To an Ordinary Mother

(Winner of the BlogAdda Mother’s Day contest-

As I put eager pen to paper, I realize this is is going to be the most candid and therefore the most difficult post of my life. Fiction comes easily to me – who doesn’t love to spin stories? – but reality demands a certain degree of brutal honesty that unnerves and unsettles me. But then I’m doing this for someone who made me, in every sense of the word. And so I take a deep breath and for once, my mind closes down and my heart does the talking.

My mother would never have made it as a politician. She cannot flatter. She says the most politically incorrect things at the most inappropriate times. She displays few emotions and has never in her life told me that she loves me. Β All my teenage years, I resented the fact that she looked so ordinary, that she did not dress up like so many other moms, that she did not socialize. I wanted a model mother – the sitcom variety – perfume, chic clothes, glossy hair and laughter, hugs every hour or so, parties and a large allowance when I asked for it. The mother who seems to dominate every movie screen. I cried and ranted, and when I managed to get through to XLRI two years back, I was almost glad! No more rules. No more ‘sensibility’ over ‘sophistication’. No more boring old mother.

And life, dear reader, turned 180 degrees.

Sitting 1000 kilometres away from home, two years brought home some sharp lessons. As I struggled with the mess food, my thoughts raced back to the sambar that my mother used to get up at 5-30 in the morning to make, before she sat down in front of the computer to start working – medical editing – for 9 hours each day. For the first time, as dal turned to dust in my mouth, I slowly wondered where she got the strength from to wake up every morning, every single morning, weekday or Sunday, to cook food for a daughter who was ungrateful at best. I thought guiltily of the hundreds of yellowed recipes that she had cut out from magazines and newspapers and tucked away inside an old diary, to try and make whatever she could for me. I blinked back tears and longed for her.

As I began losing hair to shampoos and conditioners, I remembered how she used to sit down each evening and oil my hair, relentlessly taking out tangles and plaiting my hair until one fine day, I decided I knew more about hair styles that she did and yanked the comb out of her hands. Sitting in front of the mirror at 1 in the night and running my hands through the thinning strands, I remembered the look on her face.

As I struggled, alone for the first time in my life, to manage money on a tight budget as a grad student, I recollected every single instance when she combed her wardrobe and took out one of the same 4 salwars she had and put it on – unbecoming, unfashionable and how I scowled and demanded why she could not buy something better. Never once had I realized that I was the reason – that to buy me everything I wanted, someone in a middle class family has to sacrifice – and years ago my mother had calmly decided that she would be the one.

Six years back, my parents realized that one working parent could no longer support an expensive schooling for two children. My mother, who’d stopped working when my grandma was diagnosed with cancer,Β quietly walked to the computer, Googled up work opportunities, and the next Monday, began working once again as a medical transcriptionist. As simple as that – no fuss, no frills.

Two years have flown by and today my mother looks the same, except for hair that is slightly grayer, a few more fine lines around her eyes, a pair of spectacles that weren’t there earlier. But today, I know- that behind every gray strand, behind every fine line, behind every box of lunch uncomplainingly cooked and packed for twenty two years, there is a mother’s strong, silent love. And for that love, I am grateful beyond measure.

Today, on the occasion of Mother’s Day, I’d like to gift her this small token of my love, a mousepad thoughtfully designed by Pringoo, so that each morning as she sits to work, she can smile a little and know that her daughter understands why she is how she is, and loves her – for being ordinary. For her ordinariness is beauty to me.

Thanks, amma.



52 thoughts on “To an Ordinary Mother

    • awesome ramaa….most mothers sacrifice everything for their daughters…I understood this when i became a mother of a cute little princess….

  1. lovely post, Ramaa!
    just give your mom one more huge hug for what/who she is – and made you become

    Thank you so much.. and while we’re there, a hug to you too, sir! Teachers are pretty much second mothers. πŸ™‚

  2. πŸ™‚ made my mother read this….took the easier way out many might say. And I would agree. Every word as if from my life and many others I know. Thanks. Happy Daughter’s / Son’s day everyday!


    Shridhar, Honoured! πŸ™‚ I hope she could relate to it and enjoyed it. Thanks for your comment!

  3. What if you would have got good food in XLRI. Wouldn’t you not realized the sarifices of your mother? What if she made a little more so that she has additional set of clothes you wouldn’t have felt the live you r feeling now for her. So there is cause and cost for your love towards your
    mother. Had this been a fictional post I would have passed it off as yet another mother sentiment stories churned out for decades in Indian cinema. But you used candid truth and words like that. Nso felt like posting it.


    Raja Rajan

    Sometimes, you need your eyes opened, no? These things opened my eyes. I don’t love my mother because she has fewer clothes, I love her because I now understand why she does. That’s the whole point of this post. πŸ™‚ And yes – most kinds of love have some payoff subconsciously in mind, I guess. Thanks for commenting!

  4. As in the previous comments, most readers would be able to relate to this post. As usual, neatly and honestly written.

    Thanks a ton πŸ™‚

  5. Pingback: Tweets that mention My newest blog post: To an Ordinary Mother: -for the Blogadda Mother's Day contest. Do read and RT if you like. --

  6. Nice. I started appreciating Mom’s cooking only after I went to hostel too! πŸ˜€

    A story common to all hostelites πŸ™‚

  7. I quite understand why you wrote this. Kahlil Gibran said, in his story, The Prophet: “You give only when you give of yourself.” In that sense, it’s mothers who truly give.

