aratikumarrao writes about a lady she met in Rajasthan:
I met a lady that day.
She seemed glad to see me. We got chatting. I asked her what she liked most to cook. She couldn’t understand the question. I asked again, of all the things she knows to make, what does she enjoy most. What would she make for herself? She fell silent and smiled. Clearly unsure.
A Brahmin standing nearby translated my question into marwari, and repeated in hindi. Then she said, “i dont know. Anything you ask me to make.”
That day they asked her to make a over a hundred rotis for a puja.
With that one nugget, Arati explained my mother to me.
If I ask my mother what is the one thing she’d want, she’s sure to say “I want my daughter to get married” or “My daughter should settle down” or something along those lines. Her happiness, her wants are not her own.
Where there was a deep dislike for this pathological habit of appropriation, now there’s only understanding. Her dreams were not hers - they’re my father’s, her mother’s, mine. I see her now as a woman whose ambitions and hobbies all rolled into one and she couldn’t tell one from the other.
I don’t know the woman who’s also my mother. I only know Mom, the “brown/yellow woman, fingers smelling always of onions.”