Evening Conversation Series; An Interview with my mother

Is she your favourite? Let’s get the most important question out of the way [laughs]
Oh Allah, help me. [laughs and sighs] Yes she is my favourite , she is my first after all.

What was your first thought when she was born?
Ofcourse that she was the most beautiful, really. But the first thought was Allah, give me the strength to raise her into a good woman. It’s surprising that even now, after years, I carry the same thought for her.

What was the most difficult time with her ?
Her teenage years [closes eyes and sighs deeply], my god. She was the most difficult than any of my other ones. Rebellious child and the thing was that, she was soft spoken and a sweet girl but she had this wall around her and she hated me or so I thought. She was the most mean to me, arrogant and angry but now I know it’s because she felt most close to me and felt that I didn’t understand her still. She was disappointed. But how do you understand a child that slammed doors on my face and wrote horrible things of me in her poetry? [long pause] She was so moody, and no one could calm her, nothing could calm her. It was a nightmare and only I knew the depth of it, not even her father.

What worried you the most then?
That she would stay that way, that she would be an angry human for the rest of her life, or that this period of life would affect her life in an adverse way because me or her father didn’t understand her or it.

What was one thing you wish you understood then, that you do now?
I wish I understood that she was strong, even though she was little and still a baby. I wouldn’t have worried so much or been tough on her if I knew she would grow out of it on her own.

What was your best memory of her during that period of time?
It’s so absurd, but when her girlfriends were over at our home, they would be in her room and I would hear her laugh her heart out from inside the room. And her father and I would be in the dining or kitchen and we would look at each other with relief and smile, that she was happy and laughing. You don’t understand , it meant alot to me to hear that. [ air tenses ]

What was the moment you realised she has grown from a girl to a woman?
[long pause] It’s a hard moment for mothers, especially when it’s a girl I think. Because you always want to protect her. But I am better than her father. [eyes look distant and thoughtful] I think when she left to Delhi, when she got her first job. She didn’t call me, she wasn’t communicating.. [Interviewer] And whose fault is that? Yes but I knew she was going to be alright, I just knew she was going to be okay on her own. There are many other moments though, when I hear her speak to her siblings, advice them or scold them. This is so silly [laughs] but some days when she dresses up, for a wedding or an event and she walks down the stairs I find her so womanly and beautiful, she moves and talks very gracefully, she has really beautiful hair. [looks at the Interviewer lovingly]

How has she surprised you?
In alot of ways. Her feminism, her views and how vocal she has become about them. Sometimes she says something so radical or repulsive , it used to surprise me but not anymore I think. Also her act of kindness, she can seem so cold and arrogant but late at night, she might come sleep next to me or kiss me on my cheeks and it surprises me.

What was the one advice she always took from you?

[shrugs] there is none I think, should ask her.

What was the one ( or more ) advice(es) she never took from you?
To dress modestly. I always tried to teach her that your clothes must express your values but over the years I have understood that her idea of modesty and mine are very different and ofcourse our values too and I think now, it’s a good change. I’m only learning from her. But I’m afraid that not everyone will understand that and will judge her.

How have your relationship changed with her over the years?
Oh so much ofcourse. I’m learning to accept her and her views so now she sees me more as a friend. She discusses things with me and is more open and truthful because she is not afraid. It’s scary but it’s better than being in the dark. And now even though she is away and I miss her constantly , I feel more close to her.

What is one of the qualities she inherited or learned from you?
She is very intense, in everything, she knows no moderation, in her emotions. She feels very largely. She got that from me. As you grow older , you learn to control. But because she is so young , she really knows no moderation.

What have you learned from her as a woman?
There is alot to learn. She talks alot about men, and how disappointing they are. I could never talk like that or understand it completely. She looks everything from many perspectives. Like for example, marriage, these girls really think it through. She studies the history, why people do the things they do , is it even right? I’m starting to learn from her to question everything we know as right. And I haven’t learned this but I admire her ability to put herself first before anything else. I’m really happy that she does but I’m worried when she needs to adjust , she would find it difficult.

What do you think are her virtues?
She is very understanding. Deeply mature for her age. She is forgiving.

What do you think are her vices?

Her anger and coldness, it’s hell for anyone who loves her. Rebellious. She acts on feelings or emotions and it will get her into trouble.

What do you think of her romances?
[laughs] I only know of one and she has been very closed off about it lately and tells me it didn’t work out. I don’t know. But I do think she is very thoughtful about who she includes in her life, so I am not worried about her romantic choices.

What is one thing you would change in her if you could?
Her relationship with her father . And her faith in God. These both relationships are very fragile in her life right now [ The interviewer reminds only one was asked]

Choose three things she would excel at in life?

Her career, she is very career driven. I think she envisions a good, sweet life for herself and she would get to that. She would be a good mother. [laughs] She is going to kill me but I hope she excels at finally finding a damn husband she can tolerate [whispers] or can tolerate her.  [both laughs] 

Evening Conversation Series; An Interview with My Mother.

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