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Miss You, Mom! September 11, 2010

Posted by Gomathi Reddy in Desi Indian, Love and Life, Parenting, Women and Children.
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Those were the days.

Eid-ul-Fitr was just another festival in our household, and not an Islamic festival.  So was Christmas.  All festivals that we had a tradition of celebrating, across religions, were only about food, minus those strenuous fasts.  Mom had a great menu for every festival, and so if the Biryani and Malpua came with an extra tang and zing, and if Falooda was in the refrigerator, I was sure that she was trying to impress dad, once more with her Hyderabadi influence. Her day-to-day brahminical veggie foods, took a complete u-turn during Eid and Christmas and dad was in awe of her excellence.  And this was the only thing for which I hated being her daughter – I never figured out how people expect daughters to inherit culinary skills.  I was a huge failure in this department, relatively by a larger dose, along with all other stereotypical expectations about Indian women.  But I did relish her Haleem(meat stew), Falooda and Malpua(sweet), not to forget that occasional Sukha Meva(dry fruit porridge) and of course I nodded in agreement to all those hoo-hahs about her chicken Biryani.  When our friends celebrating Eid, came over with large packs of Biryani, we used to surprise them with an equal spread from our home.

Photo Courtesy: The Tribune

Growing up in a household that was inclusive in every sense, without even a trace of any references to religions and castes, I guess, I was not groomed  to wake up to the real India.  And then came the Mandal commission report that plunged my ordinary jolly-good world into a tribal existence; where people were no more respected for their efforts aimed at excellence, but were denied education on being “forward” communities; where people queued up to the Taluk offices to reaffirm or “earn” their community certificates that would slot them as Backward, Most Backward, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes; where the so-called forward communities began to yearn to get enlisted as one of the minorities that are doled out goodies and reservations by the State, as the only means of creating a welfare mechanism; where South Indians, who would’ve never thought of brandishing their caste as their surname, do so now; where a Gomathi K(despite being born a Reddy), becomes Gomathi K Reddy, only after marrying into a family that is extremely proud of its lineage; where, real people take a back seat, and their future education and opportunities, are based on their great-grand-parents’ past!  And the concept of “inclusivity,” was making a steady dash to death.

Today being “secular” is only being politically correct, being grouped under community tags is the way to go, being humane is out-of-trend, and stretching a helping hand to someone from another cultural background deserves the headlines.

Despite this annoying parity among the majority communities in India, the welcome change is that a large part of minority communities are beginning to get inclusive.  They are fighting for greater freedom and forbearance within their own frameworks, but they see themselves as Indians.

When our friends celebrating Eid called on us this morning, to share their happiness and Biryani, I realized that not only was my mother a better cook, she was also a better Indian, than I.

And I missed her, yet another day.



1. paddy - September 17, 2010

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