The Uncanny Air Around Indian Mothers

All of us have them in our home, a part of our lives…an indispensable part. She has been there for us throughout her life. So much so, that she forgets her own problems for ours. In fact, our problem is more hers than ours. Well, this is one of the reasons I am writing this article. It is not another product of an emotional inundation that has erupted after a fight with my mom or anything of that sort. It is simply about how uncanny a typical Indian mother can be.

Do not get me wrong. Uncanny can have many connotations, and I am trying to imply the good ones. The ones that define Indian moms as Super-humans who do their work with precision, without any fuss, consume all good and bad about you and still never cease to love you.

Yet, there can be incidents with that uncanny woman in your home that might lead you to want to bang your head against something.

Do not get me wrong again. You want to bang your head because you fail to realise why your problems are affecting her this much. You do not want her to be worried for you and she is being just that. You do not want her to tell you what is good for you out of her fears about your future and she is doing just that.

So who is a typical Indian uncanny mother? How do you recognise her? What characteristics does she possess?

She can be found in every Indian household. She is a rotund lady, clad in a saree or an Indian suit, with her hair askew; eyebrows, either stretched up and arched into almost a semi-circle, or a perpetual frown between them (yeah! it is deadly); mop in one hand, broom in the other; or probably, in the kitchen, hands all covered in dough.

And even after performing all the house hold chores, like a super woman, (God must be a good programmer to have programmed her so well for that), she has the courage of taking the onus of caring for each and every member of the family on her own, especially her off-springs. As the Hindi saying goes, Indian moms keep their sons and daughters tied to their saree (or rather pallu). Yet, what makes me call those gallant ladies of India uncanny, you ask? Before I answer that, consider the following cases that you must have experienced more than once in your life:


Case 1: that noise pollution:

You are stuck in front of the TV for hours, and there comes a flying belan at you. And before you know what has happened, there is another foray…a foray of high pitched sound, which you now realise, is coming from your mommy’s super-throat. You try to figure out what she says and catch words like, ‘no studies…in front of TV…always…playing…careless…insincere…blah blah blah’, and then you know it’s that big scolding!
She seems to have a volatile memory though and by the evening, she is all fine, and even suggesting that the family orders dinner from outside. You are surprised at the change, but that surprise is overpowered by your elation at the thought of some delicious junk for dinner.

Case 2: smart she is:

You are a teenager and want to go out with friends. You need your mum’s permission. You go ask her. If you have the guts to do so, beware and get ready for another round of noise pollution from her, along with a bombardment of mono/bi-syllable questions, like ‘where? With whom? Why? How? What time? Till what time?…’

There can be another possibility too. She very smartly tells you that you’ll have to go ask your dad, and before you do so, he has already been informed of what’s going to come to him…rather told what to answer- a blatant ‘NO’.

I am not saying it happens all the time, but it does.

Case 3: she asks and then she doesn’t accept:

So when on a fine day spent with friends, you tell your mother that you do not feel like having dinner, she gives you a long stare, long enough to give you a chill, and then asks…’Dieting?’ You think ‘arey?’  and tell her, ‘no, I am just too filled up already’. And now her question is actually a statement ‘Dieting’, with an eyebrow up.
You can’t figure out why she even asked when she didn’t want to accept your answer and had already made her own assumptions.

What follows is a big lecture on how you should have proper food, never skip a meal, etc. Now you have to stuff dinner into you.

You spend the entire night holding your stomach and switching sides.

After reading this I don’t think I need to elaborate on the ‘uncanny-ness’ anymore.

Yet, however she is, she is a mum and all this makes her endearing when I come to think about it. Where else in your life would you find a person who is so full of colours and so unpredictable in nature? As you grow up, you’ll definitely laugh at such incidents no matter how much vexed you were at the times these happened to you. At least, that’s what my sister and I do, now that we are all grown up- laugh hard recounting how we both got grilled on some day long back. More than that, however, is the realisation of her underlying worries for us that made her act in an uncanny manner, and for that, the love for her multiplies many-fold.

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