Sunday 8 May 2016

5 reasons a socio-culturally messed up nation like ours should not celebrate mother's day!

"Happy Mother's day Mom ! Is there a small gift I can give you today please?" 

My mom hugged me, smiled in my eyes and shook her head. Next I knew we were playfully bantering about how it should be me getting gifts for being her first child and thus causing her to be declared a mother once I was born. Dad, brothers, all of us busy teasing her. I digress, I will return to this at the end of the post again.

Later that night, I wondered if it really made sense? All this mother's day hullabaloo everywhere. I'm not going to go all fundamentalistic, only because I know I would be judged, but here are a few questions:

  • Indians celebrate two navratras and Durga Pujas. Do we really need an extra mother's day? Even symbolically, I feel more connected and more child - like to the divinity that a lot of us Hindus call 'Maa'. We have The Yashoda Ma, The Sita Mata, Mother Mary, Mata Parvati, Maa Saraswati. But we also have Maa Lakshmi, who does not have a mythological son. What does that indicate?
If not symbolically, what exactly is it that we do to feel entitled to celebrating Mother's day? We're socio-culturally messed up as a nation! I wonder if we even deserve to have mothers and if we do, then have we earned the right to call them parents. For those of us who ARE mothers ourselves, are we the mothers that deserve being called mothers?

I see facebook pages swarming with mother's day posts; I see various organizations with a mother's day theme, I see businesses trying to sell me pizzas, cakes, flowers, cards, food, clothes, interior decoration, health check ups and what not for my mother; I see friends flaunting how their kids cook for them. I mean serious ladies? A lot of us used to cook AT LEAST 3 days a month for the whole family in tier 3 cities, even if our moms did not let us cook the rest of the time.

Even beyond all this, I personally feel that as a community, a nation, a people, a society, we've lost the right to celebrate mothers and motherhood, here's why:

  • We do NOT WANT or DESERVE mothers to begin with.
With female foeticide and infanticide rates still on a high, do we really want mothers in our society? I mean keep killing potential mothers even before they are born, and then go around selling to me the concept of 'Happy Mother's Day'! And don't even get me started about mothers who abort their own girl children! Hypocrisy much???

  • We do not want to talk about how girls actually become mothers.
We do not talk about sex, periods, menstrual cycles and pregnancy. We do not prepare our girls to be mothers. We believe in - 'bachchha to time aane pe ho hi jayega'! With that sort of hypocrisy, a lot of women are not even prepared to be mothers. Forgive me, but no matter how happy motherhood maybe, unplanned, really?

  • We HAVE FAILED our mothers by our inability to provide proper maternal health.
Oh, I wish I didn't have to mention this one! There may be costly nursing homes, doctors, experts on prenatal, neonatal and postnatal care, but what percentage of women actually have an access to the maternal care before, during and after their pregnancy? Read a report here1 But so what? We're better than Pakistan! Yo baby!!!

If businesses had SOME shame, their products would be around cheaper sanitary napkins, easy access to medical facilities, provision of transportation in rural areas for pregnant women (do you hear the Ola and the Ubers of the world?) I don't think so. We claim we respect mothers? Like, really?

  • We discriminate against our mothers!
Oh yes! We do that all the time! I've seen caregiver discrimination of this form for so long. We want women to be machines producing babies, taking care of them AND performing the best at work. Yet, we continue to be prejudiced against working mothers.

Oh the child's skirt isn't the best pleated? 
"Iski maa ko naukri aur office se fursat mile tab to!"

There's food to cook, homework to finish, bag to pack, lunch to make AND a job to do.

Maa to Main hi hoon na!
And at office?
"Kya madam, apko itni chutti kyon chahiye? Abhi last fortnight to PTM tha na! "
"Please make sure we don't end up hiring someone who's planning pregnancy or is returning a short while after their maternity break!" (Internal hiring discussion)
"Oh you've just returned from your maternity break? Wonderful!". After 3 more rounds of interview - "Sorry, but the Ops manager has rejected. Better luck next time!" 

I mean woman, was your ops manager not capable of reading the CV when she'd applied?

  • Most heinously? We discriminate among our mothers!
Widow mother? - Bechari dukhiyari!
Divorced Mother?  - Pati ke saath rehti to bachchhe to nahi bigadte!
Single / Unmarried mother ? - Saali Besharam! (oh and do grind your teeth and grunt a bit when using this language)
A working mother ? Kya ghar ka dhyaan rakhti hogi yaar!
A woman who doesn't want to be a mother - irresponsible, selfish bitch!

I mean wow! Perhaps I'm pessimistic. I have loads of happy friends, happy to be mothers! All power to you ladies! However, a batch of 100 women I know isn't sufficient percentage for me to celebrate mother's day !

I told you I will return to my family banter again at the beginning of the post. Here's what happened...

Me: Dad, is it not hypocrisy to be celebrating mothers' day when we as a society are so messed up.
Dad (sigh): Unfortunately, yes it is.
Me : I am sorry mom, I took so much time to actually realize your value in my life. Now that I do, will you be happy if I still did not wish you a 'Happy Mother's Day!"
Mom (with a smile) : I'll be happier if you wish me after earning that right like you say. Go change the world, talk, write, do something. Do your bit and then come and wish me, I'll be happy!

With this thought, on this day - A Very Happy Mother's Day to All the Struggling Mothers out there! May you shine and May you help your sisters shine!

©Anupama Garg 2016, May

1 comment:

Share your thoughts