15 Years

When I originally started this post a few weeks back (just in case I was too busy with the paying job, as I type this it is October 16 at home) I had started writing about the first time I knew I was beginning to lose memories of Bapuji. It was, predictably, a touch depressing as I recalled the days that I realised I could no longer knew what Bapuji’s hands look like, or what he sounded like, or … well … a lot of things. Having crossed over the point where Bapuji has been out of my life as long as he has been in it, his presence in my life will one way or another will continue to diminish. I accept that now. I also made the decision, when my beautiful nephew was born, that I had to stop mourning for those who had gone, the child who is my father’s namesake deserves all of the love and attention that I can give him, why be sad when there is so much to look forward to and rejoice.

So instead I’m going to talk about Mum.

Every one who knew my father alway says that I’m my father’s daughter. Well aside from the obvious reasons, what they mean is that as my talent seems to lie in words and organisation, and my father’s talent lay in words and concert organisation, then it’s clear from whom I inherented my gifts.

They’re wrong, of course. Yes, I am blessed with a better than normal ability to string words together (although after reading this blog, you may well disagree) and maybe that does come from my father, but organisation? You see, while Bapuji may have been organising sports and cultural groups, concerts and business meetings, Mum was continually holding down the fort – she supported Bhai, Bapuji and the mortgage while Bapuji sent money to his family in India (and then brought them, all of them, to NZ); she played solo mum to my brother while Bapuji was serving the Indian community as President of various organisations simultaneously; she dealt with the lawyers and accountants; she was the one who would call the builders, the plumbers or the electricians if there was something that needed doing; she made sure that dinner, breakfasts and cups of tea were always ready regardless of what pressures she was under in her own full time job; for all of the accolades my father received in his lifetime, he knew more than anyone he more than owed them to her. Without Mum, Bapuji would have been a wreck.

So when he died, 15 years ago, people expected Mum to be lost, unable to find her way. Oddly enough people (and when I say people, I should say the Indians from our community) thought that because she chooses to wear a sari everyday she would be meek. They really didn’t know my mum very well. My mum is a force to be reckoned with, although a little naiive at times (or rather too trusting for her own good), Mum doesn’t suffer fools, you certainly don’t want to be on the bad side of her either, she may be small but she can put the fear of God into many a large organisation … Mum helped to bring down the Post Office … she is mighty!

She had to be, she had to bring up little, bratty me on her own for starters. Over the last 15 years Mum has, with her over abundance of love and patience: emotionally supported Bhai through the worse marriage break up any of us have ever witnessed, moving countries (and being horribly homesick) and cancer; witnessed me going through depression, love, pain, heart ache, homesickness and possibly the hardest part of parenthood: looking after a teenager as she tries to find her way into her own skin.

We (Bhai and I) don’t really say thanks that much. I’d even go as far to say, we take Mum for granted and I think it’s also pretty true that if we do take out our frustration on anyone, Mum tends to bear the brunt of it , because she’s Mum, she can, she’s still going to talk and love us in the next hour (although she will sulk and sometimes, sometimes Mum, it takes the two of us to actually get you to believe us).

Sure, I may have got a bit of the wordsmith and a touch of charm from my father, but I’m sure as anything my mother’s daughter – I’ve got her gift of the gab, her determination, her stubborness, her ability to make some companies buckle at the knees for their own incompetence. Our only point of difference is this: while I also have her ability to embrace the world with love, unlike her I also have the ability to torch the world with my scorn, we attribute the temper to be that of my father’s but the whole family also recognise that my temper is more than double of his …

So here’s to you, Mum. For the last 15 years you’ve been mother, father and friend, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I love you. I’m sorry that I don’t say it enough.



2 Responses to “15 Years”

  1. Hi Soni – Bhai here, agree with everything you have written. I guess being older I have longer memories of Bapuji so he is still close to me in that sense and still 15 years later not a day goes by where I don’t miss him, but that is life. Definitely, live for the moment, live for tomorrow and learn from the past (my learning so far and getting through C). Mum has been simply beaut, though I still enjoy driving her nuts – but I would not trade her for anyone, she’s a great mum, she has always been there for us both, and we probably do take her for granted – but she knows we love her tons and will always do so and yes we don’t say that enough to her either. 15 years is a long time, as brother and sister we have had our ups and downs, when u were small we were very close and its good to be back close to you again, I am glad that you are my sister and am proud of what you have achieved so far, and I know much more is to come becuase your a very capable person – love you tons too and looking forward to hugging you soon in Singapore. 15 years on – we are a closer family, unfortunately Bapuji is not here to see it, but I hope that he is smiling on all of us – becuase the love between us is still strong and so far has weathered many storms and I am sure will continue to be strong – love u & mum tons!

  2. Hi Sonal

    This is Mina from DTW.
    Just wanted to say loved your blog.
    Masi told me about “15 years” and how touched she was by it. She misses you lots.

    Masi is an amazing woman. I know my mom usually turns to yours whenever things are tough for her.

    Usually hear about you when I talk to her which regretfully is not very often. 😦

    You definitely have a gift for “stringing words together” as you say.
    Keep up the good work.

    Would love to hear from you.
    Take care

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