DAY 2309

    Jalsa, Mumbai           Aug 11/12,  2014            Mon/Tue  1:26 am

The hour has passed .. the early rings of the 12th of August bear within .. they are precious and dear and all encompassing .. they are what we are .. they be what they be for us and me .. they were so, we were ..

12 th August .. the birth of her that gave birth to me !!

Each day I look at the face of the most beautiful, compassionate, effervescent lady in my life .. I seek her blessings as she looks down upon me from the side of her husband my Father .. I seek strength from her, and wisdom from my Father .. they stay together in the room I preserve, in the house that commands my first ever - and will, till the last of me - ‘Prateeksha’ … swagat sab ke liye yahan par, nahin kissi ke liye prateeksha .. welcome all to this abode, but not a wait for any .. words that ring true in one of my Father’s works, but he felt it right to name the house in its meaning ..

Just below her, another family togetherness in picture .. my GrandFather, Sardar Khazan Singh Suri and my GrandMother, a Sodhi, the family that has traditionally been the 'prabandhak’s’ of the Anandpur Sahib Gurudwara, one of the most revered in the Sikh divinity … my Mother’s Father and Mother.

My Mother Tej Kaur Suri, before marriage, was just 3 months old when her Mother passed away. She never did ever experience the joy and care and the most important company of a Mother. She never knew what a Mother was ! Is that in some way indicative of how dear a Mother she herself became, when we were born ? I often wonder, as does my Father in his autobiography !

I touch their faces through the enlarged miracles of photography, stand silently before the beginning of the day, and wish and pray that they extend their love and care to me and the family ..

The Ramayan sung in tune, the Hanuman Chalisa rendered by me, and at times the Gurubani plays constantly in that room where my Father breathed his last. And as I cross over the space in front of the pictures, I feel the presence of my Father’s bed as he lay just there in his last moments, his hand in mine, warm and soft, just like the times when he would extend it early mornings to me as a child, for the walks we went together on. The monitors on his being went erratic, and then with a gentle jerk of his body .. he … 

I went up to my Mother, asleep in her own realm of a dysfunctional mind due to her extreme condition, and spoke to her. I cannot remember or gather what I said. What and how does one tell a Mother that she has lost her husband and me my Father ?

I put her with great difficulty on her wheel chair and carried her down to where my Father lay, unable to answer her repeated questioning of where she was being taken and why. And as I wheeled her next to her husband, she became silent .. not a word was spoken, not a nerve in her otherwise active body moved .. and after a while I took her back silently to her room upstairs .. throughout the mourning and the prayers and the ’chautha’ she remained dark glassed and silent .. it was as though she herself had shaded herself from the reality .. true in many ways , for she never ever did speak or ask after him till she herself .. joined him … 

My Mother .. unknown to my Father till they accidentally met ..

My Mother … who had never heard of who my Father was ..

My Mother … who left her all - her luxuries of her opulent home in Lahore and Rawalpindi and Lyalpur and Karachi, her English Governesses and a fleet of my GrandFather’s Lancer’s and Rolls Royce’s, to marry my Father, an unknown of meagre means, in their very first meeting, within hours .. 

My Mother … who fought against caste and creed, tradition and old values, to come and live in an alien land in the heart of conservative Allahabad, with my Father ..

My Mother .. the lioness, that would take on an entire gang of thugs who had dared to threaten her children when they were small …

My Mother .. who sat by my side in those early disastrous years of my film profession, running her fingers through my hair and reassuring me that all would be well ..

My Mother that never showed or expressed any emotion that would trouble her, in front of us, so we would not be disturbed, despite some horrid and ugly circumstances .. and who after years and years of this bearing, could not consume anymore pain and hurt, found the absolute moment to express it to me … after the first trial she saw of 'Deewar’ ..

My Mother … who wept for hours like a child, for a child whom she felt had actually passed away in the film …

My Mother …  with the gentleness of her chiffon saris, and the perfumed walk down the corridors of her College, where young students would await her arrival wondering which clothing she would fashion on the day and what the essence of her perfume …

My Mother .. who gave cheer and reason to smile, to all that came in her proximity ..

My Mother .. born on the 12 th of August, in the year which even she did not quite remember, except that she was perhaps 10 - 11 years younger than her husband ..

My Mother .. like all Mother’s … the best in the entire universe … !!

Happy Birthday Ma .. 

Amitabh Bachchan