Tuesday, 13 August 2013

My Mother : Teji Bachchan

My Mother’s birthday yesterday (12 Aug 2013) .. greetings from all in varied form .. some near and dear, those that spent much time with her, knew her well, her habits her nature. Feels good to know of them and their feelings ! My Mother if alive would have heard them out, invited them over for a chat, fed them, taken them out for a drive, to a coffee shop … any where, and remained a close friend ever .. I have not imbed that spirit … I wish I could … this platform is the closest that I have gotten to it .. its lovely, endearing … but with her around I know it would have been better … she knew the knack of .. perhaps knack is a wrong word , it is too harsh .. she knew the value of a friend and the extension of a hand towards it ..

Amitabh Bachchan with father Harivansah Rai and Mother Teji Bachchan
Amitabh Bachchan with his Mother and Father

An entire group of labor worked in the most oppressive heat of Allahabad, carrying our belongings to another house when we changed residence, by those hand carts, which is all we could afford at the time, sweat and the heat taxing them and their work load … but when they did reach their destination, she didn’t get down to unpacking and placing the stuff in the home - a natural for any house wife - instead, the first thing she did was to get some of the home staff to go and buy dozens of lime, blocks of ice, buckets of water and personally made lime juice for those that had worked so hard, the entire day, spending individual time with them to see that they had rested and been fed well .. it was her way of saying thank you to the most oppressive work they had done …

The servants in the house became her friends, never the lesser work force that helped in the home ..

If there was music heard in any corner of the home, she was the first to start up an impromptu dance, in which ever room she was … her spirit was impossible to defeat or fathom. Out of School, she would insist on taking me to a coffee restaurant which played music and get up and ask me to dance with her, ballroom fashion, on the dance floor … much to my embarrassment !

The chat and sweet meat shops in and around where she moved, in Allahabad, in Delhi, in Mumbai were her buddies .. all of those old timers still remember her and when I meet some of them once in a year or something, they talk with such candor and love for her and her spirit, they miss her presence … this is not normal. They still send the latest sweets or packets of their products to the house in her remembrance. Such was her association.

A dear and close friend of the family that remembered her wrote to me and descrbed in the most apt words .. ‘she was such a star’ she said ..

Yes … she was such a star. She would walk into a public place and own it in one glance. She exuded energy of a different kind. We are still to learn from it. Her fight for all things that came with difficulty were a lesson in life .. she was tigress protecting her cubs when it came to her children and family. No one could get passed her in such condition. She was capable of changing faith if it was desired for her children.

I had often wondered where all this came from, until I read a close explanation of it in my Father’s biography. She had lost her Mother at birth. She never knew or experienced what a Mother’s love was and meant. Her interpretation of life then, was what she believed, all Mother’s to be.

And what Mother she became … and what she interpreted all Mother’s to be !

~ Amitabh Bachchan

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