nearest bylane to run away from this truth. More horror. All roads lead to home.
So love her, hate her, fight with her, curse her, run away from her, but still can’t live without her. Miss her mochar ghonto, muror dal, chingri'r cutlet, mince meat pie, fishcake, chicken nest, custard, bhapadoi… her pottering around and her infectious laugh.
Happy birthday Ma('m) .PS: The most important vague lesson she taught: Jotodin Ma naa hobey, bujhbey na…(Till you become a mother, you won’t know…). Learning and understanding…at the speed of light now!