You were born to a woman who at every chance made you realize that she was barely just a mortal being. “Do you think I am a goddess with sixteen arms? Do you think I am a robot?” she’d repeatedly say every time you’d ask her for a favor at the last minute. But of course, for you she was always Durga with eight pairs of hands – finding your socks, packing your bags, making your hair and feeding you; all at the same time, plus that one favor you’d ask. For you, she was a robot, she moved liked one. She worked like one. You’d never seen her resting, especially, during the mornings when you needed to leave home for the school bus at 7:30 and she needed to wake up at 4 to make it happen. But despite what you thought of her, ‘a goddess, a robot’, she always made you understand that she was just a human being.
She’d make you aware of her flaws; of her anger that spilled like blood when you didn’t do what she wanted you to do; of her greed to give you everything she never had – that extra piece of meat she’d hidden for you, that extra spoon of curd she’d poured in your plate, that extra packet of biscuit she’d left for you. Of her displeasure each time you failed to appreciate her effort to make your life easy. Of how she expected just to get disappointed again when you failed to appreciate. Of her shortcomings in understanding your world and your language. Of how she complained when you wake her up from the afternoon nap in Saturdays because you were too loud.
While your class wrote how perfect their mothers were, never complaining, always working in the kitchen silently, being the last one to eat, welcoming their kids home with smile, your mother was very far from that. You’ve heard her complain when she had to cancel her plans of going to meet her mother because someone came unexpectedly. Your mother murmured in the kitchen to herself because instead of helping her, you are busy watching TV. She is the first one to eat in the morning, when you had vacations because she had to leave for work. She wasn’t usually home to welcome you when you went back from school. She always came home with a tired face.
Your mother reminded you that she was just a human and human beings are never perfect. She is in faults. She makes mistakes: like the time she mistakenly kept the wrong notebook in your bag. She has limitations; there will be days when she can’t wake up to do her usual tasks because she has fever or headache. She can be a failure like when she didn’t show up at an event in your school while everyone else’s mothers did. She might let you down, many times. She might let herself down.
Mothers no matter how much they try to show you that they are strong, they might break down, once in a while. You might find them sad, angry or scared at how their life has turned out to be. They will ask you if they live a boring life. And you won’t be able to answer them, because you can hear fear in their voice. And that they will lie to make sure you are safe. They will say that they are feeling perfectly fine so that you don’t have to worry about them.
You were born to a woman who’d tell you stories about every battle she’d won but who also shows you scars of the wars she’d lost. Who displayed her success like awards in the wall but who will also talk about her failures. Who stood up to fight for what she thought was right but who also bowed down when her children were at risk. You were born to a woman who wasn’t afraid to show that she was just flesh and bone. And by doing so, she also taught you to realize that you were just human too. That you can make mistakes, can have flaws, can be at fault and can let people down. And it’s okay. You don’t have to be flawless and perfect. You can’t ever be that. And it’s okay. You don’t have to play by the rule book, don’t have to live the life they want you to, you don’t have to follow what they say, And it’s okay, you were born to a woman who have asked you to accept her just the way she is and in doing so, accept yourself just the way you are. And by loving her despite everything, she also taught you to love yourself, as flawed as imperfect as you can be.