Thursday, January 17, 2008

Independence Day

Those of you who're already shaking their heads thinking that I'm one of those NRIs who can't keep their Independence Day and Republic Day straight, and is hence blogging about Independence Day about a week before Republic Day, here's a *thwack* off my hypothetical rolled-up newspaper. This post is not about India's independence, but mother India's independence. I mean my mother's independence.

So I took Mom for a walk to the beach today. What Viv and I brag to everyone as 'just a short walk' turned out to be not so short when Mom was concerned. And for the first time, I understood what Viv feels like when he walks with me, what with me furiously trying to keep up with his giant strides. So on the way back, Mom was really really tired from the walk and I smartly decided this was the best opportunity to get her to become independent.

Mom is terrified of taking the bus by herself. So I suggested that she take the bus back while I walk it as I did not have any value in my bus card. Of course there were a thousand ways to get home, such as taking a cab, or me taking the bus with her and paying by coins instead of the bus card. But the point was to get her to take the bus by herself, and since it was a very short ride, I figured it was the best time to let her try travelling by herself. Just this morning, my chhoti mausi had suggested the same thing - that I let her take a short bus ride by herself and see how she does. She even delivered a mini-scolding to Mom about her lack of independence. "You should be able to get around by yourself by now! This is what, your third visit to Singapore?" Mausi had said to her. She had a point. Besides, Mom was also inspired by my mom-in-law who's very savvy when it comes to travelling by herself.

So she agreed to do it.

I showed Mom to the bus stop. There was only one other guy sitting there. I asked her if she knew which buses she could take.

"10, 12 or 14." She said confidently.

"Great! Okay, I'm going to start walking now. You know how to flag the bus?"


"Okay, and remember to tap your bus card at entry and exit."


"Do you know which stop to get off at?"

She looked a bit uncertain.

"It's two stops from here. Press the bell after the next stop, and get off at the one after that. Okay?"

"Okay. I'm just worried whether I can unlock the main door."

"Of course you can. You have done it so many times."

But I knew what she was talking about. Though she had unlocked the door several times, it was always 'in my supervision'. She has taken the bus several times as well, but again 'in my supervision.' And that was exactly what I wanted to avoid. I wanted her to be able to do these things by herself.

So I started walking, and walked rather fast so I wouldn't take too long to reach after she did.

I'd been walking for almost 10 minutes, and there was no sign of any bus overtaking me. There were 3 buses she could take. A little fear crept inside me. Would she panic because no bus was coming by? Had I been too demanding? Maybe I shouldn't have left her by herself? But there was another guy at the bus stop. But then what if the guy at the bus stop was a crook? What if he robbed her of her purse? Singapore is safe and all that, but you never know. What if when the bus came by, she fell asleep because she was so tired and woke up only at the last stop near Changi airport or something? What if she couldn't spot the bus stop she had to get off at because it was too dark?

On the way, I decided to pop by the ATM near our house. Since there was no sign of any bus behind me, I knew she wouldn't reach before I did. Besides, she had the keys. And that's when it struck me - she didn't have the keys, I did! Holy cow! But there was still no sign of the bus. Had it passed by without my knowledge? Was she home and wondering where I was? To add to my annoyance, there was this idiot in the queue before me who, instead of depositing all the cash he had at one go, made three thin stacks of notes first and manually counted them. Then he placed them in the cash deposit machine, one stack at a time. He even paused midway to answer his phone. Sheesh! I wanted to kick his ass and say, "Dude! If you can trust a machine to count three thin stacks of your money, surely you can trust it to count just one??"

All this while, I was panicking more. What if she thought she had the keys and that she had lost them? Would she walk back to the bus stop to see if she had dropped them? What if she went home and rang the bell thinking I'd be there, and I wasn't? Would she wait outside the house? What if I went back and did not find her outside the house? Where would I look? I cursed myself for my so-called smart act. What was the urgent need for her to be so independent anyway? Maybe she wasn't ready for it yet.

Gosh, had I just abandoned my mother at a deserted bus stop at night in a country foreign to her? What the heck was wrong with me??

But then maybe I was just being silly. Paranoid. But what if I wasn't?

After I was done at the ATM, I ran home like mad.

There she was, sitting besides the swimming pool, waiting for me.

Smiling, no less.


*breathe, Sayesha, breathe*

*breathe in*

*breathe out*

*breathe in*

*breathe out*

How the heck my parents brought my sis and me up without going mad with worry is seriously beyond me.



shub said...

heh! :)
*hi-five to aunty*

Tejal said...

auntie shud hav maroed the dialog- Rishte mein toh hum tumhari maa lagte hain!! :D

Shanks_P said...

'What if situations' always gives us a tough time .....

So did you wish her ? 'Happy Independent mother ?' :)

Crime Master said...

Reminds me on how I taught my Mom to find numbers in the phonebook of her mobile phone! Of course, she has forgotten it! Speed dials!

