Mom swivels cotton strands,

Into plaits of wicks

And lights them in the evening

In little diyas of clay

And prays.


‘Shree Krishna, Govinda, haarey Muraare

Hai naath Naara-yana baasudeva’


Mom smells of camphor, sweat, and turmeric,

And sometimes coriander

When she enters my room,

to tell me that dinner is ready.


‘I will do the dishes’, I say.

‘It’s already done’, she says.

Bijay Upadhyaya

Mom never says,

‘I have done the dishes’

She always says,

‘It’s already done’

I don’t know why.


Mom goes to school

And teaches kids about crocodiles and photosynthesis,

She says, almost exclaims in excitement,

‘Unlike us, plants take in carbon dioxide and give out oxygen’

The kids remain unaffected though,

One yawns,

Others follow suit,

Soon there is a riot of laughter,

Mom bangs the duster on the table,

“Enough,” she says.

The kids fall silent

And wait for the bell to ring.

She waits too.


Mom comes home

Tired, and drained of all energy,

It’s been a long day.


Sometimes, mom goes to training workshops,

Or a conference,

Or a meeting of the local bank.

They give her a box for lunch,

Mom eats some and sneaks the leftover inside her purse,

And brings it home.

She asks us if we’d like to have some,

“The samosa is very tasty.” She adds.


We make faces,

Irritated faces,

Embarrassed faces.

But eat the samosas all the same,

They are indeed very tasty.


Mom has just opened an account on TikTok,

She browses the videos,

And sometimes laughs hysterically,

The theatrics amuse her.

She is too shy to ask us to make one for her though,

But we know,

That she wants to feature in a Tiktok video.


Mom is also on Facebook,

And everyone in the family knows her password,

She told us her password out of the blue,

In case she forgets it.


Sometimes when I cross paths with her,

In the hallway,

Or the kitchen,

Or the backyard,

I turn back and catch a glimpse of her,

And it almost feels like

I just saw someone I had never seen before.

I just saw a woman,

With a million stories,

With a million hues and shades,

I just saw a woman,

Brave and kind,

Fierce and beautiful,

I just saw a woman,

Who, amongst other things,

Also happens to be my mom.