Tuesday, February 27, 2007

"But She's a Mom!"

I was chatting with a friend, G, this morning and complaining that my mother, despite getting leave in order to come visit me here, was denied a visa by the UAE Embassy. Below is an excerpt from the conversation:
G: Mom coming soon?
A: Nah, it's not working. Apparently it's really tough to arrange visas for lone women
travellers :(
G: Oh god - even moms?!

We exchanged smilies and scowlies and moved on to other topics but the thought remained, of how mothers always seem like a category apart. Like they would be above doing sneaky things to damage the nation's integrity by staying on in Dubai long after the visa expired. Evidently the UAE government is on to them and in typical suspicious fashion has decided that unless they come here on work, no lone woman, mother or not, will be allowed in by herself.

What is it about mothers? I have two close friends who are members of the Mommy Club and one who will soon be joining and I can guarantee that when we talk, we are often up to no good! (Well, you could blame my corrupting influence on their mommy halos, given that I am not a Mommy.) Are mothers not separate entities?

Let me take my mother as an example. She is certainly a "mother" type. And for the first 12 years of my life, she was a full-time mother. Reminding me to drink my milk, polish my shoes, helping with homework, glaring at me over bad report cards. She looked the stereotypical mother too. Long, black hair that I loved to comb. Saree. Hot food. Medicines for fever. Band-aids as and when. Treats. Scoldings. The works. But then, after my brother was born and had grown up a little, I saw my mother embark on a desperate and determined search to find herself.

Her duty with us as a full-time mom was done. She could think of herself too. And she reinvented herself. Without ever leaving us to cold food or uncounselled teenage troubles, she went ahead, chopped her hair, got a job, began working, began earning, and became an individual. I am not saying that she was not one before. Just that seeing her metamorphose taught me that within my mother, and indeed within all mothers, is just another girl who wants to see herself in the mirror first, and a mother, wife or home-maker second.

As we grow up, grow old rather, I realise that I am changing too. I have other responsibilities. A home of my own. I am now a wife. I am someone who works, but from home, for various reasons. I am the person who has to plan the menu. I am the one who chooses the groceries. I welcome (almost always!) these mantles and try to do my best. But every interaction with my girlfriends reminds me that I should never forget what I have always been. A girl with a mind of my own.


Diligent Candy said...

Sorry that Aunty was denied a visa - can she book through Emirates and they apply for it - for her!

Who ees thees Anamika? said...

yah...we figured that one out. but it was way too expensive and then we figured that i'm going to go for a week next month. so this way i get to meet them all. and there really isnt that much to do out here...

Sandeepa said...

That was very nicely written. It was very brave of your Mom, to grow out of her sole role as a Mom for 12 years
And I am sorry that she couldn't visit you, better luck next time