I have recently watched the movie, Shakuntala Devi. No, I am not going to write a review, rather I am going to talk about a point that struck me the most.
Motherhood! Yes, a phase in which it is believed that a woman is reborn in another form with some superhuman powers. Since childhood, she is taught that no matter how far she goes, whatever she achieves, how successful she becomes, if she cannot be a ‘perfect mother’, everything she has achieved so far will be in vain. She will be considered not only unsuccessful but a selfish witch, because women are believed to be the goodwill ambassadors of a society.
I sometimes wonder who raises us, is it our mother or society? But one thing I am sure of that society certainly has a pivotal role to play in this. Indian parenting is infamous that we all know. The school bags of Indian children are not as heavy as their parent’s dreams for them. Some succeed in fulfilling those, while some quit. Even those who fulfill their parent’s dreams, not all of them perform this duty happily. They often go through an existential crisis because of ideological and aspirational conflicts with their parents. Some survive and some give up in the process. In both cases a mother is blamed first by society, for not taking care of her children properly, not understanding them and not showing any empathy.
In the process, we fail to understand the woman behind the mother. The moment they become a mother they have to forget themselves, their aspirations, their ideology, in short, they have to give up everything they might have fought for in life. Above all, they forget to be a human anymore because they have to become someone of whom even Gods are afraid of, ‘A Mother.’ But is this the supremacy a woman wishes for? Have you ever asked them, your mother, what she wishes for? If her answer is motherhood, then ask her where did she fall short? I am sure her answer to this question will make you see the dark side of society. This society gives her education, degree but never the confidence to believe in herself. If a woman starts believing in herself, she will be anything but a Goddess.
Just think, why do most of the women feel hesitant to become a mother? Why do they consider motherhood as the ‘full stop’ of their career? But they still become one, because ‘without a child a woman is incomplete.’ This is how they feel trapped and then repent secretly, and the child who is born knowing nothing of this, feels choked eventually by her mother’s great but unfulfilled ambitions.
If you have not watched the movie ‘Shakuntala Devi’, just watch it to understand the concept of motherhood. The mother-daughter duo, after all the misunderstandings that led to their separation, realised that they forgot to accept each other as a human first. In the film, Shakuntala Devi, a would-be mother, swore to be a different one. She certainly became a different mother but not an exceptional one, out of the box.
If you look around and particularly notice the ‘imperfect mothers’ whose children are as successful as she is, you will understand the differences. They do not believe in giving up or sacrifice. They take a pause but return to the same track after that. For them, their child is the product of affection, not the cause of her doom nor someone who is born to please the societal conscience. They adjust themselves but do not compromise. They treat each other as humans with individual aspirations. The ‘imperfect’ mothers do not take unnecessary pressure on them to become a superwoman next to God neither do they suffer from the ‘mom guilt.’ They treat themselves as humans and teach their children to not expect anything from them which is out of human capacity.
So, is it okay to express your desire to watch movies while your child is watching cartoons? Is it okay to say sorry to your child for your wrong prediction about your child’s decision by keeping aside your motherly ego?
Yes, these all are okay. It is okay to behave like humans with each other because God and a human cannot live together!
The views and opinions expressed by the writer are personal and do not necessarily reflect the official position of VOM.
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