Somehow, even though words come easily to me, I don’t feel like writing a long essay about my mother. My best memories of her were and are made as we sit side by side in an auditorium. We turn to each other with upturned eyebrows and a sigh when we both don’t like what we see, smile in appreciation at other times, and sit in a companionable silence that has bound us together for years. The discussions we have while coming back home and over dinner have always energized me in unexpected ways.
As a child, I loved to read books. She told me often, “When we read a book, we get to stand on the author’s shoulders and look out at the world.” That was an image that stuck with me and one I used often with my children when they were little. When she gave me books to read, took me to innumerable plays, dance performances and talks, that’s what she did for me. She helped hoist me up on the shoulders of artists, thinkers and creative minds so I could see far and wide.
Many years ago, when I first moved to the United States, I wrote a letter in which I said – I love you, Amma. On our next call, she admonished me saying – “What is this? An American way of saying that you love me?” I guess she’s right. To tell her that I love her would truly reveal how words can fail.
Happy Mother’s Day to my Amma and yours!
Nirupama Vaidhyanathan is the Managing Editor of India Currents.