Maybe I should remove the speed dials and give her her independence too! :-)

Cinderella said...

may be even they were equally worried.. but they never showed up :)

a warm post

Clueless said...

Aww. Way to go, aunty! :D

And I totally know what you mean. I keep getting annoyed whenever Mom wants me to keep her informed of where I am every hour or so when I'm out (she thinks staying in Singapore for 2 years might've made me too carefree for my own good), but whenever she doesn't pick up her phone when she's out or if she doesn't open the door immediately 'cuz she's in the bathroom or something, I immediately get paranoid and worried. I already pity my kids for the torture they're going to be put through ;)

Deepali said...

Hats off to Aunty :)
Sash bhai, tussi kamaal karte ho. Apna cell phone Aunty ko de dena tha na.

manju said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
manju said...

This was like reading a suspense thriller ! Too much of excitement in between !

Just remembered the famous dialogue of OSO, after reading the ending of your post :)

Aaj mujhe yakin hogaya dosto, ki hamari zindagi bhi hamare hindi filmon ke jaisa hi hai.. jaha pe end mein sab kuch theek ho jaata hai.. "Happies Endings".. Lekin agar End mein sab kuch theek na ho to woh the end nahi hain dosto.. Picture abhi baaki hai.. Applause.. I luv u, i luv u all.. i luv u Rajesh Kapoor .."Kya sadala speech mare le??!!" :)

The_Girl_From_Ipanema said...


btw who the heck can't keep republic day and independence day straight?

Sayesha said...

Hehehe! I just told Mom that Shub hi-5ed you! She asked me why and I said "For taking the bus by yourself!" She was like "Shub ko bata diya??" Hehe! :P

Muahahaha! Knowing her, I wouldn't have been surprised if she'd maaro'ed it! Aakhir Bollywood queen ki mummy hai! :P

Hahaha! I just told her I was very proud of her. :D

#Crime Master,

Difficult not to show it for 18 years eh? :)

Hehehehe! :P

Hehehe... but if she reached before I did, what number would she call? Plus, she doesn't know how to use my cellphone. I got her a cellphone last year and it's rotting at home in India. :/

Hehehehe! True true! :D

#Ipanema Gal,
You'd be surprised! ;)

Bivas said...

hehe...dat was fun...i mean u panicking part...seriously, ur kids gonna hv a jolly gud time tang karofying u ;-)
Wonder what Tiny Tapori wud hv said regarding this new stunt of urs!!! :P

Anonymous said...

Totally beats me too... We get sooo freaked out if we dont see them at our doorsteps at the right time, I just cant understand how they lived with our weird timings for soo long!!! :)

How do we know said...

they did go mad with worry, only, they never told u.

Harshi said...

Wow i got really anxious for Aunty. Thank God she was fine. U scared me Sash! :-)

Janefield said...

i can totally relate to this post :) been there, done that! the worry is seriously BP inducing!! parents, i tell you!

/shakes head


Padma said...

This reminds of the incident when I went to NUS for the first time to meet Clueless and I forgot to take the cell phone! I realized only after getting into the bus and all through the journey I was worrying about how you all would be worrying about me!!!Now that your mom has taken off going out alone, she is going to tell you where she went each day!

Tejal said...

heyy Bhai.. acc to my calculations :P, ur anniversary must b sometime this week.. so here's Wishin You n Viv a veryyy Happy First Anniversary!! (weneva it is) :D
You two rock!

Sanchit said...

am glad i'm posting after tejal (thanks \m/) happy anniversary,, :)

The Soul of Alec Smart said...

Hehehe.. Awesome post. Reminds me of a similar situation when my masi (who was new to our city) was found eating gol-gappas at a roadside stall, while we were frantically looking for her thinking she would be panicking. :)

Sayesha said...

Hehehe! :P

Yeah man! How?? :/

#How do we know,
Really? Hmmm... then why do we tell them? :?

Haha! Ant bhala toh sab bhala. Ant as in ending, not the insect! :P

Heheheh! :P

Hiiiiiiii! Welcome to my blog! :D I still remember the cellphone incident! Hehe! :P

WHOA! I am so impressed! No wonder you're Viv's laadli! Kya memory hai, kya calculation hai! SABAS and thanks!! :D

Thanks! :D

#The Soul of Alec Smart,
LOL!!! :D :D :D

Anonymous said...

Yay! aunty learnt to successfully travel by herself, even if it is for short distance. Cheers to her. Won't any party happen here to celebrate this?

LOL, i still am not able to teach my mom to double click on the computer screen and she simply forgets how to use the media players to play songs or videos. Phew! It's a tough job I say. But until now I've not worried myself with more responsibility. :P

Hershey Desai said...

aha. Role reversal. The child became the parent and the parent became the child.

Classic case.
But you know, gotta remember one thing..they raised you right.. so they can surely find their way back home, even if they have to do it independently.

I remember giving dad detailed instructions to reach my college one time... bit afraid if he gets lost... shouldn't have worried, dad just asked some people around him and reached the campus with ease..

what a life.