A Memory of Ma

It's funny how nobody ever tells you this, it's almost like they're keeping it a secret. Every bride or newlywed you meet will regale you with stories of shops entered, family visits made, and dinners dined on. But nobody ever mentions this. A feeling so strong it takes over you completely...it's not the wedding itself, it's not even the moment when you look up into your husband's eye and realize "this is it...this is us, together forever."

Like most memories that make a mark on you, surely and easily like sharp metal on flimsy plastic, this memory is bitter-sweet.

It was right after all the festivities came to an end, and that flutter which "new beginnings" bring ought to set in your stomach. Instead, I found myself standing by a pillar, at home, holding back a tiny crystal of a tear. It was the pillar mum would measure my height on, marking how quickly I grew out of my frocks (summer of '94), while making sure that I grew in every other possible way. I looked out and saw the parapet wall on which mum would sit me down braid my hair, singing her favourite ragas. And at the verandah, where we'd gather around every summer and lazily eat the golden mangoes she grew (the seed with all the pulp - the best part - was always for me! Ha!)

I smiled as my heart twinged.

Growing up you always believe that the thing you crave most is freedom...as you set off outside on your bicycle for new adventures, and when you set off to meet new friends, find love. But perhaps the reason we are so confident about setting out into the big (and often bad) world, paying no caution to the wind...is because we've never seen the need to with mum around.

It was not the wall or the empty verandah that left me feeling hollow. It was the the person I was finding hard to let go off.

I looked toward my dresser, where all the jewellery (and the weight) of a big Indian wedding was strewn. I fished just one bangle out of it, the one mum had passed on to me (after the requisite amount of begging, of course).

I was never going to let it go.