Amma was sitting on my bed and doing the cross stitch. Her legs were in my way as I tried to sweep the living room
“Move your leg” I ordered.
I hated house work and if Anitha hadn’t decided to visit me, I could be reading something interesting instead of sweeping the floor.
Amma looked at me and then she called
“Lizaye, where are you?”
“In my room ma” She answered.
kunjey Can you look outside, you might find crows flying upside down”
Liza came out of the room quickly to see what is going on and she too noticed the broom in my hand.
“Do you need medicine Nina?” Liza asked
“For what?” I snapped
“Fever?” Liza started to laugh.
I got the drift. She was suggesting that I probably have high fever and in my delirious state started to sweep the floor.
“I don’t have fever. Anitha is coming for a visit”
“Who is Anitha?” Liza asked
nintey ammayiappantey marumolu” I snapped. Idiot had stayed in my hostel and doesn’t know who Anitha is.
“Oh that Anitha. Good luck with your cleaning” My sister went back to her room.
Amma lifted her leg, so I could sweep.
“You didn’t sweep under the mattress” Amma spoke.
“She won’t look under the mattress”
Aiyyedi, When do a job, do it properly. I will lift the mattress, you sweep.”
Amma got up and pushed the mattress and held it against the wall and I did a quick sweep.
“You didn’t sweep there” Amma pointed to the corner
“I did”
“No you didn’t”
“This is child labour Amma, you can get arrested!” I mumbled
“Child labour oh! When did you become a child? I thought you told me were old enough make your own decisions few years ago. even Rajiv Gandhi thought so Right? Isn’t that why he lowered the age to vote?”
I should have learned long ago that my mother has a memory of an elephant. Since I was the dumb nut who told her that I was old enough to vote few years ago, there was no point trying to corner my mother with the child labour act.
entha inakku vizhingiyo? (swallowed your tongue?)”
I didn’t reply. I continued with the sweeping and was glad when it was over. I took the book out of my bag and was about to ask Amma to get up from my bed, so I can lie down and read.
“Not mopping the floor?” Amma asked
“Mop?” I stared at her
“Ha, mop! you know the mop we use to clean the floor. ninakku athum arinjoodey( you don’t even know that)”
“I am not mopping the floor. I have better things to do in my life”
“True, go on, read your book.” Amma spoke nonchalantly and continued to stitch. I looked at the floor. The mosaic looked so dull, unlike Arjun’s house where the floor always sparkled.
I put the book back in my bag and went to the toilet to get the bucket and mop. When I came out Amma was looking at me.
I knew she manipulated me yet again.
I kicked the bucket every time I needed to move it instead of gently lifting it.
“Just like your father. oodicha lekkillenkil moothamma kkirunnottey”
I knew what Amma was saying. My father always took his frustrations out on others. Was I really like Appa? Am I going to turn out like him? That was a scary thought.
I stopped kicking the bucket around.
From the way Amma looked at me, I knew she won yet again.
I won’t do anything more. I promised myself. I won’t let Amma manipulate me any more.
I kept the bucket back in the toilet. I didn’t throw the dirty water out, or rinse the mop. Amma can do that herself. I thought.
I took the book out of my bag, adjusted the pillow and lay down on my bed.
Amma continued to stitch.
After a while Amma shook my leg and asked
athey, Orthodox Christians don’t cremate the dead, do they?”
I remembered what Liza told me earlier and I knew very well where this conversation was heading.
“Which Orthodox Christian are you talking about?”
oh pinney, As though you don’t know. I was thinking about me”
“Oh! But you are not Orthodox Christian Amma. You are Anglican”
“Who said. My husband is an Orthodox Christian and I got married in a Jacobite church, So I am an orthodox Christian”
Aiyyeda I thought
“Amma, if you tie a donkey in a stable. would the donkey become a horse?”
I am sure Amma understood what I was saying. But losing an argument wasn’t one of her forte. So she rattled
nee enney kazhutha akki alley! You think I am a donkey?”
I didn’t technically mind her thinking that I think she is an ignoramus. She was. She had to know it and stop manipulating me.

One thought on “

  1. Its really interesting to see how your mother manipulate you to do things on the way she wants… May be others always want us to be exactly the way they want… and we do wish the same about others 🙂 May be thats why I never feel anyone other know how to live properly 🙂 and used to think others are bit ignorant and feel to advice them sometimes…
    may be i feel your mother was having real worry that you won’t ever come to her side…so she play really cautious so that you wont feel she is trying to manipulate on her 🙂

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