For me at least, Ma made up for the void that Baba (Dad) had left. Of course there were times when I missed Baba. I always felt a pang in my heart when I saw the special relationship that most of my friends shared with their Dads. I was fearful of people who asked me, “Do you remember your father?” because I never knew what the truthful answer was. “Duh, he was my Dad. Surely I remember him” or is it “I was only 5. How can I remember him?” ? The truth is I have snatches of memory from the past when I can clearly visualize Baba but I am not really sure whether those have been conjured up by my mind from hearing the countless stories about him or whether they are the real thing. Anyway, Baba has lived in my memory through the anecdotes told & re-told by Ma & Dada (elder brother) and countless others who knew, loved & respected him. Whereas, Ma has always been & still is beside me through the ups & downs of my life … sharing my joys & sorrows, bolstering my courage when I’m at a loss, correcting my mistakes when required and just being there whenever I need her.
Although Ma never had a career herself, she instilled in me the importance of being independent and did not harass me to get married till I was ready to, although at every family get-together that she went she was harassed about it … everyone asking her when her close-to-30 (read over-the-hill) daughter intended to get married !!! There was never a topic which was taboo for discussion at our home. Ma always encouraged us to speak our minds though there were plenty of times when we didn’t agree with each others’ view points. :-) Despite having had our share of misunderstandings, we have always been friends and today, I am her lifeline as she is mine.
A gutsy and very independent (edging on stubbornness, at times :-) )lady, she lives by herself in our old apartment in Calcutta where she stepped in the day she got married & enjoys life to the hilt ... socializing with friends and relatives. She is my idol ... the perfect Woman of Substance !!!
Happy Father’s Day, Dear Ma.
P.S.: Not only Ma but Dada too, took the rough-edges out of life for me after Baba passed away. I know that he knows, but I wish that there was a special day to tell him too how much I love him & how much he means to me.