My mother passed away on the 1st of December, I think I must have met her twice in the last 35 years of her life. Yes, I am a divorce kid who grew up with his Dad.
I was curious to know the person who was my mother
I always felt that I should go live with her and take care of her and know her, but it never materialised. I was always trapped in my whirlwind of problems.
When we talked once or twice a year, she never spoke beyond a couple of sentences. She would ask me about my wife and kids initially ( I have been divorced for 15 years and she didn’t know about nor I thought she was interested in knowing) and then even that stopped. I would ask her how she is doing and that was about it. A few words and the conversation seemed like a pain to her. It was a pain to me, because I live on words, as you can see here.
What I know about my mother
She was great, self respecting women, she never put demands on me and my sister to come and visit her OR to send her more money than we promised. Beyond that I really don't know much about her.
My regrets about her
This is not a nice eulogy to a mother but when I think of my mother I feel a life which never could grow in to a strong tree.
This is perhaps the story of millions of other women in India and the world, but this case is the most severe case of women disenfranchisement.
Number One Lesson - Marriage only works between the equals.
This is perhaps the biggest learning of my life. I always wondered why extremely educated people marry each other, or extremely wealthy people marry within themselves. Because marriage is as much about power and negotiation than love and giving.
My mother's only superpower - Her Youth
My mother was uneducated and had no power. She had only one power over my Dad, who was 10 years older to her. It was her youth. But that doesn’t last long. As soon as my mother’s power was diminished, this relationship turned in to abuse of Power.
People judge ageing recklessly, even I only realised she was a good looking woman in her youth when my sister shared some old pictures.
Power corrupts absolutely
With this new perspective, I don’t blame my Dad, I blame the nature of Power. Absolute power becomes tyrannical and eventually corrupts. My Dad never hit her as far as I remember it was always the other way. But he was too powerful and nothing could stop him from getting his way in life.
Number Two Lesson - How Patriarchy hurts the women and creates a skewed power balance.
Women are raised to get married to an able man who expects her to maintain his house and take care of him, the old and the kids. If the women fail here, she throws away the only power she has and now lost all her resources or has squandered away all her chips. My mother threw away these chips way too early, I will never know why.
This just drives home the point why women need to have a skill which will at least make them capable of earning their bread.
Number Three Lesson - Life is too short
Life is really short. I also find my self in my mother's shoes now. Like History repeats itself, I feel I have squandered away all my chips very early. I squandered away power because I didn’t know the importance of power. I may have even abused Power. But I have something which my mother didn’t have. I am a bit educated. So I am a bit more optimistic that maybe I won’t end up like my mother. People won’t write me off as a seed which didn’t bear any fruits. Unless I and my sister can be seen as the only fruits my mother bore? Hehe.
Number Four Lesson - Education can help you grow.
When I say education, I don’t mean just being able to read and write. When I mean by education is your ability to think clearly. Your ability to look over your biases and think. Your ability to communicate, your ability to sell yourself, your ability to make sense of the world. Your ability to understand how this complex world works. How power is accumulated, how wealth flows like a river to the sea to the man who excels at gaming the market.
Unless you don’t know the fundamentals of how the world operates. I think you are half-educated or lucky.
My after-life wish for my mother
I know it is rather late but How I wish I could give you power which is eternal and everlasting in form of love wherever you are now. I am assuming even Bhavana wants the same for you.
Manu & Bhavana
"This wordy intellectual analysis of a mother's death and the lessons (benefit's) might seem a bit offensive, but this is part of my greiving process so please bear with me."