Last week, I was at my mother’s, getting some much needed TLC. You know how important that is when you are spending a great part of your day practising to be a clown, a singer, a dancer, an acrobat, a ventriloquist and some, hoping that your toddler will be amused.
On day two at mom’s, I saw something that moved me. Now, mine is an old world mommy and her days are incomplete without lighting the customary diya in the morning, saying her prayers, lighting some camphor, doing an aarti, and then prostrating before her shiny happy gods and goddesses sitting pretty in her little mandir.
What I saw, and it’s an image which will linger in my mind forever is Re prostrating with her, and then sitting up, joining his hands in prayer, looking completely one with the whole ritual.
I am not a religious person, but rituals give me calm, a sense of rootedness and peace. Lighting incense, a diya, a candle does it for me when my mind is at its most turbulent. On happy days, it adds a bounce to my step.
I did try to carry a bit of my mother into my marriage when I set up a little shelf to do my morning pooja and light my diya and incense. But somehow, I lacked consistency of purpose, or perhaps the commitment and sincerity of my mother and somewhere along the way, I stopped doing it. It made me feel empty and slightly naked, but it didn’t bother me much.
Re made me start all over again. And that is what I love about motherhood –how a child can manage to point you in a direction you never thought you’d go. And how it can open your eyes to the simplest of joys. And in an age of ipads and newborn facebook profiles, this return to innocence was important to me.
Post our morning bath, Re and I now assemble in our little temple corner where he beckons me with the aarti bell. “Mamma, sit!,” he orders. And hands me the aarti bell and the box of camphor to do my bit. We sit together, separated in years, but united in feeling. I feel bonded to him in the strangest way now. In a way perhaps that I feel bonded to my mother.
Both of us have changed just a wee bit in the last week. Mostly for the better.