FROM ONE SINGLE MOTHER TO ANOTHER
To be a good mother when my heart was breaking is one of the hardest roles I have ever played. When the father of my child skipped out, I began to play both roles. Not because I was not enjoying being a Mom anymore, but because I had to spend every waking hour earning enough money to pay for the mortgage, the school fees, the home maintenance, the groceries and so on. Sometimes I think, how I used to whine for the stuff other women had — security, love, family, social acceptance and more. Then, I decided it was best to wipe out the painful memories and park them in one corner of my mind for some later day. I took a look at my son to reinvent myself for him every day. I was 19, in the second year of college, when I decided to run away and break off all ties with my parents to succumb to the so-called ‘love and courtship’ of a mere 6 months. The person I had married was already divorced and was 15 years older than me. Soon enough, I realized that this wasn’t the right thing to have done. Since I had run away from my family, and they were upset with me, I couldn’t muster the courage to tell them that I wanted to come back. So I played along. I also believe that marriage is a two-person game – if one gives up, then both lose. In my case, we both made our share of mistakes. However, I didn’t want to demean anyone, since everyone has their own reasons. But, those reasons cost a lot to me. It made Kabir (my son) and I suffer hell and if asked today, I am sure, my husband would conveniently put the blame on me as that is the rule of the universe. But I don’t blame him. These adversities made me who I am. Besides, I didn’t want Kabir to grow up and read how I had spoken about my divorce. There are enough nasty stories around it. I wanted to be poised and talk about my road from there. Thus, retaining my sense of dignity, I decided to move out. I wanted my son to look at me as though I were a bag full of surprises. Is that not what a 5-year-old kid wants? I wanted to erase all the bad memories from his mind. So, I decided that, each day, I would do a multitude of things that would make him smile from ear to ear. I talked to him about, - Which hand was his cookie in? Which way would we walk to the bus stop? Would we be splashing in puddles or leaping over them? Would we walk in the rain or enjoy it from the balcony? Would we dance to our special song if it accidentally played on the radio? And so much more…. Our life was quite ordinary, but this was how I tried to make it extraordinary. Not because I had everything, but because I made it that way. We were like heaven for each other; and also each other’s superhero. I had read somewhere that, “It’s hard living without a father, but it’s easy when you have a wonderful mother playing both roles,” and I set out to be just that. I found courage hidden inside me. Of all the tough times I had to deal with, the emotionally challenging ones were the toughest. I had to fight a thousand battles but I am still standing tall. I have cried on millions of nights, but I am still smiling. I have been demeaned by people, but have still earned respect. I have been abandoned, betrayed and used in relationships, but I still walk with my head held high. I have cultivated this new ‘me’ and grown an inch taller every day since then. While some people decided to bury me, I have risen from the ground. I decided to change, to rise, and to soar. I decided to go for everything they said I could never have done. I stopped waiting for love around the corner and started planting seeds of words in other people’s hearts.. I write every day to give myself strength. Honestly, I don’t write for anyone but myself, and I put it out- in case it makes sense to someone else, and makes them feel understood, then that’s a bonus. From being jobless I rose to be the Senior Creative Director, from a nobody to the Modern Sufi on social media. I decided to take up writing as a weapon of choice. I wrote about my fears, my insecurities, my heartbreaks and everything that made me feel uncomfortable. The newspapers have been my greatest and most loyal friends. Thus, in no time, my articles began to make a noise. With almost 200,000 people following me on social media, delivering global Ted X talks, being ranked as one of the top 10 motivational speakers in India, to be fondly and lovingly anointed as a ‘The Modern Sufi’, my ride has been quite an eventful one. To all mothers reading this piece, I have this to say, ‘You alone are enough’. Whether you are married, in a relationship, or divorced with kids, you are more than what you need. Dive inside and dig out that courage, that lies beneath the dust of people’s opinions about you. Shake off this dust and wear this courage proudly. Your children look up to you, so make sure they have a good reason to. Have no guilt of the past, no regrets of the broken and give no heed to mouths that talk against you, because, honestly, they do not matter. What matters is, you and your little world around. Choose your own ammunition and embrace the massacre that lies ahead.