Amma passed away on the 21st of January 2015. You never know the day before that some calamity will push open your life and wind you emotionally; and that your life will change through that process in ways that are indescribable.
Perhaps it was only after my mother was no longer with me that I understand how integral a part she was in my life. Always central to every plan I made, she revelled in the fact that I would attend to her every whim and desire. I was her problem solver, I was her confidant, I was her special girl. She always told with pride, the story of how she had insisted that she wanted another baby and so of course my father gave in, and I was conceived. She chose my name and loved me through all my growing years with a preciousness that I took for granted, which made it all the more sweeter to receive.
We were like chalk and cheese! I am the serious ponderous one, who the family laments as having no sense of humour, with an eternally wagging finger of does and don't; living most of my life swaddled in my apron. Amma on the other hand was this radiantly beautiful and elegant lady with impeccable grace and taste, who could light up a room with her 100 watt smile and engage you with her wit and charm, like no other could.
I have this beautiful childhood memory of the rustle of her silk sari and the soft fragrance of her perfume as she would bend to kiss me good night. When facing legal complications at the time of my divorce, it was my mother who squarely admonished me when I felt defeated by it all. She reminded me that my freedom and liberty was an empowerment that I should never squander and that my independence was a sacred space of existence, to be valued and protected at all times. Fiercely independent herself almost to a fault, she lived her life with discipline and dignity, keeping her two daughters at the centre of her heart and life always.
As all mothers and daughters, we too fought. But these fights were always over silly issues of whether Amma was wearing her sweaters or not, or whether she was being fussy about her food, or had she skipped her exercise regime to read the newspaper instead. For all the big things that really mattered, she was my biggest fan and supporter. For her I was the best daughter anyone could have. Of course I held that crown tightly and with great pride, and loved the fact that I was the person in her life who could protect and fuss over her like no one else. I cannot attempt to describe my sense of lose. It is carried deep inside me, hidden away from all, like a secret not to be revealed. However the wisdom of my mother would have hated a moping daughter, and the funny bone in her would have tickled out a laugh at all costs.
She taught me how to live unhindered by doubts or regret…..
She was the best mother any daughter could have ever dreamt of having.
Her imprint in my life will never fade.
I hold with pride her love and delight of being my mother.