It’s been 35 years since our dad, and mum, became our dad, and mum. I surprised my mother today by interviewing her. When I brought my notebook, and pen, and sank in the divan, she laughed. She was embarrassed. “You love asking questions, don’t you? Then, why did you quit journalism?” she wondered. I gently reminded her that it was my turn to interview her. She guffawed.
Mother is usually chatty. She talks about everything under the sun, and often asks me about how computers, and Internet work. Although she uses Facebook, Whatsapp, and Instagram on her phone, she hasn’t befriended computers yet. She is in awe of that beast. “Computers! I think I will never understand them,” she often observes. “Amma, it’s not rocket science,” I motivate her. She shakes her head, and mutters under her breath, “Now, what is ‘rocket science’?” That’s my mother. She is incurably curious.
But, she became taciturn, after I began interviewing her. She offered answers carefully, like most celebrities whom I interviewed. “Amma, this interview will not make headlines. Be yourself!” She laughed heartily, and agreed to pour her heart out.
An excerpt from our chat:
It’s been 35 years since you married Appa. What do you like/hate about him?
Wait. Will Appa read this? I do not want to hurt him after all these years, you see. I like the way he surprises me. Gentle gestures, and gifts. He is the most thoughtful person I have ever met. Family has always been the prime purpose of his life. What I hate about him is that he uses 10 towels a day. (She whispered.)
Amma, you went to work when we were in school. How did you strike a balance between work, and home?
That was the most difficult phase of my life. I used to wake up at 3 AM, and I was perennially sleep-deprived. What kept me going was the fact that I was doing it for my family. Also, I am talented. You know that by now, don’t you?
Whom do you like more? Krithika (my elder sister), or me?
I know why you wanted to interview me. I love both of you. She is more social. You should also socialise more.
What do you like/hate about yourself?
I love my determination. I am so determined that I cannot believe it myself. If I weren’t determined, it would have been hard for me to raise two bratty girls. What I want to change about myself is I want to talk less.
The most memorable day, Amma?
Since it’s my wedding anniversary today, should I say that I will never forget the day when I married your dad? But in truth, I cannot forget the day when my mum passed away. It’s been more than a decade. But, the pain is still fresh.
Whom do you love the most? Calvin or Boo?
Calvin. Not that I do not like Boo. But, he was our first dog. I miss him. Terribly.
One wish that is close to your heart?
I want to speak English. Perhaps, the only regret that I hold is that I didn’t learn English, and I have lost so much time already. (Of course, I hugged her, and told her that one is never too late to learn.)
What is your darkest fear?
I don’t want to die after dad. It doesn’t mean that my daughters will not look after me. But, I shudder at the mere thought of envisaging a life without your dad. (I tell her that it is a cliched answer, and she tells me something about not understanding marriage and all that. I chose to weed it out.) 😉
Today, when you look back, what do you think of your life?
It’s been beautiful. It’s been bumpy, hard, and sometimes unfair. But, it’s been beautiful all the same. I am content, and I know that I am loved by my family. However, this stupid diabetes… I want to get rid of that.
Amma, whom do you love the most? Krithika or me?
AGAIN? You are interviewing me to get an answer for that question right? Understand that some questions do not have answers. You have to accept.
After the interview, I stuffed my face with the delicious cake that my sister sent for my parents’s wedding anniversary, and reluctantly left to work.
Thank you for reading. 🙂