Mummy! - The Indian male's paradox
Updated: Feb 9
I was at Vadala station one afternoon and my mind wandered as it usually does and a troubling thought entered my head. One day you will eat your mom's food for the last time. Never again will you have anyone who will wake up half an hour before you do and give you THAT SPECIFIC tea to kick-start your day. It was a sobering thought that paralyzed me for an instant before I realized my train had arrived. I jumped in quickly and caught a seat, proceeding to shut down my mind as best as I could. Just imagining her not being with me makes me quiver. But then I remember my father losing his mom in front of me and that gives me some strength knowing every man must go through this. When the time comes, hopefully decades from now, I will be able to handle it.
Even in a conversation where my mother won't be in the picture, I've made it all about myself. And true to form, I will blame her for it. Maybe it had something to do with the fact that I could never bond well with my father. Maybe it was because she secretly felt guilty for not sheltering me enough while I grew up a wreck. But in the past few years my mother has been the single greatest person in my life. As kids grow up, they detach from their parents. I didn't have much of a base to begin with so maybe it makes sense I am getting closer to them now. As a person she is sometimes petulant, forgetful and addicted to WhatsApp. But when it comes to family, she is like Cristiano Ronaldo. Dead serious, on point and always winning! It's incredibly fascinating to watch her become another person altogether when her kids need her.
Despite being an extrovert with a multitude of people to hang out with, there's no one I am more at peace with than my mother. It might sound sappy and a little weird for a soon to be 27 year old, but that's straight facts. Am I too dependent on my mother? Not really. I can handle myself pretty well. I just know I can get a better deal out of staying closer to her! Plus she's my mom. It won't be long before I am auctioned off in the marriage market on the basis of my salary slip and she will for the first time, face real competition within her household. So while we are at it, I want to be around her as much as possible.
I am not even close to being a momma's boy. Ask all my friends and they'll tell you I am borderline rogue! Personality traits aside, what I find truly incredible is this woman's ability to accept each and everything about me. No one and I mean no one will ever do that. This can be a bad thing considering women have a massive blind-spot when it comes to their children. But think about it. Never ever in your life will you find a pillar as strong as your mother. There's no possibility of jealousy, divorce, cheating or other common mishaps that stain the average male-female relationship. She's a rock that will have your back no matter what.
Considering I am a woke 21st century man, there's no way in hell I can put even half of these expectations on my future partner without being labelled clingy and weak. And rightly so. A relationship of equals has no place for such massive expectations. Only a relationship that was borne out of blood can survive this weight. Having slightly matured in the past couple of years I have come to accept the futility of my efforts without the backup of this woman. No success is too small and no failure is too big. Sab chalta hai, tu mera beta hai!
How lucky are we and how easily we take her for granted. As Shahrukh Khan once said "Sabki Maa nahi hoti Lakshman", there's truly no one like her. Now coming to the main point of this article. When do you dissociate from your mother? When is it that you must reduce her influence on your life and let another woman of your age bracket take the steering wheel? I am not even going to pretend Indian men have the autonomy to live their own lives. Have seen enough and more examples to know someone or the other always controls you. The trick is to choose the right person to be the CEO. In that sense, my father struck gold. But will I?
Will my mother be able to cede space? Few can enact the "deer in headlights" impression like an Indian man locked in between his mother and wife. I don't know. Maybe I am overthinking as usual. It's too early to think about these things. But while we make fun of hapless Indian men, can we also talk about how Indian women become the same mothers they hated? My mother, like most wives has enough battle scars from her minor scuffles with my grandma but when it comes to me I am sure she will religiously play the role of the dreaded mother in law. She's a nice lady so won't be one of the stereotypical ones but fireworks are surely guaranteed!
So while we accuse Indian men of being overly pampered, we must remember it is the same gender that enables our dependency and childish behaviour. When the women in our lives graduate to becoming mothers and carry on the same path of pampering and hovering, they're perpetuating this tradition. We leave her shadow the last out of all the men in the world and that's because we get the best deal of all! Which mother other than probably the Italian or Latin American is so close to their child right till the very end? Don't blame us. Blame the superwoman. Now I am off to throw a fit and get myself some evening tea!