My mom is mighty upset with me...
I didn’t notice it first. Those eyerolls, those curt responses, those avoiding of the eye contacts....
I stay very close to the house where mom lives with my bro. Very frequently I visit her and take care of her needs. Take her to hospital when required, get the bank passbook updated when needed, hold her hands when she has to come down or go up steps...
You know, the loving, dutiful son...
So I ask why she was irritated.
“You do not love me”, pat comes the curt reply.
“What? I don’t understand. How you have decided that I do not love you? I take care of you. I am always there for you at the other end of a phone call and at 10 minutes distance from you. I regularly take you for hospital check up. I spend my entire day just talking to you. I dedicate time, effort and dole out affection for you. So how? Why? What?...”, I am all flustered
“You don’t tell me that you love me. That means you do not love me”, she points out
“What kind of argument is that? Where is that logic coming from?. As you know, we are shy communicators in our family. Even you never mentioned to dad that you loved him, but you did, didn’t you? I know you did. Just because I do not explicitly state that ‘I love you’, it doesn’t mean that I don’t love you. If I do not verbalize my love, it doesn’t mean that I don’t care for you. What if it is the other way? What if I keep telling you that I love you, but I ignore and insult you. Shouldn’t you be basing your opinions on my actions and not words? Anyway, where is this coming from?” I am really curious
“From TV”, responds my mom, “Today I was watching TV and those fellows were mentioning that you have to say ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’ to prove your love and affection for the country. If you don’t say that, it means that you do not love your country.”, she says
“What about ‘Jai Hind’? Our troops say that in the borders. They do not say ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’ out there”, I point out.
“No, doesn’t matter. As per them, you have to say ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai”, mom informs me.
“Also Remember( I tell her plaintively), I and millions like me, spend better part of our lives working for Public Sector companies in various part of the country, sacrificing our family, our personal growth and our happiness for the betterment of the country. We may not be hyper communicators, but no one can deny the intensity of affection that we have for our country. What about the jawans out there in enemy lines? Do they also have to prove their patriotism by chanting 'Bharat Mata Ki Jai' once they become civilians? Many people like me work in different countries providing IT Services and the dollars that we bring through my effort go to improving the financials of the country. We donate to charity so that we too can share the responsibilities of being a citizen of the county. I pay taxes regularly both direct and indirect. I obey laws, I reproach those who disobey, I admire and respect the institutions of the country. All of that should prove my love for the country, shouldn’t it?”, I ask her
“No”, my mom responds curtly, “your actions do not mean anything. Only words matter”.
“So, from today, if you do not tell me ‘Meri Mata ki Jai’ every morning, I will consider that you do not love me. That you are not patriotic to the family. That you do not respect all our ancestors who laid down their lives for the family. I don’t care for what you do, I don't care that you regularly pay obeisance to your ancestors, I don't care what your actions are, I care only about words, only words matter.”, mom is pretty tough today.
“If I have to tell you ‘Meri Mata Ki Jai’, you will have to promise to tell me, “Son I love you”. I am in a mood for haggling.
We agree. I have been telling ‘Meri Mata Ki Jai’ and she has been telling 'Son I love you' first thing in the morning for the last two days. It has become a part of our daily routine, much like morning cuppa.
Having to prove your love to your mom every day is turning out to be tedious.