Amma’s 80th Birthday

A session at the gym and my body is protesting. I haven’t done anything more or unusual than I have been doing on a regular basis before my month long hiatus. Even when Piero was putting me through my paces I haven’t had it this bad. I take it easy and nurse my aching muscles. 

It was Amma’s 80th birthday. The plan was to celebrate it together with Asha but it didn’t quite work out. I was there for the English birthday. Asha will be there for the Malayalam star birthday and we had less than a couple of days together to do something special. 

On Monday Amma was busy cooking and in between getting ready for her trip with Asha. They were going to drop me off at the airport and then start their ten day tour of Amritsar, Rishikesh, Haridwar and Nepal. Asha and I sat there twiddling our thumbs as Amma ran around getting everything ready. I looked at Asha and wondered if we should be doing something to help. “Does your kid do anything when she comes to visit?”, she asked nonchalantly. “No”, I replied. “Well, then”, she replied with a shrug. We sat back and carried on enjoying the moment, being the kids, taking advantage of our mother. 

Amongst Asha’s luggage was a package for Amma. I opened it, oblivious to the fact that it was not mine to open. Taking liberties, something I can get away only with Amma. A very becoming trendy ‘Kate Spade’ handbag in a dusky blue shade. “I’m having this,” I pronounce, without even asking Amma if it is Ok and then added, “Ok, you can use it for today, but I’m taking it when I leave”. It is a present from Sobha, Asha’s Canadian friend. Amma tells me that Sobha has been sending her gifts through Asha and was very caring and loving towards her while she was in Canada. 

It takes me a while to realise. Sobha has bought her something that she needed. There I was wracking my brains to come up with a gift idea and ended up buying her something useless and Sobha has got her exactly what she needed. A bag that ticks all the boxes for her requirements and in her favourite colour too. It seems that strangers know her better than her own children. After all these years I don’t know Amma as well as Sobha does. 

As I lie back and nurse my bruised muscles I realise that Amma has more stamina than I will ever have. As she enters her ninth decade and I my seventh, I realise how lucky I have been to have her as my mum. I have taken her for granted all these years. She’s always done everything for us without asking, taking care of us and making sure that all our wants are fulfilled. She thinks she won’t be reborn again as she’s achieved everything she has ever wanted, but I know that there is one wish she hasn’t fulfilled. And that is to become a teacher. For me if there is another life, I know who I would want as my mother. Hopefully I can take a leaf out of Sobha’s book and be the perfect daughter that she deserves, but knowing me I think I will be exactly the same and will take full advantage of her all over again. 

I wonder if I will get that chance. While the Gods make that decision, I for one need to get back into shape again. 

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