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Ayesha, a 34 year young mother to Kabir, 13, arrives at NOMAD studio on her Scooty every morning. Masked in mulmul under an old helmet, tough and gentle at the same time. Her hushed yet energetic presence has, in two years, become firmly established inside studio walls.
When I decided to pen down an ode to Mothers, she was my obvious choice. Why? Hmmmm..
I recalled her mention of being a single mother during the interview. Though the revelation had intrigued me but the occasion did not call for a probe.
Curiosity often leads to broader horizons. Mine led me to Ayesha's story. A story as much of courage and grit as it is of trial.
Married off at 20, she lost her husband barely two months into the marriage.
Decisions like these are tough especially when one is answerable to innocent lives that stand ahead demanding stability and society accordance.
Barely 21 and at home with parents, it was decided that her identity be kept a secret from the child. After all what was in hand was far more precious and Godly than the bitter, undigested truth. The family had a new toy to love and Ayesha had a reason to live for. The path that had gone astray was now visible in the title of a "Sister"!
Society being the greatest boon to civilization has proved to a killer of hard-hitting yet innocent realities. "What is" is simpler when accepted with complete interiority of our being. In other situations, it's a burden tough to live with. It takes a great deal of courage to come to terms with facts AND to live with them absolutely so your children learn not to shy away from realities.
Seeing Ayesha in a space she owns undisputedly; that of a mother, is heart-warming. It's always good to know the people who surround you, a little deeper. One is in a better position to empathize with decisions they take in their own capacity.
Me: "So Ayesha, how does it feel like to be young mom?".
She beams with youth and why not? Kabir's friends still think of her as his "Didi".
Her secret was revealed to the child 10 years later, when in school, he wrote his "Naana's" name as the father whereas the birth certificate had his real father's name written.
What must go in the head of young boy? Was Ayesha the mother who mothered or the sister who played and loved...? The confusion left him mum for a few days.
It took several days of silent conversations and few real ones to bring things to as is.
After all, the color of truth is grey. It's subjective. It's relevant. It's what is, in a given moment!
Ayesha: "Ma'am, please mention that my mother has been instrumental in my journey as a mother"...
Happy Mother's Day
Illustrated by Prasun Chakraborty
Edited by Jyoti Raghavan Khanduja