Mad at and about Mothers
Mothers' Day brings the celebration of motherhood to the fore. Of course, ask any mother about it and she will tell you that every day is mother's day. Then she will remind you that the breakfast you just cooked for her, while warms her heart, should also help you understand what it means to cook breakfast every morning. Now, you could ask her why she doesn't ask the maid to make breakfast every morning only to be told that the maid obviously can't. The maid will in fact burn the kitchen down before she manages the right crisp of the paratha. Ask her why she doesn't replace the maid and she will rightfully inform you that in this economy there are more BBA graduates than there are maids and as we all know, BBA graduates can't really do jack.
The Lecherous Culture of the West
While we may all pretend that Mothers' Day means the same to us all, it doesn't. Similarly, even though we all love our mother, our relationship with her will vastly differ given where we are in our lives. As a millennial bachelor from the generation that was told they could do anything when they really couldn't, my relationship with my mum is best described as "strained." We love each other but spend most time remonstrating about the many ills of our respective generations and the generation that came after us. To be honest, Western culture has actually influenced us a lot. I know we all roll our eyes when our mothers come to remind us of how everything we do is "adopting western culture." Out with your friends? Western culture. Date with a girlfriend? Western culture. Missed Friday prayers? Freaking Western culture.
Often times, I am tempted to point out that it isn't all Western culture, but rather moving past the confines of yester-years. It's like agreeing to slave trade because it happened in the olden days. Things change; move past it. But more often than not, I cannot help but silently agree to the accusation of living like I belonged to America (PS Western Culture generally always means America). My mother allows me the utmost freedom to explore. She is one of the most liberal-minded folks from her generation. But when on the end of a losing argument none of that really matters. And I end up making the most inane arguments to justify my own lacking. My favourite go to argument-killer is bringing up the flaws in religion. It's a touchy subject but it detracts the attention from whatever it is I am being yelled at for.
Meet the Girlfriend
There are two problems with having a girlfriend at my age. The first one is that sometimes people want to get married at this age. Second, everyone, especially your mother, wants you to get married at this age. I generally write this off as a conspiracy against me but maybe people are right. Now, sometimes you may be able to drop enough hints to let your girlfriend know that you have no intention of marrying anytime soon. Then she meets your mother and the whole situation changes. Every girl you bring means you are having an "affair". The "affair" is spoken like the dirtiest word imaginable. The "affair" means you are obviously going to hell. A facebook picture with a girl means your reputation is past reparable. Hands in hands with a girl on a Facebook picture? What will society think? What will the neighbours think? How will your family ever move past this? Your life as you know it is over. So then I tell my mother I do want to get married. In a year or two. Mull an engagement. That's when she says an engagement is just an excuse to legally get physical. And then she calls the girl and tells her not to ruin her life by marrying some loser like me who is constantly having affairs and sleeps late. Sleeps late, I tell you. That's worse than being a murderer. And does my girlfiened know I am awake till 2:00 am every night? Nothing good can ever happen that late except of course drugs and porn.
What will society say?
This is my mother's favourite question. In fact, if she was ever on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, then I wish this to be the question worth a million dollars. My mother loves asking me what society will say when I do this or that. Like what will society say when I come home after maghrib and listen to hip-hop music at a low volume? What will society say when my girlfriend leaves my home on her own? What will society say when they find out I don't have a Masters degree? I don't really know what society will say. I have never known the answer to this. I don't even know what society we are speaking of. Does this society have a Facebook group where they discuss these things? Does it maybe have a mailing club? Or do they have monthly meetings? I can imagine society gathering after Friday prayers when half of my generation is probably asleep or out somewhere, discussing all the things we have done and shaming each other. They all probably bring notes on everything they have observed and then start accusing each other, each allowed to offer a defence and then a jury of the oldest people sit and decide what the verdict will be.
Despite all these differences, Mothers' Day serves as a great reminder of what a mother means to all of us. She will always be the only person to forever love you unconditionally. She is always the one who will risk her health for yours. She may be 100 years old but if she is alive, trust her to want to only care for you, perhaps moving around in a wheel-chair and making you food. And unlike everybody else, a mother will never ever turn her back on you. My mother and I, we have fun. We laugh, we joke and we fight all the time. But we know that when it comes down to it, it's against the world and my mother is the only soldier I'd ever need on my side. I disappoint her and she only strengthens me. It's a vicious cycle but one I cannot imagine my life without. There are two lives every person lives. One with our mother and one without her. I know I speak for many of us when I say, the other life can't be worth it.
By Osama Rahman
Photo: LS Archive/Sazzad Ibne Sayed