    Agreed πŸ™‚

  8. i dont think i’ll ever be able go 1000km from home (not more than a month max if forced to). i have always been at a distance to go home every weekend just to enjoy mom’s cooking.

    I bet you are envious πŸ˜›

    Haha, not really, at least at the moment I’m sitting at home eating mom’s food thrice a day! πŸ™‚

  9. A very personal and moving account, no doubt, of your mother. Very few people and relationships are more special. Thanks for sharing this frankly and beautifully.

    Thank you! Fully agreed! Moms are super special. πŸ™‚

  10. I have never ever stayed away from my mother, so I still can’t value the innumerable sacrifices she has made for me…… Whenever , i am unwell, it’s my mom’s tender care that i yearn for the most & at the same time i never fail to shout at her for some petty things….

    Ramaa, you are just awesome …..God bless!:)

    Thanks, Prerna! A happy mother’s day to your mom πŸ™‚

  11. Ramaa, as i said earlier it is very very pleasing to read a good article. Excellent as always. I truly Enjoy reading your posts.

    Thank you, Dinesh!

  12. Hi there!

    A nice, touching post there…You described it with simplicity n grace…

    I’m sure a mother’s love is a priceless thing to have since it is the only love that, in my opinion, is unconditional…

    Nice writing!Keep it up!

    You may want to visit my dedication at the following link:

    Thanks, Pravin. Will check out your blog πŸ™‚

  13. If I could select a post for winning this contest – THIS would be the post! Plain. Brilliant! Damn, I could so easily connect to this post! LOVED IT!

    PS: – 10 ways to live life!

    Thanks, Arjit! Nice prediction about the contest: It did win! πŸ˜‰
    Shall check out your site πŸ™‚

  14. Pingback: Winners Announced for 'Tribute to Mom' Mother's Day Contest

  15. Congratulations on ur win Ramaa .. beautiful post πŸ™‚

    Thank you, Swaram and your post was enchanting, like listening in on someone’s most secret, loving thoughts πŸ™‚
    Congratulations to you too!

  16. Ramaa,

    Simply outstanding. Loved the post. And many congratulations for being selected at Blogadda.

    One day I would love to meet your Mom. In the meanwhile, please convey my namaskars to her …

    Thanks, Suranga. πŸ™‚ Told amma, she was happy! And congratulations, your poem was beautiful. I love reading poetry and would enjoy checking out your other work.
    Congratulations to you too! πŸ™‚


  17. very touching … truly deserved this victory….i am also a student staying away from home and always miss my mother ……and as you mentioned the sambhar…i recalled how much i miss simple dal made by my mom……keep rocking

    Thank you, Mukul. Keep reading!

  18. I’m proud of you, Ramaa πŸ™‚

    Oh, honey, thank you so much! Your encouragement has played a big part in keeping me writing on! πŸ™‚
    Much love,

  19. Ramaa,

    Congratulations on winning the Blogadda contest πŸ™‚

    I loved your post and my thoughts echo in your post a 100%

    Only time and experience teaches us the hardships our mothers face to bring us up.

    Hey, thank you! Congrats to you too πŸ™‚ Lovely post, funny and unique.

  20. A poignantly written post that speaks of an ordinary yet extraordinary mother.
    Aren’t all our moms that way? πŸ™‚
    Congratulations on the win.Well-deserved!

    Thanks, Samadrita! Congratulations to you too on winning! Enjoyed the honesty in your post. πŸ™‚

  21. The writing seems so simple but it brings out such a touching picture.. brilliant!!!….

    you are a master Rama to bring out such an awesome work in such simple words…

    Thank you for reading and for the compliment, Nitesh! πŸ™‚

  22. A really heartfelt and touching tribute.

    Each mother is a unique divine entity and no words can do justice to their sacrifice, dedication and sincerity.

    And I must confess, your tribute inspired me to write mine too πŸ™‚

    Thanks, Viju. πŸ™‚ Would love to read your entry as well.

  23. Thank you for sharing your candid memories and heartwarming emotions through this wonderful post πŸ™‚

    Congratulations Ramaa for winning the contest πŸ™‚

    It’s my first time to your wonderful blog and I’d love to drop by more often πŸ™‚


    Many thanks for stopping by and for your wishes. Do visit often! πŸ™‚

  24. Shit. This blog has gone places since the last time I visited. Will read everything sometime for sure!

    And about the post, all I can say is that you so captured the relationship of my parents and me. I’m gonna call them up right away. Very touching. Damn, you know that already!

    Thanks Varun πŸ™‚ High praise, coming from you πŸ™‚

  25. beautiful….to say the least….!
    forced me to subscribe to this blog… πŸ™‚

    plz make it flawless…sry for pointing though..2 typos..’computed’ instead of ‘computer’, ‘toke’ instead of ‘token’… just tat such beautiful read deserved to be perfect!
    …way to go..

    Ah, thank you. πŸ™‚ Shall correct the typos, thanks πŸ™‚

  26. Well written, Ramaa. The simplicity and honesty of the post touched me. Congrats on winning the contest !

    Thank you so much!

  27. Hello there,

    Thanks for sharing this link – but unfortunately it seems to be not working? Does anybody here at have a mirror or another source?


    Hi William,
    No, I don’t have a mirror or any other source.
    Let me know what you’re having dificulty viewing, and I’ll try and see what I can do.
    – Ramaa

  28. Very touching post ,Ramaa..This post would make many of us “nod” our heads to all that you’ve written..I’ve always wondered how can Amma is able to be selfless,and always giving, be it the unconditional love or anything materialistic..Hats off to all such Amma’s.

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