Guest AuthorNathan S V

Slice of Life # Packing Mother’s suitcase

By | Nathan SV | Partner and Chief Talent Officer at Deloitte India

Mother wanted to go to Madras. Like most octogenarians she kept repeating that her suitcase needed to be packed. I pointed out that it was the fourth time she had told me. She chided me saying that I needed to be reminded as I had done nothing about it. It was clearly her excitement of travelling back to Madras. To her it was always Madras, not Chennai. I told her to keep all her things aside that she needed , only the essentials,  so that I could start packing when I was back from work. There was a twinkle in her eye.

In the evening, I came back to a double bed full of clothes, and a pile of whatnots that needed clearly needed to be discarded, not packed! Why would she want to take her old magazines in her suitcase? And the ‘Mira Sheekakai’ powder, of all things and she got this from ‘Madras’!! And six bars of washing soap, and five chunks of bathing soap. And endless sarees. This was going to be a long evening of negotiation. I needed to be patient with her and speak softly.

Reminded me of my school days. When packing my bags to school, I used to add a couple of story books and stealthily put in a couple of ‘tops’ a yoyo and a few marbles. My mother would then come in to inspect my bag before I charged off to school. And I would be caught. And the questions and protestations ensued and the deep sense of hurt surging in me if she put away the yoyo or the marbles and a tear shed for good measure. All this came rushing to mind. The day when she let me carry a story book to school, I hugged her. She said that I was to read it at the break. Fast forward, it was the same game all over, only that the roles were reversed.

I looked at my mother and tried to persuade her to lose the mags, and said that the soaps could be purchased in Madras. She protested, said the mags had her favorite stories. Was I going to give in to the ask of a lady bent with burden of raising three children? And of modest means of those times?

She looked longingly at me. I relented. What would I tell her? That I would have to pay for the excess baggage? She had carried the baggage of life without a murmur. And with a smile. I simply put all the stuff in the bag and gave her a big hug. I said that each one of those items were important. There were tears in her eyes.

 The bags were packed, the sentiments were not. I looked away and wiped away my tears as I left the room. Life is beautiful. 

Republished with permission and originally published at Nathan SV’s LinkedIn

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