Thursday, April 28, 2016

Stealing the show

I call mom, and hear a strange "Hello?" I know this hello. It means she is doing something she does not want to discuss.

"What are you doing?"

"Kichuna". She is quick to answer, "Nothing!" 

I hear the unmistakable signs of her breathing fast. 

"Mom, what are you doing at 3 in the afternoon?"

"I am walking," she finally tells me.

"Where to?"

"To the cinema theater."

My mom found her liberation after 35 years of marriage. She is a die-hard cinema fan. She has to watch every cinema, Bollywood or Bangla or whatever, on large screen. She could watch back-to-back movies everyday for her entire life. 

However, she is also someone who has had a mostly sheltered life. Never worked outside home. Never worked for money (household work is work too, just that it does not pay monetarily). Never traveled alone. From living with her parents to living with my dad, she has never lived alone. Her hobbies and interests are something she indulged in as long as it did not affect the quality of her family's life. You get the picture. 

But then, she recently got tired of asking everyone to accompany her to watch movies. People were busy, people were disinterested, people did not care. I have been one of those people too who disappointed her. 

So one day, she took off alone. To watch a movie. After being married and in-company for 35 years, she just went ahead and watched a movie alone. And she loved it.

Ever since, weekdays after lunch, she takes off to the local cinema place. It's not as crowded on weekdays, and they even give heavy discounts on Tuesdays. 

"I love it. Now I do not have to depend on anyone's mood. And no matter whether you go alone or in a group of 20, you are always watching the movie alone."

She has nailed it. She just told me about the most profound realization many of us still do not have. The realization that your experiences are always your own, and everyone is living life on their own. She said that she'll be happy to go with us if we ask her to. Otherwise, she is happy going alone. 

And just like that, she shifted the power dynamics, from being a victim whom no one accompanies to the cinema, to a person in charge, who will be happy to give us company only if we need it. I am so proud of her, I am beaming. Because just like her, I do not wait for company to do the things I want to- travel, eat at a restaurant, watch a cinema, go on a long drive, visit the Disneyland. I have done it all alone, and loved it. Ma must have looked at me many times and thought, "My daughter is just like me." Now, I look at her and think, "My mother is just like me. Independent, when not inter-dependent." 

"Okay, I have to go now. I am almost there. You know, the security people know me so well by now that they do not even check my bag. They just let me in," she beams proudly.

"Great. What movie are you watching?"

"Saala Khadoos"

For a moment, I thought that she was talking about me.


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