Who We Are When We Love

Musings / Thursday, April 11th, 2024

Sometimes love is just this.

I have gone through about 2 years now of seeing the greatest love of my life, my mother, in pain. Relentless, unremitting pain. I have seen someone who makes me laugh with her curiosity, who taught me to see the world, to embrace the world with wide-eyed wonder, under house arrest with chronic pain and illness.

Nothing about these two years has been easy. Yet, on Ugadi (Kannada New Year), my mother wanted to step outside. To buy jackfruit. It has been years since she has expressed that wish. To just step outside. Not even to walk because she can’t. But to see the world outside. Do we know how lucky we are that we can do that?

I jumped at the chance, asked her caretaker to come along, and bundled her in my car to the closest vendors.

What followed astonished the deepest cynic in me.

All the vegetable vendors, with whom she used to bargain fiercely, came swarming to see her. They didn’t care about me—who always pays what they ask—but they came to see her. She who used to bargain for Rs 5.

“How are you, Amma?” one asks. “Why don’t you come these days?” asks the fruit seller. She asks after his kid. I didn’t even KNOW this guy had a kid. And I had been buying from him for years.

The jackfruit vendor gives extra slices because she asks. Across from the street, the flower seller at the temple comes rushing across—Gowramma used to work at our house.

And I sit in the driver’s seat, frozen, wanting to capture this moment as they hold hands. My ‘upper-caste’ mom, for whom I thought caste and class mattered – holding hands. This sun. This light. This dark and light. Skin and skin.

This moment.

This is why we exist. Why we live, don’t we? For these connections, this kindness, this warmth.

I ask nothing of you today but these:

When you step outside today, please express gratitude as much as possible for that. For that simple act, because you can.

Hold hands. With someone.

And maybe bargain with the vegetable vendors. They seem to like it. Sigh.

2 Replies to “Who We Are When We Love”

  1. Sometimes life is so sweet. What a beautiful experience. As an extra bonus, you now know that it is fun to bargain with the market vendors and they like it too.

    Happy hugs to you and your Mom,

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