Friday, September 11, 2015

A tribute to single-mothers

Single mothers… The term single motherhood inspired an unprecedented kind of awe in me and always made me think on the lines of independence and power. Not just single mothers, fatherhood too, had an inspiring role to play in my life. I endeavored to become like my father. To express myself like him, to become an all rounder like him and inspire my kids like him. As a child, my favourite game used to be role-play, where I'd become papa and mumma and enact different situations.

When I turned 21, I told my school friend that I can now become a father. “Ab main baap ban sakta hun,” were my words to him. As destiny would have it, I became a father a year back. A year back, began a journey that I had never anticipated as, like all kids, I always took my father’s presence for granted. And in the last few weeks I eventually learnt about single-motherhood as well. That, because once again like all kids, I took my mother’s presence for granted.

It so happened that my mother, sister and dog fell ill at the same time, two of them suffering viral fever and the other with preliminary symptoms of dengue. What followed was a stressful period of nursing them and managing (read mismanaging) work. While on one hand the patients in the house needed proper meals. On the other, my work place expected my presence as my role calls for it to drive the business.

Given the circumstances, I did take leave of absence to be able to do the chores and run all the errands unhindered. But one cannot completely disconnect from the job that provides for you. Thus began a part-hilarious, part-frustrating roller-coaster ride that had me taking calls about where I have stored a certain file in shared folder while trying to buy a papaya plant at a nearby nursery. The plant chose not to survive… So, the next time I decided to visit that nursery to buy papaya leaves, I tripped on the pavement and almost nosedived into the shallow cliff where it is located. When my mom kept instructing me through her delirious fever to switch off all the lights before sleeping, and my dog decided to go on a barking fit just when I was about to sleep each night.

Looking at the recovering faces was enough to energize me and keep me going. Every morning I gathered myself and got into action as there wasn’t any time to sit back and think. This period also gave me a tad bit of time to discover that my mobile phone has a Hindi keyboard that supports Devnagri script.

But, this did show me the other side of the story, too. I experienced what my mother does as a single-mother and what every single-mother on this planet does every single day. Those seven days seemed never ending with the days starting at 6 in the morning and going on till post-midnight. Each day had me stepping out of the house at least five times and each day had me saluting all mothers who go through this without a wince.

And also, fatherhood… Men are always expected to be strong, to bear it all and never utter an expression of pain. To provide for the family, always appear energetic and look interested in the household trivia. To do what is expected of them and never to think of their own wishes or desires, wants or needs. Think of a person who goes through this entire cycle and is not even allowed to shed tears!

The last one week taught me that, I too, cannot afford to shed tears. The last week humbled me as nothing else could. The last week added a bit more to my ever-inspiring awe for single-mothers and fathers - It’s called respect!

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