So today is mamu’s birthday. She told me this morning. I was sipping tea and we were talking about useless things and suddenly she told me that it was her birthday. Like no big deal. But I felt as if she was dropping a bomb.
Many times I feel like I don’t know my mother. I know what she likes to eat and how she likes her aloo fries or her clothes or which brand of sunscreen she likes. Maybe this is suffice for many but for me it will never be. I want to know her dreams (she claims not to have any), her fear (well maybe I know a little bit of it) and what she was like growing up (yes, she has told me about her childhood antics a lot but couple of stories are never enough to last a lifetime, are they?). My mother refuses to get interviewed even by me. The moment I start the recorder, her answers go from long elaboration of her days to short yes or no. Maybe I don’t know how to interview her at all.
But today is her birthday. And unlike dad’s, whose birthday falls on the birthday of a so-called-god, my mother’s birthday is usually lost in the dates. When I was a kid, I knew her birthday was in Bhadra. When I was in my college, I noticed that it fell near Nepali Father’s Day. For last five or more years, it was Baa who reminded all of us of her birthday. “Aa weu sombar ka chhangu jarmani” he would say.
But this year, there was no Baa. And this year, there will be no celebration. And maybe that’s why it was no big deal. Because this year, she too found out about her birthday only on that day.