Mother’s Day

Wish you a very happy Mother’s Day, greeted my daughter extending the huge packet with a smile and giving me a hug. I was sure she would have spent quite a fortune on it as was characteristic of the girl.

Though I appreciated her gesture I wasn’t very sure how her M-in law would react when she would come to know that her newly married daughter-in-law had showered such an expensive gift on her mother.

Not able to contain myself, I told Smitha what was going on in my mind.

The girl did not appear too pleased. On the other hand, she had suddenly become defensive saying, what has my giving a gift to you have to do with her?

Seeing the girl upset, I said, Smitha, you should understand that since you are married you are expected to behave with greater responsibility, and should not continue to be a spendthrift.

But, mummy, you can’t say what I spend to buy a gift to give my mother on Mother’s Day is being a spendthrift, can you?

But Smitha, I don’t remember ever giving a gift to my mother, because we were not aware of a Mother’s Day in the first place; if at all we gave any gifts it was on very rare occasions like their 60th. and 80th. birthdays, I said. Also my mother who was your grandmother would feel too embarrassed to accept gifts from a daughter.

Come on, mummy, you people are so very old fashioned, you forget that times have changed and we should keep pace with the changing times. Like so many occasions celebrated in the west, for instance Valentine’s Day, Father’s Day, which practice we seem to faithfully follow, why not we celebrate Mother’s Day as well? she argued.

As I thought it was difficult to convince the girl that we don’t have to blindly follow Western practices, I had to concede that she was right.

Ok. Smitha, don’t you think you should give a gift to Prakash’s mother too? I suggested.

I could see that Smitha was taken aback at my suggestion.

But, mummy, she is my mother-in-law; how can I give her a gift when she is not my mother! she parried.

So what if she is not your mother, you seem to forget that she is a mother all the same, to the man you married, therefore, she too is entitled to a gift from her son on the occasion of Mother’s Day, I reasoned.

Smitha appeared confused at my words and her expression showed she did not like what I said.


N Meera Raghavendra Rao


11 thoughts on “Mother’s Day

  1. orrvee

    The modern day girls do not accept the husband’s parents as their own. My d-in-law calls me Appa, but has never given me a Father’s Day gift! The sons, of course, never do it!!

    You can’t find the idyllic relationship you had with your m-in-law any longer. By the way, did you give her a gift on Mother’s Day?

    1. meera rao

      I didn’t believe in giving a gift either to my mother or my mother-in-law (both are no more) because Mother’s Day like all the Hand me Downs from the West is not applicable to our culture. Surely we have better ways of displaying our affection towards them.

  2. v.madhavarao

    What is there in a ‘Mother’s Day’?
    Or,for that matter,Father’s Day,Valentine’s Day and the likes imported from the West, except satifying a craving of our identity with the West!
    For me, any day is a Mother’s Day since I feel indebted her so much
    that can not be expressed in words. I do not want to restrict her memory to only one day of the entire year.

    1. meera rao

      Thanks Rao for your comment, a very valuable one indeed.Yes, a mother should be remembered and her memories cherished throughout our lives for what she has given us.

      meera rao

  3. neela

    It is nice to catch after so long Meera. Congratulations on the latest book.
    Here is my two cents:
    Should not we celebrate every day if we can? Also I am glad S remembered to greet her mother on Mother’s day– Now what are we complaining? or is this debate only about expensive gifts?
    We celebrate divine mother’s day for 10 days in a fairly opulent way–dussehra/kolu/navratri.. Should it be condemned if daughters greet their not so divine mothers?!!!
    Also marriage is not about severing filial relationship, or looking over the shoulder all the time, in fact it becomes more inclusive what with another family thrown together..

  4. Prof.V.N.K.Kumar

    I must confess that I never remembered my mother’s birthday and even if I had come to know, I wouldn’t know what to do about it. I never felt that mothers also need to be recognized and greeted on their birthdays. How foolish of me ! I always thought that parents should recognize my birthday, greet me and give me gifts. Reciprocation ? Nonsense — it is not expected of me.

    Only after my children grew up and dispersed all over the world, the moment of epiphany happened. When they now greet me on my birthday, I feel delighted. How I wish my parents were alive today and I could likewise greet them.

