Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Happy Women's Day

Following is a short write-up of mine that was published couple of years back in the book 'Woman: Many Hues, Many Shades' by Satjit Wadva. Hope you will like it. Comments are welcome and because its not the exact version, my sincere apologies for the mistakes/glitches, if any.

Thank you! :)


The Hand That Rocked My Cradle Fuels My World


I don’t remember it and I can’t forget it either; I mean, her first touch.

Though I arrived in this world without any luggage of language but I don’t know how (does anyone?) I pronounced the word ma all by myself. On one hand I am still oblivious to the exact moment when that mysterious word escaped me for the first time and on the other, the sublime emotional resonance of her first touch upon my soft, ignorant and naive skin has nested – like my own conscience – within me forever. And whenever I feel the resonance of it choreographing my soul, birth seems like a euphoric swing between physical heaven and mental bliss.

The first time she took me in her hands and pressed me softly against her bosom I was subliminally connected to my identity: I was a man. The first time she offered me her milk, it transpired a realization in me: I needed a woman to provide me with the strength that epitomises a man. The first time she prepared Cerelac for me I foresaw: I’ll need a woman for my growth. The first time she took my hands and feet onto hers and taught me how to walk, my subconscious conjured: I needed a woman for the direction that eventually decides the difference between a man and a human. The first time she scolded me when I picked up foul language in primary school I learnt: I needed a woman to punctuate me. The first time she helped me with my bath I understood: I needed a woman to rinse me of all my dirt. But the incident that helped me realize the real value of a mother – probably the most significant manifestation of womanhood – happened one night when she lit a candle during a power cut.

The stubborn wind, continuously peeping in through the open windows, denied the candle flame a stasis. As a reflex, my mother placed both her hands around the flame. Within seconds it calmed the flickering flame down lighting the area properly and also those dark corners of ignorance within me, once and for all. I realized had it not been for her caring and comforting presence the flame of my existence would have flickered relentlessly under the influence of the wind of delusions and temptations. And perhaps extinguish too, way before the true potential was achieved.

My mother always looks like a mother to me. Rarely have I seen her in any other attire than a sari with a dot of vermilion between her eye brows as well as a streak of it on the centre parting of her hair. To go with it are a set of white and red bangles – typical of married Bengali women – on both hands and a gold chain – her mangalsutra – around the neck. There was a time when I thought without these one is not a proper mother!

I remember I had once asked her why she had to hit me every time I did something wrong.

“You could have explained me verbally also!”

“A stick is also a pertinent expression of love.” She said and conveniently changed the topic. Looking at her face I could very well judge it must have been tougher for her than it was for me.

Her perceptions of things are unique. And whenever I think about them at length they seem gravid with keys to some archaic locks.

For example, once a communal riot had broke out in her home town. Curfew was declared and army deployed. At midnight my mother – then a small child – suddenly was woken up by my worried-looking grandmother and asked to run out of the house. As she followed her outside, my mother enquired what the matter was.

“There is an earthquake!” My grandmother almost screamed.

“Is it Hindu or Muslim?” My mother shot back.

Whenever we get time to discuss various things, the session leaves me, more often than not, in a pensive state; embellishing my outlook with maturity all the time. Going by my mother’s confession, she wanted to study further and thereby make her own mark. But the kind of societal quicksand she belonged to trained her emotionally from her childhood to live her life within the shadow of a husband. Talent, desire, passion and the zeal to make an identity and design a personal independence – she was made to believe – doesn’t matter after a point in a woman’s life. So much so, that in the end she started believing in the faux belief.

“But how do you carry on without ever feeling frustrated?”

“A woman is tailor-made to absorb pain, right from her puberty.” She smiled and continued, “Actually a woman lies somewhere in the middle of the equilibrium between man and nature. So whatever we do or happens to us influences everything from individuals to society; nolens volens. Thus we are the ones for whom rules are made.”

My mother worships daily. And when she distributes the Prasad her eyes seem a vial filled to the brim with faith. I think this is her defence mechanism against the vagaries of life. I had also asked her what she thought about God.

“He can’t only be an idol?” I had remarked.

“God is nothing but our intentions.” She replied leaving me alone to ponder over it.

She is always surrounded with an aura that is a stentorian pronunciation of the substance that a genuine woman is made of. I have even seen one of my father’s office colleagues touching her feet! I didn’t understand that at first but as I grew up and women – in various avatars – touched my life there were instances when I tried to find my mother in them. I wasn’t successful every time but whenever I was, I felt honoured to bow down.

The most shocking thing about my mother is she does the same thing every day. And the most surprising thing is she does it with a smile. An entire life in the well of monotony! As if a mother never lives for herself. Every action, urge, wish in her is because of a surreal reaction to her family’s needs and wants.

“Were you always like this, living for others?”

“No!”

“Then is that the change a woman goes through when she becomes a mother?”

“A woman connects with the woman inside when she becomes a mother.” She had a twinkle in her eyes when she said it. I believed it was a tear but she termed it pride.

I think the greatest blessing for any flame is the hand that guards it from flickering. And how the flame burns depends, to an extent, upon the warmth of the hand. Yet sometimes we take things so much for granted that we tend to ignore the very basic element that helps – at different stages of our existence – cement the bricks of sanity together to build a healthy wall of living for us.

It’s not that I have seen my mother play only a mother. Like the different seasons she too has played various roles exclusive of each other. As if within her resides the climate of creation. And in doing so she has allowed us to reap the benefits of all the different facets sown within her.

As I continue to see her getting caressed by time, I have confessed to myself that a woman – doesn’t matter the role – is, above all, the climax of a man’s life.

