In my case, at what stage my unconditional deep love for my mother turned into anger, I don’t really know – all I know is that it brewed gradually, from the time in 2006, when I brought her to stay with me at Hyderabad.
I had recently started working as a Verbal Ability Instructor for CAT, GMAT and GRE. It meant a lot to me, because I had not really challenged myself so much so far. Preparing diligently for each class took away a lot of my time. But then I needed to do that. And Ma was proud of me – for taking up formal work once again.
I also happened to be the local Ladies’ Club secretary and ours was an active Ladies station. Needless to say, that took away a lot of my time too.
On top of that we led an active social life, my husband held an important portfolio, and even otherwise, he enjoyed socializing. That took away a lot of my time.
Then I am a kitchen person, and I loved to cook all my mother’s favorite foods – also my husband’s – and both tastes were diametrically opposite. The mealtimes were different too. Now that took away some time.
I am also a ‘couple-time’ person, so another block of my time gone.
And then we lived in a huge bungalow- estate, where being in the guest room was almost like living in a neighbour’s home. And my mother had come to me from a one big bedroom space – where everyone was into everyone at all the time.
And there were no neighbours. The neighbouring bungalow was a good distance away.
I could give her all creature comforts, but my time was at a premium – and my company in short supply.
So, my mother who was majorly into reading, writing, music, garden etc, felt lonely.
And I couldn’t help.
She fell down in the bathroom one morning – and we couldn’t hear her. This was the first of her many falls – a cry for help, for support, for company, for care, for mothering.
And I couldn’t give her that – not in the measure that she wanted.
So, she complained to my siblings, “Chitra is never at home.” They mentioned it to me, and I fumed. I was doing the best I could, wasn’t I? Working 24/7, satisfying everyone’s needs – including mine, running a household, and living the role as an Army wife.
That was when I began to resent – and hate – army functions, where I just had to show up, without being really ‘needed’ – while my mother sat at home waiting for me to show up.
I didn’t have the guts then to voice my truth. I didn’t have the guts then to face the consequences. I was afraid; and I was unhappy.
And my mother was unhappy.
And anger brewed in me; sadness in her. Her sadness made me more angry – and frustrated.
And a loving relationship turned sour.
Such is life.
However, in retrospect, I won’t have it any other way.
The past decade has been an important decade of my life – My Mother was a part of it.