Mom, she is one whom I will never see physically anymore. Its been 26 days since she passed on and I am left with her memories… that is all I have
now, to reflect back. Funny, how it does not bear in mind when we are making them memories.. but how it comes to haunt us and sometimes pain us after the physical body is no more. Making it all so illusory and impermanent…

I remember : 
The first memory of my mom, she standing by the door watching me play and my aunts and dad recording my voice on a National Panasonic tape. I am maybe 2 years old, words not being able to form completely… yet

I tell her … (jao jao nana kono) go go go to the kitchen and cook.. in kiddies language..
Dad and mom teaching me how to tell give me water in “Assamese and Bengali”.

I remember : 
Me waiting with pigtails and kajal smeared on my eyes looking out of the window and waiting for mom and dad to come back from office.. and calling out with my arms outstretched to my mom’s friends to come and visit me…

I remember : 
My mom coming from office every evening and after her tea, she taking the newspaper and reading it intently. She did not want to be disturbed whereas I wanted to play with her.. or talk to me but no, she had to do her reading.. I realise now, that at that time, it was her time to unwind… and to be in her space..

She was a serious woman, but cracked humor without batting an eyelid.. and it was that which endeared me to hear her laughter more often than I used to. She did not entertain me being flighty and laughing out loud but it never stopped me forcing out many moments of laughter with her..

It was just some days before she passed on.. I was here.. at home and she was resting by my side.. To divert her from her condition, I told her some humorous things about her sister and she laughed out weakly.. and I had thought to myself.. I should make her laugh more…

I remember : 
We would have hordes of relatives coming by and she would whip up a multi course meal inspite of having a job and not miss a beat.

She would tolerate my inviting all my friends for my birthday without me thinking to give her a notice and she would make sure they were fed.

Not much of a talker, she was an extreme disciplinarian. She would be strict about my homework and well she was competitive. Well and yours truly did not have those qualities and I smile now at the rows we used to have.. I must have been a handful.

She was never much of a musician or a person who liked to stitch like other moms but she liked music and good art and craft a lot. And yet, she was the first to teach me the notes of the music and the harmonium and made sure I learnt this art well and did my practice every morning after having a glass of warm milk. I thank her for that.

She taught me how to sew my first stitches.  Making me interested in intricate patterns and learn the art of a needle and a thread. She even taught me how to knit but after a while, I did learn the art but it was never my forte.

Overall she was an introvert and I was an extrovert those days and never understood her reticence towards extra curricular activities. It used to bother me when she wanted me home with her while others played outside. But she would relent later and send me out.. but for a short time..

I remember : 
Her anger was passive and very strong. She was a Scorpion and she would behave like one when slighted. Always at odds with her since she came on very strong with what she believed in, I cannot say I had the easiest time with her. It was quite tough and though when I was away it was the interaction with her that I missed the most.. so what if it was to cross words with her..

I used to say it lightly to her that we are star crossed she and I
We rarely saw eye to eye.. Our unconditional love for each other would last for 3 to 4 days to say the least and well we were back on our natural grounds of crossing words with each other.. It did make me respect her albeit grudgingly since she never backed out without a fight..

Yes, she was the strong one in the household whilst me and my Dad did float around with our dreams and trigger happy emotional ups and downs. Dad with his passion for flowers and card games in the winters of Shillong  while me with my books, music and friends.

Her keen sense of commitment and responsibility was something I admired. She was fair too. Never one to ask for help, she would tell me to always be prepared for everything without reaching out to others for help.. Did not agree with her but it was a strong principle for her.. She would be prepared for almost anything, I saw.. never lost her cool in the worst times… we had..

I remember : 
Her getting sweets from her office canteen as often as she could.
She did not like sweets but she liked to have her food storage stocked with sweets.

I would wait for her to return from office.. sometimes I would test her to see if she caught my mischief… which she used to … LOL…

Oh how I loved to test her patience by stealing the chicken she would make and keep for later.. just to make her mad.. and boy would she be mad..

I remember : 
Her love for movies. Oh how can I forget that ? She would be the one who would take me to Kelvin Cinema. That was alone time with mom.
Shopping was not something I would like to do with her.. That was Dad’s basket since mom had this habit of promising me something and getting me quite something else and then making me work for that gift.,.. Hahahah !!

Ice Castle, Ben Hur, etc were treats with my mom I missed when I grew up.

I remember:
Her love for Swami Vivekananda. She would read a lot especially about Swami Vivekananda. She also liked Shakespeare and was proud to have some unabridged edition of Shakespeare’s works in her collection. It is still there. Even in her last days, she would take her magnifying glass and at least try and read the headlines or ask us to read it to her. The verbal news in the television channels did compensate for reading but not totally.

I remember : 
She liked to be on her own and well though I did not understand then, I do now.  She liked her company and liked reflecting and talking about philospphy and politics. Politics in particular was her favorite conversation.

I remember:
Her stoic devotion in her faith so much so that it had become a must for me too and well that became another cause for my rebellion to rituals..

She was the one who taught me the Gayatri mantra. She was the one who would wear a talisman for me so that I lived longer and my obstacles were removed.

I remember : 
Her long letters to me with my pocket money when I stepped away from home. It was a ritual for her to send me a letter with her draft whilst I was struggling to keep multiple classes going and making a life far far away from home.. Always encouraging me, always telling me to be strong and always saying that I am here with you.. sending
me her love and her prayers.. always motivating me to move forward and be independent and successful..

I remember: 
When no one supported me to go and become a part of what I am today, she was the one who stood my me financially and permitted me to go and chart my life and career. Even after I married, she was the one who would understand my little issues of balancing work and family.. and where it got me sometimes..

I remember
Her love for Samosas, and all things spicy. She loved meat and fish. She liked to eat out, have tea/coffee out in a place like Cafe Coffee day or in our Shillong days the Restaurant EC or New India after shopping spree.. in Police Bazaar.

I remember : 
Her last words in a pained faint tone over the phone: “I don’t know whats happening to me, I cannot breathe… I don’t know why I cannot breathe.. I dont know why I am feeling so weak.”  It was the beginning of a heart attack that she would succumb to and would pass on to the bardo of transitional period.

Cremating her was the toughest task I have done in my life..

Ma, I will miss you… miss talking to you, miss arguing with you… miss just holding your hands…miss just riling you so that you get at me.. hahah !! Miss your smell that made me feel safe, miss your hugs when you would curl up beside me.. as you slept.. miss you calling me lovingly by my name..

Not perfect, very stubborn, not overtly motherly, not so attached, very strong, very independent, … yet supportive, fair, determined, practical, never letting me down, never letting me give in to my weaknesses, always there …. no matter what… just by being my mom… she is one of the reasons I am here in this universe.. and for that I will eternally be grateful…

We had a complicated relationship but yet it was a meaningful bond. One which I will cherish and miss till the day I die.. She always said… Everything will be alright… its ok to face hardships and the downs but in the end everything will be just fine… and I believe at the end everything is fine..

Thank you for being You and teaching me in your own way to be Me.