Day 70

Mumma, starting today, the 70th day of this tribute to you, I will be posting notes written for you by your children and grandchildren. The first note has been written by your most mischievous kid, Manoj, who recounts your memories as follows-
“I coined the term BOSS for you and this is how you were addressed by me for over 35 years. You were loving yet strict – to make sure that we boys would be at our best behavior in the presence of others. Day 70.jpgYou were our shield from Papa and would alert us on his mood. You would know exactly what was the best time to ask for something like going for a camp or asking for an expensive thing to buy. With Papa’s career as a sports journalist and his extremely busy schedule, including frequent trips within India and overseas, you were the one who attended our parent-teacher meetings at school. These were mostly with my teachers as I was the academic weakling in the family. Until 10th grade, I would barely get passing grades in almost every subject. Every semester you had to listen to my teachers complain that I didn’t concentrate in class and I would not say a word when asked any questions. The teachers would ask you to speak to me only in English at home. Boss, you had no other option besides nodding and agreeing to all the recommendations. However as soon as we reached home, I would get a piece of your mind and a BATA चप्पल (flip-flop). Both you and I would then cry together. I, for the Red Marks of “Courage” on my back and you, for losing your temper. It was only later that we got to know that I had dyslexia. My English spellings were and continue to be the worst, even today. In fact, this revelation came to us only recently after watching the movie – तारे ज़मीन पर (Tare Zameen Par, a Bollywood Movie). We realized that all along, in the school years, I had this learning disability which prevented me to write proper English. I have to admit that even today I seek help from the kids and Lavina with the spellings of common words.
It was your constant struggle to make me study and prepare for exams, which you never had to do for Pankaj or Lali. I dedicate my success in life to you, Boss. Your love and encouragement was the fuel that made me do things that seemed impossible and the best part was that you did not expect any great results. This gave me the space to take life easy.
I remember you making my favorite कढ़ी (Kadhi – an Indian delicacy chickpea flour curry) on the days I would get a good beating from you. When I noticed that my favorite kadhi had not been made for a few weeks, I would joke that you should flex your hands on me even if you have no reason so I can get some treats from you.
I also remember putting you in so many embarrassing situations with my mindless and imbecile comments. I have the habit of thinking aloud and saying whatever comes to my mind which landed me in numerous awkward situations but you were always there to cover my back. No matter how old I get, I will always yearn for your unlimited, unconditional and infinite love.”


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