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Remember that scene from the movie Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge where Simran tells Raj about her family? Am not all that sure but I think it goes something like this – “Ghar mein bas hum char hain. Chutki apni umar se kuch jyada hi badi hai ….. Aur maa, friend jyada maa kam!” (It’s just the four of us at home– Chutki (my sister) is way older than her age…and mom… she’s more a friend than a mother…)
Well, growing up, this was very similar to how things were with me and my Mum. She was my trusted friend and confidant. Always the first to know of my new friends, my first crush, my first heartbreak; my favourite actors, movies, books – just about everything! She was and continues to be the keeper of my secrets and knows of all that really matters to me. Our relationship has been such that I have never felt the need to keep anything from her. Despite the age difference between us, she could understand things from my perspective. Be it a mention about children trying out smoking behind the school or about girls and boys sneaking away in corners where they could stay unseen for hours, she never once made me feel uncomfortable or bad that I was noticing these things or that I was thinking about them or was curious about them.
No matter what the discussion was about – boys or cigarettes or wine or sex – Mum always addressed my curiosity; and at the end of every discussion with her, I had the feeling that I now knew something new and good. That is not to say that we didn’t have our typical mother-daughter moments, of course we did – there were dresses that she expected me to wear and there were dresses I preferred instead; there was always hair to be done a certain way and of course, how can I forget the one about ‘expected social behaviour’ on my part vis a vis my real behaviour; and my teenage was surely the time when Mum almost lost it! But despite all that, my friendship with Mum continues till date even now that I am a mother myself.
In fact, as a mother now, I look up to her all the more. But that is now. Before I got confident in this “mom-skin” though, I used to get these serious doubts – what kind of a mother would I be? Would my little one want to be friends with me? Would I have long chats and discussions with my little one the way I have always had with my Mum; and more importantly – would my little one really think I make a difference to his/her life the way I am confident Mum made to mine?
Of course, once my little one was born, the first few years went by like a breeze! Even when he started school, things were still fun. But when he started grade-school, I began to worry again. Grade school is a whole different thing. Needless to say, all my worries about being a friend to my little one returned with a vengeance.
This was the case until recently, when we were watching TV one day and an advert came on about how smoking is injurious to health. We both saw the ad and he asked me, “Mum when people know smoking is so bad and causes all these serious diseases, why do they still continue to do it? And why do the shops not stop selling cigarettes in the first place so that people don’t buy them?” That day we had a good long discussion about how smoking is bad and how it should be avoided at all costs; but that it is so addictive that you just can’t quit it that easily once you start and on and on we went.
That day I felt like life had come full circle – here we were, my little one and I, having a long chat just the way I used to have with Mum! This was awesome, that my little one and I can now talk about anything under the Sun!
The apple doesn’t fall much far from the tree, I guess; and I am happy to have been lucky to have Mum by my side; who showed me by example how easy it is to be a “buddy” to your children rather than just being “Mom” all the time.
We always want to give the best to our children and what can be better than our attention and availability for them? I know I have the rebellious teen years ahead of me still, and if my own teenage is any indication, then I know I am going to have my hands full! But right now, here I am, opening the doors of friendship for my little one with the hope that we stay friends for life, the way I have with my Mum! Here I am hoping with all my heart that the legacy continues…