Tuesday, November 12, 2013

An unquenchable thirst

When I woke up this morning, I honestly didn’t know that I would take a break from work for a couple of days. There was a tiny wish that grew up to an avalanche and I willfully succumbed. I decided that I would take off from all the madness to catch up with all the reading that I have dearly missed this year and spend some time irritating amma and Calvin. I lounged on the sofa for hours, downed two cups of filter coffee, savoured vendakkai sambar and beans curry and discussed animal cruelty, health and our star Calvin with amma. During my light chat with amma, an unexpected emptiness enveloped me and I have chosen to rant about it today.

Although it’s been a year since I joined a newspaper, amma hasn’t read more than a couple of news item that I have written so far, since she can’t understand English like we do. And she doesn’t have an idea that I blog and write stories. It wasn’t a sudden discovery for me. But the realisation hit me harder this time. As we conversed, I told her that some of my friends like my stories and articles. She wore an innocent smile as she said, “Oh! Good! Okay!” I longed like a child, who expected to be showered with her parents’ appreciations for crayoning a mountain, sun and a few birds. I wanted amma to use more words. I expected her to ask me how I learnt to write and who my inspirations were. But she simply smiled. She couldn’t pose questions nor did she pass better remarks. She left me in a state of uncertainty or let’s say, I felt like I was in a limbo. As an aspiring writer, my unquenchable thirst of my works not being read by my own mother, who taught me the rudiments of the language that I use profusely, was almost like a stab at the heart.

When I write interesting articles for work, as soon as I wake up in the morning, I ask my father if he read it. Then I ask my husband to give it a glimpse. And as a ruthless daughter, I usually don’t check with amma if she would want to understand what I write. I take her for granted. I take her disadvantage for granted, which today I understand is unfair. I’m unsure if she would love to read my writings, but I went on a guilt trip for not hearing her.

After having been addicted to the pleasure of writing a story or an essay every day, I have gradually earned a few friends of same feather, who read my works regularly and help me with constructive criticism. I owe a debt of gratitude to all of them for walking this beautiful path with me. My sister is one of my regular readers. She likes it or not, she doesn’t miss reading it. But she dons the hat of my mother, when it comes to reviewing my works (I presume that that is how my mother would review my works if she reads). My sister doesn’t hand me brickbats at all for she always chooses to give me bouquets. Once in a while, I force my father to read my short stories. He begins with the first word, skips a couple of sentences and then directly goes to the last sentence. I reckon that my writing is not gripping for him. My significant other is my proof-reader. Even when I finish writing a story at the wee hours, he happily agrees to give it a read and helps me clean up my copies. In spite of posting the stories online and taking feedback from many chums, today I learn that there is a tiny spot in my heart that is waiting to be filled with my amma’s feedback about my writing. I know that it is not practically possible. But this is how a budding writer feels about not being recognised by her mother. Even if she grows big to garner more attention and recognition, there would be a wish in her bucket list that will never be checked – to hear some simple words from her mother about her works. It is a curse, if I may use a harsh word, something of that sort, to not to be seen as a writer by one’s mother. But it’s certainly not a curse that dampens one’s spirit. Like I mentioned earlier, it is an unquenchable thirst. The little girl continues to draw mountains, rivers and birds and longs to be acknowledged by her loved one.

I used to write a lot in Tamil often. In truth, I even wrote amma a beautiful letter, when she was not enjoying good health. And I must admit that it strengthened our bond. I wish that I could create more time to resume writing in Tamil soon for many a reason.

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