I Needed to See you Independent & Beautiful: A Daughter to her Mum

Mother’s Day special: In a house filled with boys and men, a daughter recalls how she bonded with her mother. 

2 min read

<!--StartFragment-->File picture of Natasha’s family.<!--EndFragment-->

Dear Ma,

Sometimes you would ask me what you should wear. 

I remember the plain green georgette saree you wore to my school Sports Day in Calcutta. It was an adventure for you to travel to a stadium in the centre of the city from our home. It was a weekday and Papa could not take a day off from work. 

You dressed up like a socialite, accessorising your American saree with your classy purse and sandals. You boarded buses and changed trams to watch me run the 200 metre dash. There you were, sitting in the stands, looking at me through oversized dark glasses. 

I didn’t win but we won. Both you and I won as I gazed at you from a distance. Meri Ma.

I loved to see you being independent and beautiful. I needed to see you like that.
The other time you asked me what you should wear was when I was admitted to hospital. I had multiple fractures and was recovering from a surgery to heal internal injuries. I was 12. You would spend the day with me in the hospital room and go home in the evening to be with my brothers and send them to school the next morning. Complete chaos had descended on our family.

“What do you want me to wear tomorrow?” you asked me.

I named your most vibrant saree. It was red and blue and gold. It was also georgette. You loved it too but you rarely wore it, always waiting for an occasion suitable enough for it. 

You wore it for me in hospital the next day.

“Be beautiful, Mamma. Take out time for yourself. I love you.”I guess this is what I was saying to you from my hospital bed.

Every intimate relationship has its own secret language. Sometimes we take a long time to recognise it ourselves. In our home of father, grandfather and my two brothers, you and I were the only two women. Our moments of bonding as women were few and far between and that made them all the more tender and precious. 

They stand out like an unexpected dash of colour in the landscape of my memories of you. My otherwise reticent and very busy mother.

Natasha Badhwar
Natasha Badhwar

Natasha is a film-maker and columnist. She blogs at mydaughtersmum.blogspot.in and can be reached at natasha.badhwar@gmail.com.

(The Quint is available on Telegram. For handpicked stories every day, subscribe to us on Telegram)

Stay Updated

Subscribe To Our Daily Newsletter And Get News Delivered Straight To Your Inbox.

Join over 120,000 subscribers!