I would spend hours as a child flip-flopping in my mother's
shoes with her lipstick smeared on my face, a cloth fixed on to
my short crop in the shape of a konde and even plastic specs to
complete the look. Yes, I would be just like my mother, that was
about the only long-term plan I had, at the time.
A few years
on however, the tune changed completely: 'The mother' became 'the
monster'; the person I swore I'd never end up like. I am going to
do everything differently, was the promise I faithfully made to
myself, during years of ferocious scribbling in diaries while shedding
gallons of tears. And then suddenly you find, that you are unable
to move away from the essence of what is 'her'. For crying out loud,
I use the same amount of mustard in a particular curry and it's
not something I do consciously, it just happens! Like my affinity
for biting off pieces of tape even when there are scissors readily
There's a lot
of talk about the idyllic father daughter relationship and the pleasure
of complete indulgence one receives as daddy's little girl. Oh,
there's no denying that! Yet, while that may be so, there is a 'special
something' about a mother daughter relationship.
mother of a pre-teen, hearing her daughter tell people that she
wants to be a "computer teacher just like mummy" was very
special, even though she ruefully admits that the ambition may change
over the years. She believes that a mother daughter relationship
can be a very special experience, based on the fact that the two
spend so much time together, even if the activity isn't necessarily
an emotional one: "You're always there for her and she learns
through you, your experiences. I feel my daughter is closer to myself
than my husband, who has a soft spot for his son. Granted a father
has his place in his daughter's life but they are there for something
specific, whereas mothers are just there all the time."
Sharmini finds herself on the brink of the 'turbulent teens', she
finds that the girl who was earlier more dependent on her and needed
her to prompt, to assist, to help at all times has become quite
independent. "Being on the verge of adolescence, she can be
irritable and demands that she has her way all the time, but given
the physical and emotional changes she is going through at this
stage that can be only expected."
As she brings
up her daughter, Sharmini remembers her own mother who was very
patient. "I would love to be that patient, be a little more
like my own mother, but I am more hot-tempered!"
my daughter, I think it will get harder. This is just the beginning
of the difficult times. I think she will be wilful, always wanting
her own way. But I encourage her to share things with me, which
she does to quite an extent, even little intimate details. This
I would like her to continue."
twenty-two, has experienced the continued sharing with her mother
and at this point can safely say she is "good friends"
with her mom. "However, I can't discuss everything with her
- we are not the 'best-est' friends, in that sense - but we are
good enough friends to share things with each other." Although
Natasha does talk to her mother, there are some things she leaves
out for she feels, "It may cloud her outlook, which may make
her wary about life in general and I don't want that to happen.
"This difference of opinion, Natasha feels is as a result of
the kind of upbringing she had and the upbringing her mother gave
her. "I think I experienced a lot more freedom, which is what
makes our relationship special."
Still, a mother
will always be mother... "There are times when my mother feels
she still needs to protect and guide me; though I feel guided enough
already. I suppose, in that sense, the parent child relationship
is very much present."
gone through particular stages in her relationship with her mother,
Natasha feels that hers has always been a close relationship with
her mother, save the occasional tiff. "Earlier my reliance
on her was greater. Now I ask her for advice and although she gives
me her opinion it does not mean that it is necessarily what I do.
It will definitely shape my decision, but it is not the only option.
When I was younger, if she gave advice she expected me to take it.
Now it has evolved to a sort of dependence with independence which
is nice and I feel comes with age. It's fun now, because I think
the pressure is off somewhat so she is also more relaxed."
to the relationship she has with her father, Natasha feels although
it's her mother who knows at once when Natasha needs her she is
not completely ready to accept her as a grown up. "I also think
she's the one going through the bad age now," she laughs wickedly.
"She loses her temper when she expects me to listen when I
want her to argue out something with her. She thinks I'm annoying
her! At this stage she can't deal with it."
Now I understand
some things better though, says Natasha. What she used to agonise
over and never be able to understand then, now makes sense. Realising
in hindsight, like most of us do, that mom really did know what
she was doing after all! "Though there are some things I will
do differently, I will always appreciate the values she taught me
and pass them on to my own children."
Says Mrs. A.
de Mel who has a daughter studying abroad: "I've never done
anything to tow the line to keep the relationship going. I've told
my daughter sometimes that what I feel may be a conservative opinion.
But that it is one she should consider and not dismiss because it
comes with love and concern." She can safely say that she is
happy with the relationship she has with her daughter. "Whatever
problems she has had, she has come to me with them and has discussed
over the years almost everything from prospective boyfriends to
did go through a stage of saying she hated her mother - "I'm
not saying it didn't hurt, it did. But at the same time, she was
able to say that to me knowing that my feelings for her would not
change. But our relationship grew closer over the years; a closeness
that distance didn't break, perhaps even strengthened. Though she
is miles away she keeps herself as close as possible."
For Mrs. de
Silva, if a relationship between mother and daughter is not right,
she feels the onus is on the older person, as she is the more experienced
one in the relationship. An opinion that has bothered her own mother
who, as Mrs. de Silva puts it, "treated me as if I were 25
when I was 45! We have gotten a lot closer over the last few years
though and now she tells me to 'be my age'."
So it's almost
unanimous; she may be your worst enemy at times but your mother
can be your best friend. You may spend most of your life pushing
her away, but she is always there. (Though that may not necessarily
be the best thing at all times!)