The Legacy Of Our Mothers : What Remains With Us If You Don’t Count All The Fights

As mothers and daughters, I think we’re programmed to disagree with each other (well most of us anyway). It’s set in stone — think of it as the Eleventh Commandment, “Thou shall almost always disagree with thy LoinFruit. Especially in public”. My mum and I have been this duo numerous times; keeping true to the Eleventh Commandment, almost always in public. We can squabble about almost everything : my hair, her prejudice against homosexuality, my choice of books and clothes, her choice of books (Two words : Danielle Steel!), my writing, my blog (“Oh just why do you like to write about your life and let the whole world read it?”), her graying hair (read : when I don’t notice she’s just dyed them), my cooking (or lack thereof), her opinions on Indian Politics, my opinions on Indian Politics; even underwear isn’t “No Woman’s Land” in our verbal wars excited discussions. Most of our heated arguments discussions center around — “Oh just WHY can’t you be like other Indian girls? Would it kill you to learn to cook, care about marriage? What do you mean you boycott marriage? WHO WILL GIVE ME GRAND-CHILDREN THEN!?” and many rants in the same vein. The situation doesn’t get any better when her mother enters the diatribe too.

This is the one time dad can’t get away from her fast enough,  as soon, the focus shifts from us and lands on him, simply because he’s there. Frankly, I don’t blame the dude. When the two of us get ranting, within weapon throwing distance from each other, it’s just safer for the common populace to just leave us be.

Despite all the above hoo-ha, sooner than you can imagine, we fizzle out of arguments and then just head to the coffee pits in resigned defeat. She likes to steam off by cooking enough food to feed a small army, as for me, I like to pound the keyboard to get the just right BlogCake. Guess what happened moments before this post? Spoiler : Epic Mother and her LoinFruit War! I am told this happens everywhere, which is sadistically reassuring. Okay, not so much actually.

As Renee recently pointed out, whenever feminists talk of choice, we talk of the Choice To Abort; completely ignoring the choice to Keep The Tiny Human And Love It For The Rest Of Its Freaking Life. And I agree, enough crap has gone on under the carpet due to this misconception (no innuendo intended). This is a final reply to all the angry Indian housewives who send me e-mails daily detailing my life in hell for being “pro-abortion” as they call it. Dear AngryHousewifeLadies : NO one is pro-abortion. We’re all “pro-CHOICE” people (Message brought to you by feminism). Also another thing: what Nina897 wrote about me on her blog isn’t true! Just who lights babies on fire for kicks? If you’re that person, I’m sure some good head doctor will love to speak to you.

From completely verifiable facts, it seems my mum chose the second option, twice. It looks like a choice, walks like a choice and rants like a choice. Only, when we ask it to do the Olde Quacke, we realise, it’s more of an imposition, rule, mandatory code than it’s really choice. She didn’t have a choice to not have little humans tearing apart her LadyBits. If a woman doesn’t produce any LoinFruit, rumours start swirling about her being a hermaphrodite, cold, frigid or worse — a UnWoman.

Motherhood isn’t really a privilege here as much it is like the perpetual cold. Like my one-book-a-day habit, women here pop little humans out of their cooters everyday, get up and start cooking again. I don’t know a single Lady who chose not to have a little human. Either she popped too many or she couldn’t pop a single one out. Either  patriarchy dictates that she has x number of children to fully yield the ‘Complete Woman’ badge or anyone else who doesn’t conform is easily tagged as ‘barren’ and ‘frigid’.

It’s not just the rule that “If Thou has a cooter, little humans must come out of it” that gets me eye-rolling to eternity; it’s  the idea that someone else controls whether the little infant in the womb deserves to live or die, based on its sex that makes me want to give up all hopes on humanity and just go live in a cave. Or sometimes, the family of the Lady doesn’t feel ‘it’s right time‘ to have the little human, women are told to abort their children. Or their cooters are used to control them. I know a few Ladies who have been a part of this control game. It’s unfathomable to let someone else decide what should happen to your body, but these women, have given up control. If I have to look back at all the women I’ve met in my life, each one of them has conformed and earned the status as a Complete Woman. They are all strong women, independent, beautiful and smart; capable of supporting themselves and their family, then why do they settle for being patriarchal pawns? And then it hit me : This is what their mums told them to do. Much like Gloria Steinem’s statement about truth, “It’ll set you free. And then it’ll piss you off”. And it did.

When I am a wee bit older than I am now, when all my squabbles with mum will be a thing of the Truest Olde Time, I don’t want to remember that choice was completely absent from the rules I was brought up with. I don’t ever want to have to take my student for an abortion again either just because her mum didn’t tell her the things she needed to hear. I don’t ever want to hold my friend’s hand as she sits crying in the hospital after her second miscarriage in six months just because her CabbageBrain of a husband doesn’t understand the terms “immature uterus” and “don’t fornicate for at least six months” in DoctorSpeech. I never, ever, want to not have choice. Never again.

(Mum, if you’re reading this, sorry about the part about your LadyBits).

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4 Comments

  1. Sanya

     /  June 9, 2010

    Thank you so much for this post. Every word wrote resonates within me. Indian motherhood norms mostly include preparing the girl for marriage and child-bearing right? There’s no space for being YOU.

    Reply
  2. Komal

     /  June 10, 2010

    Something gives me the feeling that mothers may just be participating in social structures greater than themselves. Both men and women uphold the patriarchy, and mother comes under ‘women’, so they uphold the patriarchy too. But the patriarchy should be seen as a male creation, not because men stood aside separated from creation and popped patriarchy into existence, but because given their obvious vested interest it is reasonable for us to treat them as the ‘source’.

    Reply
  3. Komal

     /  June 10, 2010

    Ok that last sentence of mine was a bit nonsensical. What I meant was that since men benefit from the patriarchy, we can assume that if anyone perpetuates it more/had more of a role to play in its origin, it is men. Once created, though, it does permeate into many women’s minds, and they end up being pawns of the patriarchy.

    I am reluctant to say that the oppression of women is somehow women’s ‘fault’, though I know it has become fashionable for some ‘feminists’ to say so. It seems like blaming the victim to me, and personally I’d rather just blame men :P.

    Reply
  1. The Legacy Of Our Mothers : What Remains With Us If You Don't … | Live News India

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