50 Things I miss about my Mother

  1. The sound of her fast, purposeful gait that often sent me flying across the room to switch off the TV before she could knock at my bedroom door.
  2. The taste of her aloo paranthas, often drenched with homemade white butter.
  3. Her warm and cuddly bear hugs.
  4. Her crush on John Abraham.
  5. Her absolutely hilarious parody of Breaking Free from High School Musical.
  6. Her art skills, particularly when she helped me complete my summer holiday homework a night before it was due.
  7. Her passion for the medical profession and the love and kindness she showed to every patient she took under her care.
  8. Her hatred of Shinchan’s insane antics.
  9. And her sympathy for his poor mom, Mitsie Nohara.
  10. Her kohl-lined eyes.
  11. And her helplessness when she tried to apply the same kohl on my eyes before a school function…. but ended up making me look like a raccoon (thanks to my inability to stay still!)
  12. Her sweet kisses when she tucked us into bed.
  13. Her sweet tooth and her strange disgust for Imarti.
  14. Her beautiful singing and my earliest music lessons that came from her
  15. Her desire to hold a big, fat Punjabi wedding for me.
  16. My arguments with her over generation gap and why I thought low-waist skirts were cool (I disagree with my 13-year-old self now. I was an idiot.)
  17. Our shared love for samosas from Kathuria Sweets (They shut down, unfortunately!)
  18. Her sense of fashion and style… and her preference for Dune perfume and Jane Shilton handbags.
  19. Her love for old Mohammad Rafi and RD Burman songs…. and also for fun indie numbers like Channa Ve Ghar Aaja ve!
  20. Her eye for detail in clinical diagnostics and her brilliance that made her a force to be reckoned with in her profession.
  21. Her dream to see me and my sister make it big in life.
  22. The cute ponytail she wore to work every day for a good ten years.
  23. The rare occasions when she wore a saari and made me (and my dad) super-happy.
  24. The weekly Sunday visit to Gurudwara Bangla Sahib and the family dinner afterward at the local McDonald’s.
  25. Her exasperation at my father’s lame sardaar jokes which she sometimes found offensive.
  26. Her deep devotion to my maternal grandma in her last years when she was bedridden.
  27. Her passive-aggressive criticisms of Ramola Sikand’s Eiffel Toweresque bindis in Kahiin Kissi Roz.
  28. The stories of her childhood as a boisterous, young athlete who was called Mig-21 by her peers.
  29. Her long, exhausting conversations with my maternal aunt about my uselessness at math.
  30. Her intense discussions with my dad about the cases they were jointly working on at the hospital.
  31. Her dedication to cleanliness (That I do not share even today!)
  32. Her bullying tactics to get me and my sister to drink milk twice every day (ugh!)
  33. Her love for travel that she not only shared with my dad but also passed on to me and my sister.
  34. Her firm conviction that a woman should be her own person.
  35. Her genuine confusion at my ability to re-read the Harry Potter books 486,987 times every year.
  36. Her common complaint that if I applied even a fraction of that effort to academics, I’d be a national lever topper.
  37. Her annual ritual of cooking Aloo Gobhi, Rajma Chawal, Aloo Mutter, and Kheer every year on April, the 24th to celebrate my dad’s birthday with his favorite dishes.
  38. Her ardent loyalty to the Indian Cricket Team, particularly to Rahul Dravid.
  39. Her photography skills (which were 50 times better than my dad’s. I think I got mine from her too!)
  40. Her love for the movies…. and everything that came with the experience of going to the Multiplex as a family to catch the latest Shahrukh Khan flick.
  41. Getting permission from her for school picnics to Appu Ghar after much shouting, coaxing, blackmailing, and bucketfuls of tears(fake ones too!)
  42. The fragrance of her everyday perfume whose name I forgot to ask her when she was alive. I just know it was something other than Dune.
  43. Her promise that she’d get me a pug puppy for my 14th birthday.
  44. Her loyalty to the country and her commitment to inclusive patriotism.
  45. Her irritation with the impossible waistlines of the fairies in Winx Club, a show that I used to watch religiously every afternoon.
  46. The adorable dresses she stitched for my barbie dolls with leftover cloth from her own dress materials.
  47. The intricate hairdos she experimented with on my sister’s hair and the clips she adorned both our hair with.
  48. Her code of morals and ethics that I follow even today.
  49. Her zest for life and the love she shared with my dad.
  50. The perfect home and hearth she created for us; filled with warmth and love, comfort and security– the best any child could hope for.

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It is 5th May 2017. On this day ten years ago, she bid us adieu. Maybe she was required somewhere else. Maybe her passing was just another blip in the larger story of time. It doesn’t make a difference. Because the truth remains unchanged. I miss her every day, like I have since 2007. In the space of these long years, I have grown into a woman, earned three degrees, held two jobs, and dated two men. My last real memories with her are innocent and childlike. I shared a few pieces of Paton’s chocolate with her. She looked at my Physics grade and explained the math behind the concept of deceleration. She told me to study hard. And to be a good big sister.

Such unremarkable things. Such simple, innocuous memories. Nothing momentous and overly dramatic like they show in the movies.

But that’s how life is. The drama is in the things we internalize. And paradoxically, they never come out in the open.

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