How many of us recollect those numerous instances from our childhood, of making discontent faces at the slightly brackish alu sabzi, the mildly stiff chapathis, the non-crispy dosas, the squelchy upma, and many more such wholesome, but according to us not-so-delectable eats that Mum used to dutifully cook up for us?
Back then, little did details such as the effort, time and devotion that went into the preparation process interest us. Such particulars conveniently did not fit in our range of curiosity. Cooking was just a Mum-thing and food was always ready and set on the table for us to devour, whenever we felt the first pangs of hunger strike our tummies. What really did mater to us was the yummy-factor!
On several occasions, no sooner than just one mouthful later, we were prompt to voice our disgruntlement loud and clear. ‘Yuck! I don’t like it’, ‘Mommy, why is it so sticky?’, ‘How many times to tell you, I like my dosas crisp?!’, ‘Oh God, that same curry again!’, ‘I am bored of Idlis!’
The times she could feasibly oblige, she would with a quick replacement dish. While on other occasions, she would just silently take in the comments and inwardly hope to satisfy our taste-buds next time. What went unnoticed by us young critics… was Mum’s disappointment. Did we ever realize, by just one such sweeping statement made by us, we have hastily demeaned her painstaking effort of feeding her family regularly on time, not only a nutritious but also a delectable meal amidst all the various other chores that she does to run a home? Alright, the minor compromise she has made (…if at all!) was on the taste, visual appeal and probably the variety of the dish. Was there ever an occurrence when the family faced a no-food situation, or a meal when food did not suffice or a day when Mum casually said ‘I am too tired to cook, you do it today!’?? Well, the answer is apparent.
Let’s analyze some more of Mum’s specializations. Amidst the early morning madness, as we hurriedly get ready for school/college/office didn’t we always find our uniforms/favorite clothes freshly washed and ironed in our cupboards ready for us? And if anything was out of place, the one stop shop for seeking the missing items was Mum! She magically knew where each one’s belonging was shoved away and where what could be found. To add on, home always looked sparkling clean, dishes were never clogged in the sink, supplies were always stocked up in the storeroom, and she catered to our whims and fancies.
We did begin to realize and admire her multitasking abilities as we grew older, but how often have we appreciated and thanked her for the same? It’s only when we step into someone’s shoes do we truly admire them for what they are. I am not a Mum yet, but being an amateur homemaker for the past 7 months and having my own home and family to take care of, life has taught me plenty. The most important lesson being admiration for my Mum!
All those times when I fight back some ailment and cook up a meal to feed my own family, when all I wish to do is tuck into bed and sleep; those times when I laboriously clear the dishes; those time when I do the laundry and fold and stack away the dried clothes into their allotted slots; those times when I run out of ideas to create a new dish and end up opting for the easiest and the most frequented dish. These are but a few instances of the many, when I truly appreciate every little thing that you have done for us and realize how much I do admire you, Mum!