“You know you can always come back… you don’t have to work if you don’t want to. We are here for you…”, my aunt said as she held my face in her palms, “No one will judge you if you have to quit… just come home the second you feel…”. We were interrupted by the cab driver as he finished putting my luggage in the trunk. I hugged her tightly and got into the cab. “Take care…”, she said as she somehow managed to let go of my hand. I looked back before the cab took the first turn, she was still standing there.
This was not the first time I was going out of station for a shoot and this was not the first time she said these exact words to me… but every time she said it, I felt so relaxed and content. I knew I could always go back.
I was not married then and lived with my youngest Maushi (Aunt) and her family for work…. and it was not an easy job. Erratic work hours, irregular schedule, stress, exhaustion… I don’t know if I would have ever managed to live through it without her support and encouragement.
I saw her juggle between social commitments and household chores and would wonder how she managed. One day I asked her, “Do you have to be so social…Don’t you get exhausted?”. She replied with her ever flawless ease ” It is important to take your people along as you walk… Else when the time comes you will be alone… you will know when you get married.” “But don’t you feel like going back… to your mom’s house.. you have family there too?” I demanded. “This is the place I come back to when I visit my mom… to my family… my home!”. I did not quite understand it then.
A few years later I got married and I had to move to the U.S with my husband. I had no friends or family … even my husband was almost a stranger to me. She came to drop me at the airport. We hugged and cried and then I waited for those words she never said the same words to me again… I waited… but it never happened again. I wondered why…
My husband and I had our share of fights.. our share of ups and down… finally I settled in but she never said the same words again… she did not have to anymore… she knew I was home.
Happy Mother’s Day Aju Maushi… for making me realize how important family is, how important the equations are and how important it is to take people along as I walk!