Short Story Mothers Day
by Prema Sastri
My dear mummy:
It will soon be Mother’s Day. Instead of sending the usual thorn stemmed roses, and card with cough syrup sentiments I am writing to tell you how I really feel about you.
I would have told you long ago: Only, I never got to complete my sentences. You always knew what I was going to say, and cut me short. That’s you all over: one step ahead.
The tragedy is that you never stopped me from doing what I wanted. The result was that I no longer wanted to do anything.
I wore tight jeans and tank tops, knowing that you wanted me to be elegantly dressed. You bought me clothes that you thought were suitable. I rolled them up, and threw them in the cupboard. I had no intention of letting you impose your taste on me.
After I graduated from a top womens college you asked me whether I wanted to study further. I said I wanted to work. I felt you were trying to fulfil your lost dreams of higher education through me.
You found me a job with a public relations company. It was near the house, offered good pay, and was the career I had asked for.
Soon, I hated the boss, the job and all that went with it. I left and got another position, in a bigger company. In due course I was fired.
If you had been angry with me I could have borne it. You said nothing. Instead, you implied I had failed in my career by searching for a suitable boy. It did not work.
I got a job in a distant city. I married the man of my choice. That did not work either. It’s because of your bungling that I am alone.
You once asked me what you had done wrong. As if you did not know. You made iddlis though you knew I hated them. But then I hated anything you did. I hated your serving me. No matter what was on the plate I pushed it aside.
My brothers praised you and fell in with your plans. I put
them wise to you. You liked to be a martyr. Once we were playing ball outside your bedroom window, while you were having an afternoon nap. When we came in we saw you crying. You said you had a migraine headache. My brothers consoled you. I made them realise you were putting on an act, because you could not bear to see us laughing, and having fun.
You made us feel small.
Once we had gone to Bombay on a holiday and did not visit your aunt, as you had asked us to. We heard you talking to her on the phone, apologising on our behalf. It was your way of putting us in the wrong.
We discussed your behaviour patterns. You asked us siblings to help and protect one another. It was an attempt to find out more about us.
Daddy hated you. He never said so, but averted his eyes when you came into the room. You would rush up to him all smiles and chatter. He responded with silence. You retreated, confused and hurt only to come back and repeat the process. You never learned your lesson.
You have many friends. They tell me of your brilliance, your charm and the great expectations they have of you. They do not know you. You are not cut out to succeed. You have no spine.
When we throw stones at you, you crawl into the ground like a snake, to come out only when we have gone. Every time I phone you I feel you stiffen. You say the same things. “God bless you. Everything will be allright.” Both of us know they never will.
Daddy is no more. Your children are in far away countries. You live alone. I pity you. Perhaps I envy you.
I’ve written this letter. What’s the use? You’ll pretend it never happened. You’ll carry on playing mother, no matter what we do. It’s a role you cling to. It makes you feel superior, and puts us in our place.
I’ll tear the letter into pieces. Mum, you get the roses and the card. Nothing will change.
Happy Mother’s Day.