It’s not that she is Supermom. She isn’t. Because, let’s face it, all moms are. It’s not even that she is my best friend/soul mate/first phone call in a crisis/emergency/celebration. Most moms are a combination of these terms. It’s not that I don’t fight with her, call her names (her name-calling skills far exceed mine), argue with a conviction that is reminiscent of a pit bull lawyer while she is as intractable and unconvinced as a trial court judge. I’ll even tell you what we most often argue about – slovenly state of closet and singletondom.
It’s just that despite it all, making up with her, ‘giving in’ to her is OK. It doesn’t feel like eating crow, or swallowing a bitter pill.
This is a running montage of what goes on when Mom and I converse. Which is pretty much every day, all the time.
Scene 1: The milk boiling
I am in the middle of researching for the next novel or on social media or actually working at my day job. The phone rings. It’s mom. She is calling from her workplace. Yep, our roles are reversed. I work from home and she goes out. And loves it (for the most part).
“Hey, honey,” I say.
“Is the milk over after you had coffee?” Straight to the point.
“Hello to you too,” I say.
“Don’t be cute with me. Did you check if the milk is over?”
“No, mom. I didn’t check. I was too sleepy and jonesing for coffee.”
“Ok. Go check now. And if it’s over, please boil a fresh packet.”
“But even if it is over, we need the milk only in the evening, no? Why boil it now?”
“Because grandpa needs milk in the afternoon at lunch.”
I roll my eyes at her. She see me. Mom has Bat vision. “I saw that eyeroll. Now go and boil the milk if it’s over. Keep the gas on low so it doesn’t spill out, and then I have to clean it when I get home. Last time you didn’t clean it properly and I had to listen to Dad about how ants were crawling everywhere.”
“Yeah I got a call from my editor and I had to –“
“Just do it properly, Ok (Insert embarrassing nickname I cannot ever live down in public)?”
“Is this why you called? To just berate me for being a crap milk boiler?”
“What? No. I wanted to see how you were doing because you told me last night you had cramps. And to tell you that the pain pills you asked me to buy are in the medicine cabinet.”
I sigh, breathe deep and let the love flood out the momentary annoyance. “I’ll go see if the milk is over.”
Mom 1 – Daughter 0.
Scene 2: Stuff
I get my love of all things female from the woman who birthed me. We spend hours together flipping through our phone screens ogling bags, clothes, perfumes. She loves watches and sparkly things. I don’t wear ‘em. I am crazy for sexy shoes. She can’t wear em. Our favorite pastime? Window shopping at the mall.
“Honey, I am depressed,” Mom says as we finish cooking on Sunday morning. It’s a feast. The full works. Rice, sambhar, aloo fry, papadam, pickles and curd. Standard lunch fare on Sundays. The papadams are like once every 3 months when we really want to give ourselves a celebratory meal.
I give her a look. “What are you depressed about? Your kid is productive and happy and functional. FINALLY. Your husband doesn’t bother you too much over eating leftovers. And none of our maids are on holiday. What do you have to be depressed about? Is it work?”
She shakes her head. “It’s been ages since we went shopping.”
My jaw drops. “Mom, we bought that (insert branded retail item) just last week. And you bought like four of the (more branded retail items) two months ago. How many more do you need?”
Mom’s jaw is set. “I am working OK? I need change. I need variety. And anyway, I am not dying and leaving my money and jewellery to you, you plebe. You’ll probably melt it all down the first chance you get.”
“I probably will. There are children starving in this country. We should help them.” My eyes brighten. “Maybe you can volunteer. Donate some of your stuff. Charity begins at home.”
Mom smiles beatifically. “Sure. I don’t mind. We can start with those 3 trunks full of books in the attic that are probably moth-eaten by now. Educating children is a writer’s responsibility.”
“Over my dead body, mother!” My indignation knows no bounds.
“Then stop talking about my precious jewellery like that. You don’t know this, but it’s all an asset to be used for you.”
“But you just told me. I am not allowed to melt down the jewellery!”
“Over my dead body.” She scrunches her face. “No. Not even then. I will come haunt you and make you wear my favorite pieces.”
I roll my eyes and forget about what we were arguing about in the first place as we crack up. We have a running joke in the family – if it came right down to it, in a fire, mom would pick her precious babies to save instead of her only baby. The only baby, apparently, does not shine as much as she likes.
Mom 2 – Daughter 1 (This one is a tie)
Scene 3: The week before Mother’s Day.
“What are you getting me for Mother’s Day?” As we have already established, mom loves stuff. She loves shopping. And I love her enough to indulge her. Most times. I also love to needle her, like any quintessential, sparring kid.
“I made bestseller. I dedicated all 3 of my books to you. I think I have done enough, no?”
“I carried you for nine months and 2 weeks and you were not an easy baby to carry. You don’t hear me talking about that like it’s something.”
