Happy Mother’s Day to all the mommies. My cousin sister in Bangalore called us up to wish my Mom and her sisters all of who are here for another Engagement. She made her little daughter wish me. It was so cute to hear her say "Happy Mothers Day chechi". I am her regular babysitter you see and it was very sweet of my cuz sis to do that. Before my cuz sis could put the receiver down I heard her daughter ask her why she should wish me for Mothers Day as I am not a mommy. That question bought a flood of memories and I am dedicating this post to a special person in my life, who was like a second mother to me throughout my growing years. And this person is my mom’s youngest sister Ann.
Ann is nearly 12 years younger to my mom and was ( and still is) a breathtaking beauty. All the girls in the family were famed for their beauty but Ann was the best. Poor thing was also born into an ultra orthodox Syrian Catholic family, which means she was berated if a guy even looked in her direction. She grew up never appreciating her own beauty and always felt it was her fault because someone made a remark about her good looks. Such remarks were construed as shameful and she would get a scolding. Good Syrian Catholic girls did not attract undue attention to themselves according to norms in those days.
Inspite of having the ‘handicap’ of being extremely beautiful, she was a happy go lucky gal, who was absolutely crazy about me. For Dassara and Christmas holidays, she would insist that I be sent to Kerala and I remember flying as an Unaccompanied Minor with Indian Airlines. (We get about 10 days for Dassara and X'mas)The joy of seeing her face among the sea of people waiting at the airport is indescribable. She would lift me up and refuse to put me down and then I was her daughter for the duration of the stay. She would jealously refuse even my Ammachi from taking me to church, or the chandha, the farmers market which I loved to attend. Neither would she leave my side for a minute.
People would tease her saying that now that I am home, Ann will ignore everybody or they would say “wait till she goes back, then you will have to talk to us”. She is a gifted artist and wrote small articles for Femina in the 70’s. On the insistence of my Mom and her other sister’s, my grandparents let her complete her MA. They were afraid to keep a beautiful daughter unwed at home for too long.
For her wedding I threw a tantrum and hated her husband at sight. I didn’t understand why she had to go away with some strange man . And my uncle understood my hostility and promised me at the reception that he would take good care of her. It took me many months to get over the hostility and talk to him. But he kept his promise and is a wonderful husband and Uncle to me. He is also my favorite Uncle because he is a birder like me and we have been to many expeditions together. Today he is taking me to a place where he has seen some rare birds. Their greatest regret…that they have only sons and no daughter. A fact that saddens her to this day. Sometimes she sighs and says, maybe it was her greed for a daughter that made God punish her.
If she did have a daughter then that little girl would have been the luckiest girl in the whole world to have her as a mother.