    Instead of thinking “That doesn’t belong to our culture”, is it possible for us to see the similarities in different human cultures and see our 3rd rock from the sun as a global village ? Motherhood is common to all cultures and western culture has given us the proverb : “Since God cannot be in all places, He made mothers”. In our hurry and bustle, we might forget the birthday of our mothers but when the whole world is celebrating “Mother’s Day”, it reminds us of the role played by all the mothers on this planet. On this day if we greet our mothers, we greet not only our own mother but the entire community of mothers for the pure and unconditional love and affection they poured on us.

    With this wisdom of hindsight, I have started greeeting my wife, my daughters-in-law, my sisters-in-law and my sister on Mother’s day. It is an appreciation of the roles they have all played as mothers.

    1. meera rao

      A tribute to two mothers

      This is my tribute to two mothers in my life .The mother who brought me into this world decades ago, who taught me values of life which I have been able to adhere to till this day. “Never borrow from others, be it money or any article, try to make do with what you have. Don’t expect to grow rich overnight and acquire all the luxuries of life .It’s always better if they come to you gradually because only then you will realize their value ,”she would reiterate during my growing years .Her refrain after I got married was that I should adopt my inlaw’s family as my own and not give any chance that would bring discredit to my family ,meaning to her,( for it is only the mother who plays an important role in bringing up her children instilling values in life to be practiced by them).
      The other mother taught me to be compassionate and charitable towards the poor and have-nots saying it was unfortunate that they had to toil all their lives to sustain themselves. She treated me like a daughter though she didn’t give birth to me . When I lost my mother , she amply filled the void that was created by the person who was so dear to me . I wonder why there is no day to celebrate “A mother-in-law’s Day’’ because even today we still have models of good mothers-in-law like mine. In case of proverbial mothers-in-law , even then there is no harm if the daughters-in –law sing the praises of their husbands’ mothers once in a year to make them happy .
      n.meera raghavendra rao

      1. Prof.V.N.K.Kumar

        You say that your mother has taught you some beautiful things in life like voluntary simplicity (whereas simplicity in living enforced by poverty only creates sour-grapism or depression) and your mother-in-law has taught you empathy and compassion for the have-nots. Both were exemplary, I must say. However let me add that there are many mothers & Ms-I-L who are the epitome of role-models but seldom get appreciated. The fact that you are able to speak so highly of your MIL even after her demise, shows your values more than anything : appreciating the good traits of others and ignoring their weaknesses. In the land of Ds-I-L who cannot accept a MIL even if she happens to be an angel, it takes a lot of courage to choose the path which is less trodden ! You were and are an ideal DIL.

  5. orrvee

    Over the centuries mothers have given their children plenty of good advice; here are some examples from celebrity mothers.
    COLUMBUS’S MOTHER: I don’t care what you’ve discovered, Christopher. You could have written.
    MICHELANGELO’S MOTHER: Mike, can’t you paint on walls like other children? Do you have any idea how hard it is to get that stuff off the ceiling?
    NAPOLEON’S MOTHER: All right, Napoleon. If you aren’t hiding your report card inside your jacket, then take your hand out of there and prove it.
    GOLDILOCKS’S MOTHER: I’ve got a bill here for a broken chair from the Bear family. Do you know anything about this, Goldie?
    ALBERT EINSTEIN’S MOTHER: But, Albert, it’s your senior picture. Can’t you do something about your hair? Styling gel, mousse, something…?
    THOMAS EDISON’S MOTHER: Of course I’m proud that you invented the electric light bulb, Thomas. Now turn off that light and get to bed!
    HUMPTY DUMPTY’S MOTHER: Humpty, If I’ve told you once, I’ve told you a hundred times not to sit on that wall. But would you listen to me? No!

  6. Prof.V.N.K.Kumar

    I was ROFL (Rolling on floor laughing) when I read the grouse of the first mother, the mother of Columbus. The rest of them are also funny. Very creative effort.

  7. Glad to say my article titled “Not just my mother–my teacher too’ in Open Page of The Hindu dt.8th.May,2011 received overwhelming response from readers all over the country . Their feedback which was through e mail and phone calls was really touching .

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