I made my mother take leave one day. My mother worked in a school that required her to sprint to the train, and then hop, skip and jump onto a rickety bus. Cold, mist, rain – she weathered it all every day for 18 years to give me this life, and I am eternally grateful to her. Taking leave was a privilege she rarely indulged in – she saved all her leave for when we fell ill, she fell ill, or for a family function.
I made her apply for leave when nobody was ill, and nobody was visiting. Here’s why: I used to go to school, and we had a maid who would bring me hot lunch in the afternoon. I was okay with the arrangement. After all, I liked the maid, and I liked my friends with whom I sat on the grass while eating. But here is the thing – for all my friends, their mother brought their lunch. So, I yearned to see my mother bring me lunch. I actually dreamt of seeing her walking down the long, winding road that we could see from the hilltop in our school. She did one day – she took leave and brought me lunch. I can still envision the scene – she wore a purple saree with pink flowers(Amma – that katthiripoo saree Appa bought from Calico) the pallu hanging clumsily of her shoulder over the sweater. A gold medal wouldn’t have made me happier that day. I boasted to all my friends that my mom brought me lunch!
I took my daughter to the saloon, and gave her a haircut. Her hair required no special handling now – all you had to do was draw her hair back, and clip on a hairpin. For the past month, every other day in the evening; she tells me how nicely I comb her hair. Her father manages she assures me, but she feels her hair is “flooppy” at the end of the exercise.
“Can you comb my hair for school one day?” she asks. I answer I can if she gets up before I leave. That seldom happens.
Another favourite question of hers is if I could drop her in School one day. In her little mind, she probably has the probability calculated, and figures if her hair can’t be combed, getting dropped in school is an even farther shot, and doesn’t even bother asking this question as much.
Today, I indulged in both – combed her hair AND dropped her off in school. I could see the pride in her eyes, as she walked into the classroom, and beamed. “My mommy came today”, she announced, and introduced me to all her friends.
As I went round and round the parking lot looking for a place to park my car at the public transit terminal, it felt totally worth it. I loved spending the morning with her – life does come a full cirle!