Happy Birthday Ma: I started the day, preparing her favourite traditional Bangali breakfast of luchi, alu in kalonji, cholar dal with narkel(coconut) and nolen gurer, badam-payesh. I sent a tray of it to our neighbours – her best friends till the end.
Not before I had realigned and changed the greenhouse shed that was one of her favourite structures of the house – she had installed as soon as she had built the house personally supervising every detail.
I have allowed most things in the house to remain her signature stamp on my life.
And on every birthday I revamp something or other to ensure her presence gets stronger in the house even in her absence. Last year on her birthday, I named her house after her and installed a name card at the gate, then had it lit up this year so her essence lights my path.
Coming absolutely alone and empty handed from across borders – she has left an indelible mark. I’ve vividly describe it in my book Across Borders.
She always said to me – “no one has ever celebrated my birthday ever since I was a child” – so I decided to do it lifelong!
Now after she passed away on 20/04/21 – I even have her book of poems posthumously published in Bangla that introduces the woman she was before I came into her life – available in the reputed Kumudini stores https://ekumudini.com/ Dacca, for those there.
Also sharing with you her last birthday that she shares with Bhupen Hazarika and Asha Bhosle – a little over 4 months after she passed on the same day Shankha Ghosh the reputed Bangla poet did – with a poetry reading from her upcoming book along with music over dinner —
Then the evening, yesterday:
Ma’s birthday celebrations, didn’t end with just the above: 😊I have to go all the way on anything I do! I have tried to illustrate it in the previous post.
Ma loved to watch films and plays at the theatre, preferably multiplexes for the wholesome entertainment. Till the covid lockdown, starting March 2020, by when she was past 80years, I would take her for atleast one movie or play a week, whether in Chennai when she was with us or in Calcutta, if not more.
She had this passion for the movies, since her college days and watched any film she could catch in Dacca with her friends. Since my childhood, till the end she knew Bollywood or even Hollywood far better than I did. Though she only showed us English or Bengali films when on vacations, till school and college. After that we could choose our own films to watch.
So it was only imperative that she be taken for films as she aged – for as you grow old, you become more and more childlike.
Also Ma loved good perfumes, which she invariably got one or more of the very best every year – from my sister who shares her passion on this as also with films.
Chinese cuisine was another of Ma’s favourites, she still spoke of the ones she’d had in Dacca. So every year, we always celebrated her birthday with good Chinese meals, whether at restaurants or parties at home – which were often in Bangalore, where my sister also insisted on her joining the dancing along with their friends.
Ma had been an excellent dancer since her youth, as you can see from older photos of this album I’m adding these photos to, so was also enthusiastic on shaking a leg at house parties with my sister and her husband’s friends. My sister would even dress her up nice and youthful, in her own clothes and take her to the latest pubs of Bangalore. My younger(a year and half) sister Jayshree, also her husband Ajay Nair, did give Ma a taste of all the latest trends in every sphere, even risking the lectures they received nonstop for it. Ma would go along out of curiosity and then her teacher’s instinct would make per point out what was not right – she had a great aversion to the revealing skimpy short dresses women wear, but she loved smart western clothes as much as the salwar and sari she only wore lifelong.
So in memory of my dynamic, always bigger than life Ma, also the fun loving one irrespective of the serious image most people know her by, I saw an excellent French film last evening, details of which are on the comments on the photo in the album link above. Watching it, seemed like an uncanny way of Ma consoling, inspiring and motivating me for the immense, unthinkable struggles I’ve had as an author for the past decade.
And also had a lovely Chinese dinner ordering the kind of food she would have liked. During which we learned of the passing away of Queen Elizabeth ll, at Balmoral, aged 96.
I consciously wore a good perfume Ma would have liked – remembering, if and ever we asked her what she wanted as a gift she would blush and say, “perfume or pen” – both of which she had collected(hoarded) aplenty in life!
It’s not like a lot of the times I’m not sad, very sad indeed, especially yesterday – that Ma left us so suddenly, in just moments after 4 months of our being in Chennai without her, for medical exigencies.
But I try to relive and retain the happy moments I’ve shared with both my parents, and that emotionally anchored attitude, is the root of my confidence in spite of all the challenges life throws at me – knowing I’m only going to get stronger like Ma, not break!
I’m spiritual not religious, so…
Happy Birthday Ma – I’ve let you go, since your last birthday – so you may be free of past life baggage and all the pain you’ve been through and have a lovely new life wherever it is, or end the cycle of life and death – I don’t know which chooses you!
#spirituality #lifeanddeath #birthdays #wisdom #motherspassing #mothersbirthday #lessonsoflife #livinginthemoment #handlingloss #moralstrength #emotionalstrength
Some more ideas, on how to move on from a big loss: https://www.bustle.com/articles/137775-7-tips-for-moving-on-after-a-major-loss-in-life