Dr. ANAND D. AWOOTAR, PhD, D.Litt

Yester years’ childhood memories distant may appear
Recent enough still the centrality of motherhood to resonate loud and clear

Memorising maternal manual spanning life’s every sphere
Family menu, children’s homework, menial chores with budget often stony broke

In cramped, obscure kitchen, spewing endless battle-like smoke
Poverty to exit, gracefully slogging under harshness of daily yoke
Culturally shackled were you to view kitchen as female territory
Tidying the room, applying the broom below male dignity

Patience and sensitive heartstrings: two-dimensional woman treasure

Only mothers are gifted with both in equal measure

Commotion, confusion, the day down you have been with fever, bed-ridden
Tea container, sugar bin, matchbox to locate became children’s impossible burden

Let alone ability for tea or even birds’ meal to prepare
Your way to the kitchen you did achingly trudge, with energy hardly to spare

Your progeny’s backs, heads and feet you pressed

Ever averse to their reciprocal compress
Groomed as you were others to serve
From woman’s age-long tradition never to swerve

Always savouring pleasures and joys of being a giver
Never the persistent expectations and frustrations plaguing a receiver
Remember the saree your relative bought you? Your preferred colour?
Whipping into a circling whirlpool mothers’ concerns over prices, still expensive to your savour

Though slashed by half the price was merely for your ears
That saree, proudly flashed to visiting relatives, which you had inwardly longed for years

Ensuring relative’s name was securely audible, with eyelids withholding unshed tears

The ability behind getting enriched while giving
Is a secret only motherly love is capable of providing

Always the early birds treading morning floor, for ever last to hit the pillow
Sitting through children’s homework, despite your energy fuse threatening to blow

Slaving, your motherly love, sights beyond the horizon did raise
Children’s dreams to carve and wings to grow for greener pastures to graze

A family through parental nomenclature is remembered

Yet, a great family by mothers is defined and structured

Yours have been the family-bonding balanced voices
Amidst your ever restless, exuberant boys
Entangled with childhood pranks and quarrels, in tone and voice honey-laced

Sweat-beaded faces, tear-filled eyes weepingly rushing for maternal solace
Draping your left arm around their neck, safe haven approximated under your aanchal*

Exuding a warm, distantly-faint, spice-flavoured aroma uniquely maternal

Oasis of safety, consolation, comfort for ever sweetly memorable
A space of bliss, a space sealed by heavy eyelids impenetrable

Effervesced with excitement, for a seat on your lap, your offsprings would scamper

Your consoling fingers sailing their ever moistily-dishevelled hair would desire

Amidst birds’ heart-soothing twitters and musical sweetness of lazily falling leaves

Years of cascading sweet memories, childhood emotions did weave

Lack of love or milk will hardly see the world collapse or even blink
The world will surely collapse for want of motherly love and maternal milk

New status, new houses and cars, children now geared for material race

However, even as saving grace
Too busy for visit, no time phone call to place.
Mothers’ failing health to enquire

All the energetic voltage showered: protection, love, sacrifice, blister

Collapsing suddenly to plumes of dust, only heavyheartedness to register

Crippling emotions betrayed through unspoken sweetness of silence

Corrugated brow, bent head musing depths of love’s distance
Motherly bonfires you have been, others even a dim spark could not attempt.

Your sadness into sourness refused to ferment

Gems of a flower you have been, sweet fragrance you exuded even when crushed and peeled.

Motherly feelings are that flame within a soul, unable to be hermetically sealed
Betrayed they do get through silence and eyes, however secretly concealed.

Your eloquent silence your children could not understand

How would they your words comprehend!

Into fatherhood sons their selves do throw, babysitter-role for mothers now to fill

Recent grand-motherly seat being cool still
Notwithstanding your state of arthritis, crouching frame, silvery hair
Despite your twilight years, on pendulous rocking chair

To grandchildren fondly repeating for the umpteenth time, in tune melodious and warm

Tales of their father’s childhood pranks and your own youthful charm
Peacefully nodding your way into Morpheus’ arm.

For ever departed now for your untraceable eternal residence
Having inspiringly motored your respective families where your absence is a sonorous presence

Your children’s villainy preying upon their rag of a conscience

Struggled to stay in state of innocence by pretence
Atoning for their gratitude debt, they cried the loudest
With renewing vigour, screaming to their best.

Humans, the dead like to resuscitate

The living they kill and mutilate

Your lives’ perpetual wrestling bouts have been to survive
Lives spent polishing so your children could thrive
In rose-giving hands always lingers a little fragrance
For lives you all so nobly led, for ever floats a haze of sweet remembrance

To all mothers, here and the great beyond, Happy Mothers’ Day!

*aanchal: the loose end of a saree which falls in front over the right shoulder.