According to a recent scientific study about the human race, mothers are kinda sorta important in life. They spend their lives caring for the next generation, spurring them on to go forth and conquer and also get a haircut and what is that shirt you’re wearing and what you’re going to a party you must be doing drugs are you doing drugs tell me the truth I’m your mother I always know when you’re lying to me (Hah. No, you don’t) and oh god who will clear these plates DO I LOOK LIKE YOUR SERVANT OR WHAT OKAY DON’T ANSWER THAT YOU CHEEKY BAS… well, you get the idea.
On that joyous Mother’s Day note, I’d first like to say to all the mothers reading this – and I mean this in the nicest possible way – you’re insane. Why else would you sign up for what is essentially a lifelong unpaid internship at Stress and Sacrifice Pvt. Ltd.? I appreciate the work that you do, not because parenthood is some noble, holy endeavour, but because the whole thing looks extremely difficult. (This is also my approach towards jazz performances. I have no clue what’s happening, but it looks tough, so it must be good.)
This would also be a good time to talk about a subject that I’m clearly an expert on: pregnancy. I’ve reached that age where half the people I know have started having kids (the others have started getting cats). So my Facebook is plastered with typical baby albums with those typical baby album names like ‘My angel!!’, ‘My little bundle of joy <3’ or ‘The Systematic Destruction of My Hopes and Dreams. Awwww.’
But I find it odd that we see pregnancy as routine and commonplace. When your friends say, “Hey, we’re having a baby!” you just smile and reply with the usual “Congratulations. I guess we’ll never see you again.” And sure, pregnancy seems simple enough. You have sex and nine months later, you have a kid. Or if you’re Haryanvi, you have a son. Simple, right?
But in my head, pregnancy is amazing. It’s almost like a magic trick, so when I meet an expectant mother, I’m normal on the outside but there’s a voice in my head going, “HOLY CRAP, LADY! THAT’S CRAZY! HOW ARE MORE PEOPLE NOT AMAZED BY THIS? First there were two microscopic cells the size of nothing, and they turned into a living, breathing, thinking human being that is growing inside you, complete with arms and legs and a brain and a liver and pancreas and an iPhone and its own Instagram page and a sense of entitlement and whatever it is that kids are born with these days.”
That’s not my favourite bit though. You know what I really, really appreciate about pregnancy? That I’m a guy.
(That disturbance in the force you just felt was all my female readers flipping me off in unison.)
I don’t think I’ve ever wished my mom a happy mother’s day, because why restrict yourself to one day when you have 364 days to annoy the hell out of her? Gifting is also a problem, because like a typical Indian mother, she’s pretty difficult to impress. This is how it usually goes:
Me: Look Ma, here’s a fancy dinner at the best restaurant in town.
Mom: I can make better food at home. Don’t waste money.
Me: Look Ma, here’s a necklace that was once owned by the Maharani of Jaipur.
Mom: I know a shop that can make this for one-tenth the cost. Don’t waste money.
Me: Look Ma, I bought Antilla. Just for you.
Mom: Ugh. Who designed that was he on drugs he must have been on drugs is he your friend does his mother know…
The one gift she would like is for me to be more responsible and start investing in something that is not a Jager Bomb. This pales in comparison to her other concern, which is, “Khaana khaaya?” I’m almost thirty, but everytime I see her, she will put forth this question with the urgency of Obama demanding updates on a nuclear attack, because there’s a real danger of me starving in my own home. Once again, I appreciate the concern, but I still don’t get why anyone would willingly put themselves through this. So the least I can do is dedicate this column to my mother. Because this isn’t something she can make at home for cheap.
(P.S. Thank you for everything.)
(Note: This is my HT column dated 11th May 2014.)