This Mother’s Day, Rochana Mohan and Soumyadip Sinha celebrate the universal qualities held by the strongest woman in our lives. from blaming every mistake you’ve made to your phone usage to always having your back…
CHENNAI: A universal skill every mom has is to sniff out the facts and sometimes the facts are that one shirt that you can’t find. It takes exactly 30 seconds for a mom to find whatever article of clothing or thing that was previously deemed lost into the void that is your room. However, this great power can go to their head — every child knows to take a quick second look-over because if mom finds it, you’re never going to hear the end of it. And yet, this skill that is somehow acquired only after childbirth can be used against the people it was originally supposed to benefit.
It seems very strange that the Russian physiologist Ivan Pavlov was credited with the concept of conditioning, aka animals will do anything for a snack, when, in fact, moms have been employing this since kingdom come. All moms know that the quickest way keep a kid out of your hair is to throw them a toy or a treat, but trust a man to give it a fancy name and take all the credit. And while many of us have been fooled into believing that this phenomenon only occurs when we are children, the truth is that mothers have been lying to us behind adorable smiles and warm hugs. As we grew older, Pavlovian Conditioning evolved into a barter system, but not a fair system, oh no. Much like America’s dealings with third-world, oil-rich countries, there is only one winner. My mother told me that if I study for two hours, I get twenty minutes of videogames. However, all fair trade laws state proportional return, which means I should ideally get two hours of videogame time. Once again, millennials are left to bear the economic repercussions of baby boomers.
Nothing compares to the good ol’ days, and nobody knows this better than our mothers. Prone to flights of fancies, mothers will suddenly cue the nostalgia music and reminisce their heydays — strutting around town in fashion choices unique to the 70s, gossiping with the girls and spending time outdoors doing various forms of athletics. Then, with a dramatic huff, the sepia-coloured flashback scene is rudely shut down. The Gabbar Singh of this Sholay is none other than our pesky mobile phones. Everything, from the ‘anti-social tendencies of this generation’ to the heat to political unrest to your grades, is due to the latest OnePlus model — clearly, our mothers are more aware of the very real technological advantage China has on us than our legislators. All things digital are treated with the same levels of exasperations and distrust, and all things with a screen are held at arms-length, peered at down the bridge of their nose, and prodded with exactly one finger. Yet this vehement apprehension doesn’t hold much water when you open Facebook and realise the 30 notifications you have are all mom tagging you in adorable or informative videos.
Conflict is present in every household and there is no one better at diffusing tension than our mothers. Yet the way they diffuse the tension is in a manner unique only to them. Nobody can shout at each other, and nobody can defend themselves except her. Yes, in the truly-selfless-manner characteristic of motherhood, your mother will not let anyone attack you or anyone else in the house during an argument. Yet at the same time, the only person who is allowed to yell is her, and she takes the oh-so-heavy burden of simultaneously shouting for you and shouting at you very seriously. At the end of a family conflict, we all feel a little bad — first because we know we were wrong, and second because we didn’t want mom to get involved like this. Maybe we should take her out somewhere nice to — wait a minute, was this the plan all along?!
There’s no disputing the fact that your mother prepares you for the world, and just one of the many things she teaches you is finances. More specifically, she teaches you to be smart about your sources of money. ‘Official’ loans (for tuitions, petrol, school fees, etc) can be withdrawn from The Bank of Appa, but ‘unofficial’ loans require a more open and liberal banking facility. What better than The Bank of Amma, which understands completely that you need a break, and will, therefore, fund all your summer-shopping, movie-watching, and unwise-snacking expenditures. The best part about The Bank of Amma is their confidentiality clause — nobody needs to know where that money went, because they take customer satisfaction and privacy very seriously.
Ride or Die
Jump off a cliff
When I was younger, my mother never compared me to other children, because she knew I was unique and special. Just kidding, of course she compared me to other children. But I now realise my mother was merely a pioneer, aware that the advent of social media would lead to me comparing myself to my peers in dangerous, depressive and debilitating ways, and just wanted to be ahead of the curve. When it comes to grades, I should be like my friends, but when I mimic their habit of coming home late, it’s ‘If they jump off a cliff, would you?’ and the answer to that rhetorical question is yes, I would, because I’m not very smart and I can’t resist a dare.
All actions have consequences, and nobody but mom knows this best. Let’s take the example of ordering in food rather than eating what’s at home. Not eating at home means eating outside food. Eating outside food will cause sickness. Sickness will make you miss school. Missing school will lead to you failing class. Failing class will lead to you not getting a good job. Not getting a good job means you’ll be at a badly-paying job which you will hate. This will lead to you being depressed, and you will eventually leave that job too and be a failure. This perfectly practised, infallible logic, therefore, suggests that eating outside food means you are a failure. There’s no contesting this logic, whether you ordered a salad or bhajis.
For a Brighter Future
With more talents than sharp things in a Swiss Army knife, a mother is also an educational guide, career counsellor and psychiatrist. As an educational guide, there is no shortage of tips a mom has for memory retention — writing what you learned twice will ensure maximum retention, eating almonds in the weeks leading to an exam will help brain power, and the golden hour for studying is before the crack of dawn. As a career counselor, she knows exactly what you want to be, she knows you want to be a geologist because you collected rocks as a child, and will push you and cajole to the right colleges to excel, never mind that fact that you grew out of your fascination with inanimate minerals. And as a psychiatrist, she will let you cry and grieve on her shoulder for as long as you need, and although she will say it is your fault that you are sad, she will prescribe you with the best medication known to man — your favourite dish made with extra love.
Laughter and Sorrow
Mothers are the epitome of moderation. From their overly dramatic TV serials to the absolutely spicy gossip session they have on the phone, there is no entity more objective and level-headed than them. They always know the prudent thing to do, and one thing everyone has heard their mother say is, “Don’t laugh so much, you’ll cry in the night”, because several psychologists have stated that the sun does affect our moods, and as previously mentioned, mothers are judicious beyond a fault. Yet our unruffled caregivers are prone to the occasional superstitions — see what happens if a bangle breaks.