July always brings with it a strange melancholy. Call it Murphy’s law or anything else that you want to, July’s not been my friend for the past 9 years, since the day you left me this month, Amma.
It’s strange how the sadness hits you. First in bite-sized chunks, then, all at once like an avalanche. It starts off with the small little remembrances of times in the past. A song you used to hum, a wisp of the smell of early morning chai. You weren’t the mother who made us delicacies, you were the kind who thought it would be fun to eat a meal outside in brand new clothes, and would even shop for us in the clothes store next to the restaurant we were eating in, if we had to, and make us change in the middle of a meal even!
You were the mother who’d buy me a bottle of champagne for our 5th wedding anniversary when the (then) husband forgot to. You were the mother who’d give me the monetary difference between the clothes you bought me and my elder brother, God forbid I ever think I’m any lesser than a boy. You were the only one who looked me in the eye, the day I lost my first baby, and told me it would be completely alright if I never wanted to have another ever again and that it would not make me any less of a woman.
I was hailing an auto today, Amma, and I saw a red bangle-clad hand grip the outer edge, firmly, holding her daughter in her arms, and my heart skipped a beat. For a moment, I felt like I’d been struck by lightning. That is how it hits me, now, Amma, the sadness. It disappears, as quickly though. And that is a good thing. Every year, it gets a little more easier.
I don’t know if life would have worked out any other way if you were here, but I do know I still have you watching my back – you’re in that wispy smile of Harshitha’s when she asks for a snack before dinner. I see you in the curl of her upper lip, which shakes, just like your’s did when she gets angry. And I swear I can hear you in her little voice when she sings Paluke Bangaramaina, just like you used to. Musical talent that definitely skipped a generation, but is not all lost.
Here’s to you, Amma.
P.S. If you’re listening could you please get whoever’s up there to go easy on me for the rest of this month? Laptop crash, data lost, child’s spectacles broken, school bag torn, washing machine leaking, me falling sick – I think I’m good until the next year, thanks 😀