I had the most amazing Saturday night. It involved waiting up for a new cook to arrive from Kolkata (to cook Ma’s meals until the second operation is through – her dietary requirements have been overhauled quite a bit). It involved going to Hyper City and getting lost in the joys of jars and jars of Waitrose ‘roast sauces’ – plum for Peking Duck, Orange-thyme for fish, Barbecue-honey for meats, pesto and oregano for vegetables. It involved just lying on my bed, surrounded by piles of newspapers and magazines and books, and dipping into these as my flights fancied. Read a sentence from here, a para from there, skim over pictures from something else. I love that.
And it was topped with an experience I’d last had when I was a child. Stayed up all night talking to my mother. I’d forgotten how much I’d missed that. She is, I think, my most favorite person in the world – not because she’s my mom, but because she’s interesting. So interesting that I, periodically pull hair and slam doors. But so interesting that I could listen to her for hours. So spirited and biased and brave! If my mom ever started her own company someday, I’m pretty sure its motto would be: ‘Damn? We don’t give it.’
Sometimes I think my brother could be right. Maybe I am not her daughter, but was found bundled on the back of a dhobi’s donkey. (This story was formulated when my brother, a fat, silly boy of three, saw a donkey on Pandara Road and got excited. Thereafter everything – from his sister whose brilliant acumen he was mighty jealous of, to his imagined friends who’d reserve rides an Appu Ghar and have giantwheels specially placed near India Gate– all came on donkeys.)
Saturday night, I asked Ma if there was actually some problem with me…some problem because of which I can’t handle relationships properly.
Me: Why do some people feel I am too dominating?
Ma: And by people, I suppose you are talking about men? Why confuse me by calling them people? (chuckles at her own joke) Anyway, to answer your question – they find you dominating because you are.
Me: So, that’s my problem, you think?
Ma: Are you mad? It’s not a problem! We’ve carefully cultivated this trait. So, don’t go around changing it. I’m serious – it’s a family trait…so don’t you touch it in this new-found frenzy of self-realization or whatever else you’re learning in those stupid yoga classes. Why don’t you go running somewhere? People who run are more well-balanced.
Me (Ignoring that): No…it’s not a family trait. You don’t have that problem. I do.
Ma: The problem is not that you are dominating. Just that you don’t do it well.
Me: How does that matter?
Ma: If you dominated well, they wouldn’t be rebelling, right? Problem solved.
Me: That’s so…so… it doesn’t make any sense. How does that explain having problem with men?
Ma: Oh…problem with men, you asked…that’s obvious no…they are the problems…Why does that come as such a surprise?
Me: And I suppose your solution to that is to just dominate it all away.
Ma: That’s correct.
Me: A little too simplistic, no? Not to mention absolutely illogical.
Ma: I don’t like logic.
Me: I’m not entirely shocked…but why?
Ma: You can’t dominate properly if you get logical. Maybe that’s your problem. You’re not dominating. You’re logical. That’s dumb.
Me: You brought me up to be that way, perhaps?
Ma: No. You’ve gone on your father. See, he does yoga and all that!
And with that we giggled as the stars passed on through the night skies.