I know it seems to be a fad to say Mummy, I Love You…and we reserve a special day to say so.
I always thought my mum was a bit timid, always solicitous and witty. As I grew up, I realized that my mum was unique in every way. She was not timid, she was just soft spoken and diplomatic. Having a brood of four and working is never an easy task. She was always busy, but she always took it in her stride that we were different and independent and this instilled a lot of confidence in me. Her witty comments were always a product of sharp observation. She would make us laugh with her observations and use it to correct us. It was her sense of humour that kept her sane.
She was geographically challenged. She had no clue as to where each road was or how we got to a certain place. Sometimes, she would be so deep in thought that certain things escape her notice. One such incident was when she was coming back from work one evening in my dad’s old Mercedes (Aka. the Merc). Being a car with a manual gear, it always took time for her to get the gear in place. That evening, while she was putting the gear in place, the car stopped in front of the signal and refused to stir. Poor mum, she was so hassled. ‘What to do?!’ She was not sure as to how she was to push the car to the emergency lane which was three lanes to the right. So, she tied up her dupatta and after putting the neutral gear began to huff and puff and push. I must mention at this point that it was a funny scene. The car refused to budge and mum looked like she has pushed a rhino.
A couple of young guys took pity on her and helped her to get the car to the designated area. A mechanic was called in and the problem got sorted within half an hour. She then drove home with all sorts of things in her mind. After parking the car she stepped out, locked the car and then walked straight into an electric post! The impact of bodily hitting a post was so sudden that she hugged the post to keep from falling!!
She thought she had hit someone and apologized immediately to the post. Only after the heartfelt apology did she realize that she hit a post!! An ordinary person would have lost their mind at this terrible stroke of misfortune –first being the car breakdown, second the pushing and puffing and now … hitting a rock solid electric post. But not mum. The first thing she did was look around to see if anyone had noticed her small mishap. Not a soul in sight. She continued her walk, this time carefully. She came home and said with a quite smile, “Listen kids, your dad’s KHATARA broke down in the middle of the road, I hugged a street post today … and am so lucky that the hugging incident and the apology that the post graciously accepted, was not witnessed by anyone we know.”
It took us half an hour to stop laughing at what she said and an additional hour to stop imagining her hugging the post. She was always able to take small mishaps lightly and this was really a gem of a quality. This gem always surfaced when Mum and the Merc were together.
Once, she was rushing and decided to take the infamous Merc to work. After inserting the key into the lock she found to her surprise that the door remained locked. She began to jiggle the keys thinking that the lock was jammed ….but no avail. She then went over to the other side and repeated the process with no success. Thinking that the car needed a rough push, she jammed the key into the lock again and jiggled it a bit. The door wouldn’t budge. She banged on the door and tried again.
Exasperated, she looked into the car to see if anything was causing the jam. To her horror, she noticed that the upholstery was a much darker shade of maroon and the small items in the car were not the usual ones we used. Then it struck her! She was trying to open somebody else’s car! Our MERC stood innocently a few feet away looking the same as ever. She looked around to see if anyone had witnessed the apparent attempt to break in….nope, not a soul in sight! She smiled as if she had forgotten something, started digging for something in her bag and almost ran to our car to unlock it.
That night she came home saying, “Kids, a funny thing happened today. I could have been arrested for breaking in…” and she explained trying to open the car and looking puzzled. Imagining her was really amusing. But seeing her enact the episode with the jiggling, the banging and the running with “I ducked out and ran to our car before anyone saw me….” was hilarious. We were in stitches. It was needless to say we roared over laughing all night. Poor mum, the Merc always put her in a fix.
With all these qualities, she is so unique. I know it seems to be a fad but I really mean it when I say Mummy, I Love You…
- Musings by Anney Thomas