Friday, April 27, 2007

Waking up.

Denial: (psychiatry) a defense mechanism that denies painful thoughts (Wordweb dictionary)

Yes, this post is about denial. Something that I have been denying for the past decade or so.

My mother.

Those who know the synner knows that he rarely talks about family. In fact, most questions about family are met with a one liner that discourages further questioning. That is, until 30 minutes ago.

30 Minutes ago, i read my cousin's blog about one of the sweetest people in the world, my departed uncle. And that took me back a few years. Took me back to a time when i was, but a small kid, living in a happy family. A big family, that somehow, had to bear the sudden shock of the death one of its beloved members, my uncle. And recollecting those memories made me realize, 'm finally ready to talk about some stuff. so here goes: December 10, 1994. The day my uncle left us.

And exactly 2 years and 10 days later, as though by some cruel, ironic twist of fate, my mother died.

Now before we get to that part, let me tell you about my mother:
My mother, was an angel. She was the prettiest woman i ever knew. She was kinder than most people say she had any business to be. She was my teacher, my best friend, and of course, my worst enemy, when we fought.

She woke up at 4 in the morning, coz my grumpy old Grand father(quite the character actually. But 'l leave that for another time) insisted on hand boiled water at 4.30, so that he could go visit the lord just as the temple opens. Sometimes before .

She was a talented classical dancer, and juggled this life long passion even after marriage and 2 kids. Try as she may, my sister will never be half as good as her.

She absolutely despised smoking and drinking, yet turned a blind eye(on the most parts) to my dad coz they were in love.

She taught me the first full song i ever learned so that i could sing it on a stage. I got 3rd prize. I saw one of the happiest faces ever that day.

She would never send a beggar empty handed, no matter how much my dad scolded her. She gave not just money, but food and even cloths. If the beggar happens to be a dear old lady, 9/10 times, she'd leave only after explaining her entire family tree and a synopsis of what happened to whom to my mother.

My mother wasn't sympathetic. She was empathetic. She never cried for someone. She cried WITH them.

But enough with this. A post 100 times as big as this wouldn't be enough to let you know of the gem of a person my mother was. So let's fast forward.


December 20, 1996.

3 days to go for my 14th B' day. My favorite marble cake(which me and mom had bought from my favorite bakery, the other day. The shop owner even gave us an extra layer of icing) was safely stowed in the fridge.

I had an exam that day. English. It was my last exam (my sister had 2 more, methinks), and me and sis decided to go to the temple, which was just a few mins away.

Now usually, my mother will be busy getting ready for office at this hour. But she felt a bit under the weather that day, so decided to take a short nap after preparing breakfast. Since we lived inside the office compounds itself, this wasn't a big problem. Heh.

I was in the temple, when i felt something odd. For some reason, i couldn't remember the mantras i usually chant. The obsessive compulsive being that i am, i put my hand in the pocket( I do that a lot). And i found that i forgot change that was to be offered at the temple.

Asking my sister (she was 10. Almost.) to stay where she was, i rushed back to my house. I entered my parents bedroom, saw my mother sleeping(?) peacefully, opened the desk drawer as quietly as i can (so as not to wake her up, you see) and took out the change. Then i closed the door quietly again, and rushed back to the temple.

10 minutes later, me and my sister returned from the temple to see my dad in a bewildered state that is beyond my vocabulary to describe. He dragged us both to near our mother. And that is when i looked at her face.

She had the same calm, serene expression. But her skin: It was blue. I tried to recollect all the first aid lessons i learned in school. I sprinkled water on her face. I shook her. I checked her pulse. She had no pulse.

Some part of me already knew she was gone. But i don't think my dad and my sis(poor thing was looking like a scared puppy) knew it yet. A neighbor managed to get his car ready, and off we went to the hospital.

An hour later, she was pronounced dead. The official verdict was, my mother , a life long patient of "fits"(neural disorder), suffered an attack in her sleep, and choked on her own tongue.

My mother was gone.

That evening, with a few blocks of firewood, every earthly memory of my mother went up in flames. And a part of me went with it.

I was never the same again.


For I didn't cry my heart out a single time that day. I wasn't sad. I was angry.

I was angry at god for doing this to my family.

I was angry at my mother for leaving me stranded.

But most of all, i was angry at myself for not searching for the change in my pocket 5 minutes earlier. Coz if i had, maybe, just MAY BE, I could have reached my house in time to save her. I could have reached home when she was gasping for a breath of air. I could have done SOMETHING. And if she was to go, she could have gone holding her naughty son's hand, looking at his face.

No, i denied her all that. Just because i looked for the fucking change 5 minutes too late.

And in denial i was, since then. I completely shut off all memories of my mother from my memory. I refused to think about how big a mamma's boy i was. I refused to think about all the times she tried to feed me food and 'd just spit it out. I refused to think of the nights when she would wake up from my side to tend to my infant sister who is crying hoarse, which would lead to me crying hoarser, and my mother having the facial expression of being caught between the devil and the sea.

I refused to think about it all.

Yes, i have beaten to pulp people who have been foolish enough to crack jokes about her. But soon after that, i would shut off the memories again. I became blatantly sarcastic, so that all the tender emotions will be masked by it.

Until now.

Amma, i can't do this to you any more. You were a big part of my life, and i miss you like hell. I can't look at a photograph of your's without shedding a tear, so i refused to look at them. You taught me things that no school can teach, and you gave me love that i will never get in my life again. You were the best mother one could ever ask for, and i did disrespect to your memories by shutting them off. In fact, the whole "synner" persona is an offshoot of that denial, although i didn't call myself that name back then.

No more. From today on, I shall cherish every single moment i spent with my mother. Coz in the short 14 years she was in my life, she gave me a life time of memories. Memories that'd make many a person green with envy.

Miss you, mom. Love you.