I first got to know about Mothers’ Day a few months after landing in US. Suffice to say India of the 80s didn’t celebrate moms as a rule. That we do it now is more to do with the influence of various types television shows over the decades. Plus people like their social media timelines blowing up and making a song and dance about stuff so these days fit right in!
Archies galleries started stocking cards to celebrate all sorts of occasions Indians didn’t know about earlier and it became a very lucrative business for them I imagine…till everything went online. There were ecard sites like Bluemountain, 123greetings and my personal favorite which I can’t remember now but it had all sorts of funny and insulting ecards. The day I discovered it, I went crazy sending ecards to everyone who was on my list. Sadly, the list was about 5-6 people only back in ’98, ’99 but it was still pretty funny waiting for them to see something they thought would be out of the Hallmark channel instead it was just a “in-your-face-sucka!” kinda thing.
Back to the days of yore when my class teacher announced we’d be making Mothers’ Day cards and gifts. There was a big tray with wooden shapes cut out, glitter, markers, lots and lots of glue and the best thing ever for FOTB me….GOOGLY EYES!! I just went nuts and created the ugliest thing that I’ve ever made and handed it to my teacher.
American teachers are very diplomatic. They say something is “interesting” when they lack for words to describe an output which is clearly borne out of not having any artistic vein at all or being a very young and trippy stoner.
My teacher added lacquer to the brooch I’d made, added some rubber cement/krazy glue and stuck a pin on the back and voila! Ugliness impersonified was ready to go home and be given as a gift to a very unsuspecting woman.
And true to her nature of being an Indian parent, my mother did not hold back her feedback at the brooch. Her slightly agape mouth and comment of, “Eta ki?” [ a.k.a what is this] followed by “eto gulo chokh keno”? [ why are there so many eyes] is something I’m laughing at now but then I figured she’d go gaga over my thoughtfulness for her. That did she didn’t was a bit of a downer but I was getting into a very American groove so I did the whole shrug and “I don’t care” thing and went my way.
She did make it up to me and wear the hideous monstrosity once over a very beautiful saree. Thankfully my inner aesthete kicked in and I asked her to go with a safety pin instead of walking around with an alien prototype on her shoulder for the whole evening.
This is for you…cheers Ma…missing our post-lunch beers today!