May 2016 - India Samvad

We all Need a Mother Board

It was a hot, humid morning outdoors.

Indoors, the air conditioner worked well at freezing memories of playing badminton in a sports hall with no cooling earlier in the day. Fans remained switched off at the hall too because of shuttle cocks. Sweat dripped and flowed in steady streams on the hollow of our backs. Little beads formed on our faces. There is some pride in ‘sweating it out’. This morning one needed to do little do that.

Four children now sat around the dining table. The youngest three years old and the eldest ten. An adult sat with them. He sat at the head of the table. In front of him was a well used media player on four sheets of old newspaper. The media player had been replaced a while ago but stayed home because the adult wanted to open it and show what is inside it to the children. It was an attempt at stimulating their curiosity and fueling interest in technical knowledge. The three year old was interested only in the pair of scissors. The ten year old was interested mostly in manning the screwdriver. The five and seven year olds were preoccupied with the amount of dust in and around it.

The relative silence and low pitch questioning was unusual. I could only attribute it to the heat they had been subjected to earlier in the day. Once the outer cover came out, a new world opened.

“This is the mother board,” he said. Each child found humor in that knowledge. “A mother board? Why is it the mother board?” one child said more amused than surprised. “Why would anyone call this a mother board?” quipped the other, her palms facing upwards. “Because…” began the adult, and then paused to gather his thoughts. “Okay, who is the most important person at home?” he asked. A slight, short pause followed. “Your mamma or your amma, right?” he nudged.

“Arrr yes. Amma. And our helper. And…” My daughter began and continued as she felt the mother board with her fingers.

It seemed to me at that moment that I had achieved a portion of what I want to pass on to our children. No one is most important at home. We are all important. Equally important. We have different roles and responsibilities, and they all matter. We do somethings more than the other and somethings less than the other, but we all do.

Happy Mother’s Day- For being a mother, for having a mother, for knowing a mother, for discussing with a mother, for arguing with a mother, for knowing that she is your support, for believing that she is your critic. Happy Mother’s Day for celebrating a bond that exists because both of you do. Physically, telepathically and spiritually.