*






32 comments:

rimi said...

we all owe our lives to our mothers....we as an individual hold no meaning without our mother...
very emotional but wonderful and true....loved it!!!

n B c said...

Thank you dear :)

directorsvision said...

it's beautiful... as i read it, i had tears flooding in my eyes.. i think this emotional outburst invigorates when one stays away from one's loved ones - especially mother, the basic core of our entire existence.. but the sad part is, i can't call her now because she will listen to the sobs even if i try to smile.. so might be later.. thanks for sharing such a wonderful post..

n B c said...

I can understand Souvik. Thanks for your time and comment.

antra..... said...

a woman lies somewhere in the middle of the equilibrium between man and nature...

beyond adjectives....
need I tell you how special it is..?

reminded me of my maa..my best friend,who knows me best even when i am not sure of myself...

n B c said...

Thanks Antara :D

Lebnox said...

"I think the greatest blessing for any flame is the hand that guards it from flickering."

Novo, one of your best write ups ever. So beautifully written and explained all the emotions and feelings. Tears were ready to roll down my eyes, but being a guy I stopped them. :P

Anyway, length was an issue earlier when I had not read the post, but after reading it once, I re-read it two times and would recommend everyone to read it. Wonderfully written. :)

n B c said...

Thanks a lot Lebnox :)) Coming from you its much appreciated :)

AnuRadha GarimelLa said...

"I think the greatest blessing for any flame is the hand that guards it from flickering. And how the flame burns depends, to an extent, upon the warmth of the hand."

Happy Women's Day!!!! :))
...Pious Subject - Sacred words - Dovetailed beautifully - by an Intellect's hand(Alchemist's-I'd say)- radiating its essence and aromatizing one's senses!!

Thank you for Sharing... :))
God Bless You!! and the hand(ma's = God) which guarded the flame(you).. :))
Wonder what/who's the Climax of a Woman's Life!!..or is there any Climax!

n B c said...

Good to see your comment after a long time :))

Thanks !!

You are a woman.so you tell who's/what's the climax of a woman's life??

:))

Amal said...

Trust me even if 10% of men's population understands this, the world would have been a far better place 2 live.

n B c said...

Oh yes Amal..I agree..but don't what's stopping them not to understand such a simple thing?

Vijaya said...

Heart touching......

Off course we all owe so much to our mom's but very often we are unable to realise the significance of her sacrifices.... We look down at her for not knowning things we knw, we shout at her for caring about us.... but still when we are in pain the first world which come out from hearth is "MA", coz she is the only one to have the healing effect......

The note written really capture the role Ma played in our life..... "I think the greatest blessing for any flame is the hand that guards it from flickering."

Thanks for Sharing Novoeen.

n B c said...

Thanks for your comment Vijaya!

Amal said...

Its been a long time no new write up 4m u!!!! Waiting desperately for it....

n B c said...

Amal, I generally update once a month .. so would be posting next something anytime in April.. :)) So please keep visiting !!

Gaurav said...

For the first time I came to comments first before reading a post... hindered by its length... and now am getting hindered by tears which rolled down many a eyes...
I can't read it but know it has to be a master piece...

n B c said...

Thanks but would request you to read it once Gaurav whenever you have time !!

antra..... said...

can i just say...i read it again and loved it again....one needs to give your work two or even more reads to totally live it.....lovely!!!!!

antra..... said...

and if I may say,climax of a woman's life is when she is appreciated by the people she sacrificed her wishes and also lived her life for..

n B c said...

Thanks for pouring in Antara ... and also for re-reading it :P

Jyoti said...

your words were lyk a kick in th ass. you knw we knw wid every breath we tk dat "MAA" is nt a 'something', nt even a 'someone' easy. forgetting th morals of punctuality is embedded in us so punctually, we alwaz ol most do remember nd realise her worth wen its too late.... ol though its late for me... its nt too late thanks to ur post.

n B c said...

Thanks Jyoti!

Basil said...

took sometime to read, but that I did. You see, I pictorise the scenes, hence take time. And besides, I am firmly in belief to the thought that each passing moment must be spent qualitatively. I am sure words failed your mom when she read 'this ode of sorts'

n B c said...

Thanks for the comment Basil!

Rimly said...

That was a beautiful tribute to a mother. I just finished your latest book and somehow it continues to haunt me, so I decided to come and check your blog. For so young a person you are truly a very sensitive and deep writer, guess the credit goes to your mother. Your writing really cuts deep into one's soul. Following you now. I have a blog too. Do visit if you have the time.

http://rimlybezbaruah.blogspot.com

n B c said...

Hey Rimly..thanks a lot for your comment and appreciation .. Yes, a mother and father both play an important role in shaping one up...so did mine !!

I did drop onto your blog and found the 'stupid question' post funny .. will keep visiting it from time to time .. keep it up .. and keep writing !! :)

aditi said...

in one word "deep" :)

n B c said...

Thanks Aditi!

medha said...

"I realized had it not been for her caring and comforting presence the flame of my existence would have flickered relentlessly under the influence of the wind of delusions and temptations. And perhaps extinguish too, way before the true potential was achieved." i fell in love with these lines! beautiful and dramatic use of words... forces you to keep on reading. An emotional post...

medha said...

"I realized had it not been for her caring and comforting presence the flame of my existence would have flickered relentlessly under the influence of the wind of delusions and temptations. And perhaps extinguish too, way before the true potential was achieved." i fell in love with these beautiful and dramatic lines... this post keeps the reader engrossed leaving a smile on the face as one comes to the end...

n B c said...

Thanks a lot Medha!