While recovering from a fall a few months ago, my mother read one of my favourite books 'Tamarind Mem' by Anita Rao Badami. I recommended it to her along with some Bengali books she had not read. I figured it will stop her from thinking about pretending to be alright and moving around to catch up on her household chores instead of resting like she should. My mother isn't happy unless she is doing something 'productive'.
Cue: Flashback to 20 summers spent following mother's list of
Productive Things to do over Summer instead of having fun that included things like
- getting instructed on Grade 8 English when one is studying in the 2nd grade,
- learning to stitch an entire outfit, sitting for O-Levels for no apparent reason,
- figureing out how to cut and cook a whole chicken without instructions
Anyway, she did read the book and even liked it. You see, as much as she likes to complain about- my excessive (!) reading, purchasing another bookshelf instead of a dresser, buying books instead of expensive makeup; my mothers used to be an avid reader when she was young. She says she hasn't had the time or inclination to read for decades. The idea scares me. Maybe that's why I don't want to be married with kids.
Either way, I was pleased that she liked something that I love.
Then she smiled and actually said out loud, "Why don't you write a book about me like that?"
Imagine my surprise at her insight (into how much Tamarind Mem resembles her) and the sudden flattery.
Oh my god!! Was that an approval?
Then I got what she actually meant-
"Be productive with all the reading you do and and write something."
I'm nothing if not a dutiful daughter.