I am quiet. It’s true. I was a lazy baby, I didn’t want to stop sleeping even then. And, if reports are to be believed, extremely unfussy and quite content to sleep away the first year of my life. The chattering started after, and still hasn’t stopped. So mom claims.
“It is true. I am what I am because of you.”
“Praise be to God! She finally agrees that I made her what she is.” She grins and we high-five. “Then this also means that if I haven’t cleaned my pigsty of a closet it’s ‘cuz that is how you raised me to be, yes?”
I get the glare and I exit the room before the name-calling begins.
Mom 2 – Daughter 2
Scene 4: Overheard the same day
Mom talking with another mom (friend, neighbour, well-meaning relative, not well-meaning but intrusive relative).
“So glad to know your child is settled. It must be such a relief for you. Yes, we are also looking for Aarti. Yes, she is doing well. The book has become a bestseller. Yes, I am so proud of her even if I don’t get it all the time. No, she is not that old. And I want her to be happy. Her happiness is most important to me even when she drives me crazy. Yes, I hope she finds a nice guy when she does find him. But it’s ok till that happens. She has her career and we can hang out till then. I’ll miss her when she goes.”
I blink back tears. This is the same mom who tells me every chance she gets, “I will be so relieved when you leave. I’ll throw a party and send you the bill.”
I think to myself, “I’ll come straight back and join you, mommy. I’ll miss you like crazy too.”
Mom 50 million – Daughter 2
Scene 5: Dinner on night before Mother’s Day
We are contemplating not eating. Not because we go on hunger strikes or fast but because it is so hot that the idea of food is TIRING. Summer this year is killing. Well, to be fair, it’s killing every year.
“So tomorrow you’re cooking right?”
I stop eating. “Hello! It’s still dinner time tonight. Can we not talk about the menu for tomorrow right now?”
“If you’re cooking I have to prep the dal and all because you won’t get up on time and do all the early stuff, right?”
“What if I do? What if I get up tomorrow and do everything? Boil and peel the potatoes. Keep the dal for cooking and the imli for marinating.”
She gives me the mom look. “Don’t make promises you cannot keep, kiddo.”
I deflate. She is right. “So, you’ll do all that right?” I give her a one-armed bribe of a hug. We hug a lot, mom and me. And dad and me. I am a hugger as everyone who has ever met me even once, knows.
“I have kept the dal ready already for tomorrow. Don’t want to wake up and hunt for it.” She continues eating, like it’s no big deal. And I think back to everything, big and small and gargantuan that this woman has done for me. (Un)complainingly, selflessly, with no thought but thinking of what could make me happy. And I know it.
“Listen, you should know something,” I say.
“Now what?” Her tone is half wary-half curious. Usually before I drop a truthbomb on her.
“I am never leaving here till I find a guy who I can love like I love you. So you better settle in for the ride, babe. You’re stuck with me.”
She blinks. Then her eyes fill with tears which she also blinks out.
“Let’s go shopping tomorrow. If I am stuck with you I might as well take advantage of it.”
We grin. And all is well that ends well.
Happy Mother’s Day, Mommy. I made up that last part about you crying, but I know you wept with joy on the inside. Yes, I know. We are going shopping. And that’s OK. Because. L’Oreal.
Wishing EVERY single one of y’all a Happy Mother’s Day. It’s a beautiful day. And yeah, it is every day as some people keep saying, but you know what? If it were every day, we wouldn’t make breakfast for her. And she kind of deserves it. So roll up your sleeves and fork over your credit cards.
Put a smile on the woman who made us who we are today.
Till next time,
Aarti V Raman is an Amazon India bestselling romance writer who dabbles in romantic thrillers and contemporary romance. Happy Ever After are her three favorite words in the English lexicon.
Aarti graduated from Mumbai University in 2007 with a degree in Mass Media focused on Journalism which provided her the perfect background for conducting sound research on any project. But she has also worked as a copy editor, social media consultant, and commercial content writer-editor while pursuing her goal.
Aarti’s ambition of honing her craft and writing stories, particularly romances that have strong characters and stronger plots that remain etched in the reader’s minds, grew when she sold her first novel WHITE KNIGHT (Leadstart Publishing), in 2012.
In 2013, her work was excerpted in the Tamil Edition of Mills and Boon novels. And in 2014, her short story “Post-Coital Cigarette” was chosen to be part of the Rupa Romance Anthology “An Atlas of Love” curated by bestselling author Anuja Chauhan. Her last novel “Kingdom Come” (Harlequin MIRA) has enjoyed a brief stay at the bestseller lists in Amazon India. Her third book “With You I Dance” (Fingerprint! Publishing) released in April 2016 and debuted on the Amazon India Romance Bestseller list.
Aarti was chosen to be part of the Goa Arts and Literary Fest 2014 in December 2014 and The Hyderabad Literary Festival in January 2015.
She is represented by Red Ink Literary Agency, India.
White Knight: Amazon India