I look with awe at the woman walking the treadmill next to me. Her third day in the gym and she is showing more energy than I am. Her ID card says 50 though her face and appearance dont. She is slightly shorter than me, about 4 or 5 kilos heavier. She is probably the only woman her age in this gym who doesnt need a weight loss program. She wipes off the sweat from her face and reaches for the water bottle, ready to go to the next machine. She catches my eye and I smile at her through the mirror, wondering why I dont resemble her at all. My mom.
Funny, to think of it now. I only got close to my mother after I moved far away from her and left to college. She had tried to the best of her ability to make me stay at home and attend a local college, something I declared I would never do. I screamed and cried and fought and finally got permission to leave home.
After my parents left me at college and went back, I realised what 'homesick' meant. It was those tears which rushed to your eyes when you heard their voice on the fone. It was all the emotions that crushed you when you realised you had just missed their call. (It wasnt the age of the cellfones yet) These sentiments didnt last long though. Probably about two weeks while I got a hang of college and the concept of ragging. Mom would always take the first oppurtunity to send me a letter. She would post it with Homeo medicines, some allergy tablets or with a dd I'd never asked for. I would read them about 15 times and carefully put them away. If she found any known soul taking the trip from Delhi to Pilani, I would get something. Chips, mysorepa, pickles and a letter in her small neat slanted handwriting.
During the holidays I would wake up early just to catch her still cooking in the kitchen, sit on the kitchen counter and narrate all the happennings of the semester that was just over. Exciting happennings, movies, plays, exams, sicknesses and eventually even crushes. I would tell her the stuff that our college days were made of while she kneaded the dough and fried the fish. She was more excited than I was when I left to France for 6 months. I taught her to use Yahoo messenger then and it became our newest and hottest mode of communication. She would be so thrilled with the smileys that chatting with her would be like a fully animated conversation, bringing a smile to my face thousands of miles away. She returned my favor. When I got back from cellfone starved Pilani, she taught her ignorant daughter how to message using the fone and how to send movie song ringtones to her number.
As a young girl, my mother was a famous dancer in Malaysia where she grew up, wearing shorter skirts and hipper styles than I have ever worn in my 22 years. As a result of which, she wanted me to have some artistic inclining. I was given the green signal to pursue many things. Karate, Dance, Music, Ikebana, painting lessons and so on. But sadly, today the only thing I can do well in public is speak. Sometimes I do feel I let her down, atleast for her sake I shouldve learnt to dance . Dance well, that is.
I have very little barriers of what to discuss with my mother. Last week, I was telling her about how some pubs in Bangalore have strippers for women's day and how much fun it would be to go see. Her motherly act lasted a few seconds, and that too only in her eyes. Soon we were both cribbing about why our home city has no nightlife. Given a choice between my mom and one of my close friends, I would take my mom out for a wild night, anyday.
To the rest of the world she is the disciplining mom. To me, she's happy that I've found the person I want to marry. She is secretly even happier that atleast he has some artistic inclinations. When my brother decided that he wants to marry his American girlfriend, he told my mom first. For she just wouldnt say no. Today she's gleefully submerging herself in wedding plans announcing loudly to her friends that her kids have minds of their own and that she's terribly proud of it.
She did join the gym for me, to give me company. Today I counted three friends I had made there, which included two guys who asked me if I was in school. My mom's tally is 8 and still growing. At this rate, i will soon be known as ' her daughter'. Not that I really mind.
She taught me how to dress, today I'm her self appointed fashion consultant. She taught me to write but it's me who writes up and dramatizes all her club speeches. There are somethings you can give back and there are some you cant even come close to. I only hope that when it's my turn, I do atleast half the good job that she is doing. Love you mom.