Happy Birthday Amma

This is one of the most difficult blog posts I’ve written. You cannot possibly put down everything you feel for your mother. I love her. I admire her. I get angry with her. I want to be like her. It’s a flurry of mixed emotions. I can’t give voice to all my mixed-up thoughts though. That’s why I haven’t, until now, dared to venture out to write about my mum.

It’s her birthday today. I’m glad she was born on this day because
1. Without her being born I couldn’t have been born.
2. She makes a difference to WAYYYY too many people. She’s a happy wife. (And that means a LOT). She’s a favourite aunt. She’s a playfully troublesome mother-in-law; to my colleagues, her food is indispensable; she is a role model best friend (I build my friendship with my best friends looking at her and Prema aunty), and she is nice enough to make coffee for the guy who comes to deliver Nandini milk at 6 in the morning. You get what I’m saying.
3. She is a Sagittarian. I don’t know how that makes a difference. But I like it that we’re of the same sun sign.


My mother, I believe, is the most ideal mother. She has always let me have my freedom, the perfect sort of upbringing. She never told me “Swathi study! Do your homework! Swathi do engineering. You need to earn well.” She never called me into the kitchen to do the dishes. She let me learn things at me own pace. Life-wise, she’s too patient. The only things she did bother me about was, of course, “Swathi fold your blanket! Come down for dinner! Not after 40 mintues! NOW!” and she would (and still does) shout out my name every 30 seconds until I go to the dining table. Gosh! That does bother me. But she has never been intrusive, never wanted too many details about everything. Even my dad for that matter, I love them because they let me be me.

The thing is, I have never given it thought, about how important her role has been in my life. I have never thought “Oh what will I do without amma?” because I can’t even imagine considering such a situation! Honestly speaking, I think of her either when I’m really happy or when I’m really sad, and I believe one thinks of the few people who matter most in such situations. And I instinctively think of her. That’s when I want her with me the most. The in-between, non-superlative emotions go by because they aren’t significant enough.

Also as I’ve said before, we don’t express emotions in our family. We never send text messages to each other saying ‘love you’ either. Just sometimes, when amma is proud of me after she reads an article she likes or if she’s in an exceptionally happy mood, she comes and pecks me on my head. I savour that moment. Of course I’m not going to express that, because my ego (or something) won’t let me. I see other mothers hug and kiss their kids all the time, no matter how old they are, but my mum hasn’t done that often. Which makes the rare display of affection even more precious. And somehow the fact that it doesn’t come too often makes me comfortable. I don’t expect any of you to understand. It just makes me feel that we understand each other no matter what. I don’t even hestitate or think of the aftermath of telling her a big secret or anything, because I’m always confident that she will finally let me have what I want. She is not one to say no. She’ll let me do anything that makes me happy. Not many people would do that. (Oh also here’s a tiny secret. She preaches that you should never hate anyone, that you should always forgive. But she absolutely hates Ranne and Chabbria and Vishnu Murthy Chintadri and whoever else plays the bad guy in  TN Seetharam’s serials. Hehe.)

A lot of people tell me I look “ditto” like my mum. And my sister gets that a lot too. We don’t mind of course. She is beautiful. (Thankfully we have really good looking parents)! It’s an honour, if anything, to know that our looks haven’t gone wrong. Someday I’d like to be just like my mum. No mummy, I don’t want to be a dummi (not dummy. Dummi. Read it right). (I trouble her a LOT that she’s fat). But the other day, my dad was in Delhi, and I was trying to sleep in my room, but I couldn’t. So I went and slept next to amma. I was sleeping next to her after REALLY long. Maybe five years or something. I just lay there and stared at her, for as long as I could without feeling like a creepy person. In that little bit of street light, my mummy looked so pretty. She has the silkiest hair, doesn’t look a bit her age and her sharp features are just flawless. Of course I can’t sit and look at her when I’m awake. That’ll just be weird. Anyway, I had the deepest sleep that night, I’m not kidding. I’m quite a scared person at night. It’s nice to sleep with my amma once in a while, feeling both protected and protective.

And she’s the coolest mum, because which mum would watch an entire football match of Arsenal’s (if I miss it) just to tell me the score later? She’s too cute! She says, “I watched it because I love the way the fans in the stadium sing, but you should always support whoever scores.” The previous few seasons, she was all like “Oh why do you have to support Arsenal? Look at Manchester United. They’re scoring. You support them.” I almost disowned her at those times. Now that Arsenal are on top, she’s a Gooner as well. So, this season, I especially love my amma.

Here’s what Su has to say: Amma is SuperMom! Super-Human actually! Everyday, she has the time to cook breakfast, lunch and dinner, do all the cleaning and washing, go to work, religiously go for yoga, meet Prema aunty, attend every function there is,  make Chakkli, KodbaLe, Chikki, kobbri Mithai, jamoon and just like that, be in touch with every friend, attend Sanskrit/Gita classes and even get office work home these days! Phew! The only free time she gets is probably 10 minutes when she reads the paper! I have never known what either of my parents do in their free time, because they have no free time really! (She only watches TV during dinner).

Not once has amma asked for our help around the house or kitchen, not even during Janmashtami where she singlehandedly creates 20+ varieties of mouthwatering Thindis every year without fail! You call her at 6 in the evening and tell her a cousin is going abroad and wants to carry her chikki, she will attend Yoga class from 6:30-8 and Chikki will be ready and packed in a ziplock bag by 9 ! After I am married and not living with her anymore, I am appreciating her awesomeness even more! All my life, not once has she cribbed and asked what to cook today!(which is such a big question now everyday!) nor has she complained that there’s too much work ever!
At Amma’s place , everything feels like it happens by itself, except the magical hands of amma are behind everything that happens.

So HAPPY BIRTHDAY amma! :) We love you more than you can imagine!

– Appa, Su, Anand and Swat

We’ll stop here now. But here are a few things other people have to say about my mum.

Navu – Gayathri mami is the most spontaneous and frank person. I love that about her.

Tatha and pati – She is so straight forward. That’s the best thing about her. She will never tell you something just to please you. If she thinks you’re wrong, she’ll tell you you’re wrong. But what can I say? I like everything about her! She’s my daughter after all!

Doddamma – She’s the most kind hearted person. She would never ever hurt anyone. And she is always so frank!

Varun Ram Iyer – When you think of her, you think of the simplicity of beauty. And the beauty of simplicity. She has the simplest smile that can warm a heart. Purely because it’s so genuine and it does not do anything but wish the best for you

Adit – Her menasina saaru!! (I don’t need to say anything else.) But she is the most kind and loving person.

Sanjukta – She packs so much into her day and does it so very effortlessly. I’ve never seen or heard of her being tense or losing her cool.

Hrishi – UPPIT! Enough said!

Suman, Seshi, Surabhi and Sudarshan – Happy Birthday! We love you very much. Love your magnanimous heart and enthusiasm for everything in life. You are a super woman as you manage kids, home, office, social engagements, and your hobbies so smoothly. So proud to be part of the family.

Nuvena –  Her raasam rice is just wow! She’s an awesome cook! I’ve never gotten to meet her though!

Supriya – She’s my second mother. That says it all. Love her a lot!

Pooja – She’s so simple. I like how such small things make her happy, like honey cake! Also, she isn’t like a mom! She’s like a friend. I like the fact that she religiously practices yoga. Also, the way she talks makes me feel like a kid!

Uttara –  She’s so very caring, open and frank and broadminded!

Now you see how many children she has! It’s not just me and Su.

We all love you too much ya mummy! Hope you have the happiest birthday ever!


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