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  • Purva Grover

The ‘other’ mothers


Mothers — they're the same world over, right? I thought so too until I met the 'other mothers'. During my university days, I shared a hostel room with a girl, who would exude with pride, as she’d tell us that she had been ‘mothered’ by her father. Having lost her mum in her teens, she’d say — ‘The world can assume that only a woman can be a mother, but I think otherwise.’ Years later, I watched her father take charge of her wedding shopping — knowing the difference between magenta and fuchsia. She’s now a mum to two boys herself. Ask her who taught her to change diapers for them and she’d grin, pointing towards her dad.

Over the years, I met up with wonderful boys and girls and men and women — who had been nurtured by the ‘other’ mothers. An ex-colleague and a dear friend smiles generously at the remark – You look just like your mum. An adopted child, she recalls the day her adoptive mum told her that she was special — ‘You have another mum, the one who gave birth to you.’ Does this fact bother her?’ “As a family, we were destined to nourish each others’ life and love one another, so here we are,” she says. Having lost her parents at a young age, another close friend has been brought up by her elder sister and brother-in-law. She may not address them as mum-dad, but that doesn't take away from the relationship that they have formed over the years. “I think titles, labels, and names are all up to us. I am blessed to have found parents in them,” she shares.

Perhaps, mums world over are the same then — just that the name we use to refer to this individual, who loves us unconditionally, varies.

A single dad, a foster mum, an aunt, an elder sibling, a single mother, an adoptive mother (father) or grandparents — I don’t know how your mum looks like, but I am certain that here’s an individual, who never gets tired of cooking your favourite dishes or asking you to eat well. She/he knows you are going to catch a cold much before you or the doctor has a clue. You’ll never see her/him fret over helping you pack a suitcase, even if you are 50. They’ll nurse not just your playtime injuries, but also heartbreaks, as you’ll grow older. These ‘mothers’ too wait patiently for us to return their call. Your mother is your pillar, just like mine — right?

Perhaps, motherhood can’t be defined by gender, genes or said social relationships. After all, it is not easy to describe a blessing in words.

Here is to mothers and the ‘other’ mothers — wishing you all a Happy Mother’s Day.

P.S: Irrespective of the way your blessing looks like or the name you call her/him, I am certain that you will agree with me that the tightest squeeze of our lives comes courtesy of mums. Don’t forget to return a hug, a call, this Mother’s Day.

This piece was first published in Khaleej Times.


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© 2018 by PURVA GROVER