If the woman is a mother of Indian heritage, then …. mmm …some of those words back may have to be revisited. You see women of the subcontinent are wholesome and well rounded (if you get my drift). We love our food, our family and our kids who have been called various names of endearment depending on the state where they originate from. Women of Bengali descent would call their kids Shona (gold), ‘Bacchha’ (baby) popular in the North or ‘Chinna’ (small) if originating from the South. This name could unfortunately stick until the baby bulks up into a rotund adult.
The menagerie of endearments is thrown into the trousseau of an Indian bride. Woven into her genome it takes full flight when a baby is born. The new mother is elated at the sight of this little person and soon metamorphs into a babbling googly-eyed mother. She now has a reason to get up every morning, Shonna-ing her way through the diapers, imparting true words of wisdom during the teenage years and sentences interspersed with Bacchaaor Bacchee and then introducing her young adults as Chinnas with an air of pride and grace. Life is content and the fairytale unfolds.
Fast forward the hands of time. The cuddly babies are now young adults. The young bride and mother is now a mature working woman, independent with the world at her feet. Her Bacchaas have also kind of snipped the apron strings and gone on to bigger and better things. However, they still live at home, enjoying the Shona status where mum is the housekeeper, chef, washer woman and general goffer. This would be an apt time to say ‘as a rule, mans a fool’ and the woman is not far from it.
The legacy of mothers speaking any language is to see that her nest egg is well looked after, that it hatches with a healthy offspring ready to devour a fridge and freezer full of food. It does augur the belief that there could be a conspiracy with the big supermarkets handing out bonus cards for devouring every morsel in the fridge every three days. This ensures that the gawky teenager then finds his biceps and triceps to flex when a bird of his dream walks past.
The next step, saving for the nest egg. The Shona asks “mum, can I take your Sumeet mixie as the Vitashake is no patch in the kitchen? (name has been changed to avoid disenchantment with the manufacturer). Mum regurgitates her smile and says, “What is in this house is yours Shona” with a sound of a loud kiss to make the statement sound more authentic. The mother-of-all-trades (MOAT) hones her skills and shows her pearly whites just in case a frown is misconstrued. How could she part with this piece of history? This mixie given by her husband at their first wedding anniversary is now older than her first born.
Does this say something about all things desi? I can list a few things that I bought as a student that I still wear, I can also list a few things that belong to my mother that I wear occasionally. Furthermore, I can list a few things that belong to my grandmother that I own and wear with pride. The distinction between owning a piece of history and hoarding is, oh such a fine one!
Why is it that the Sumeet endures even though the cap does not fit properly and the wires have to be held at a certain angle supported with a wooden spoon (a steel one would be catastrophic) for it to work. I can throw a gauntlet to any Sumeet user or a newbie to come and operate my mixie. This is truly a piece of history that is handed down without the battered book of instructions manual. I would really like this to find its way into the kitchen of my grandchild.
That would make me proud. A happy mother, grandmother and if blessed, a great-grandmother.
I am too blessed to be stressed.