#MothersDay: My Mother, Her Mother & Our Story.

January 1990:

Lacs had to flee their home of Seven Thousand years to  new locations in Delhi and elsewhere, after massive terrorism and killing of Hindus in the Kashmir Valley. People who lived in bungalows and 5 storey homes in Srinagar were immediately put in tarpaulin tents and branded Internally Displaced Refugees. 
   I was one of them. 

On a trip to Kashmir with my Mother during my college days
People stood in lines to get a relief amount of about 70 Rupees, some had the utter misfortune to have absolutely no food and had to wait for relief supplies.
 Reports of Old people dying of heat strokes and snake bites in the hot plains was a daily affair. 
I was somehow in a better position, thanks to my mother, and her mother. 
My mother had recently separated from her husband - my father who was an extremely abusive and violent character. Thankfully, I would barely ever see him further on in my life till date.

My mother and her mother- My Nani raised me to become who I am today.  Since I was born, I never saw any traces of patriarchy in my life. My mom and my Nani were both educated women with careers. 
Ever since I could remember I saw my home full of classical literature and art. The music was the Beatles, Elvis, John Denver and Abba.
My mom worked crazy long hours till her mid 50’s, waking up at 5 am, doing the household work, pushing me off to school/college and driving to work and being back home at 8:30. She managed to finish the Delhi times crossword and Sudoku during that time as well. 

She built a solid career for herself and managed a home and put me through college. My Nani on the other hand had a masters degree in the 1950’s in a Muslim dominated small city. She was a head mistress of several schools and was well versed in Economics, Political Sciences, Philosophy and Sanskrit. Throughout school she was my go to person for academic doubts. Staying at home, she really was in charge of raising me right. 

Outside my home, when I saw the mothers and the grand mothers of my friends who were traditionally living in a strong patriarchal set up I used to be amazed - and somewhat sad. 

These women barely had any outlook towards the outside world. In some cases the mothers weren't even properly educated, the grandmothers going to school was unheard of.  I read Dickens at 13 and was a stronger and more independent person throughout my teenage and the only people I need to thank for are these two women.

With My Mother and Grandmother, a couple of months before her passing.

If my great grand parents had not put my grandma in school and University in the 1930’s - 40’s, she would not really have invested in my mothers education and it would have been a heavy possibility that my mother would not have been as brilliant as she was academically and professionally. 
Their outlook would have been the same as the other women I saw while growing up in Suburban Delhi. And to be honest I would not want that for any family I know. 

A long time ago. With my Mother
As a photographer, I tend to travel a lot; whenever I look at a woman butcher in the alleyways of Kathmandu, or a Koli woman carrying fish in the luggage compartment in a Bombay local or the Lady officers in the Army I met during a few shoots I did for them. It makes me happy that there is a Durga everywhere, we just need to educate and empower her. 

As the American politician, Brigham Young said, “You educate a man; you educate a man. You educate a woman; you educate a generation.’ 
The basic important thing today what men need to do is- EDUCATE their daughters.
The education could be academic or skill based.

 The most empowered and strong women I see are the fish sellers at the Morning fish market at Malad in Bombay. They are barely educated, but have been groomed and educated  by their families to know their job well, being persistent saleswomen and dealing with people. Most of them would not be formally educated.

My mother married again middle of last year and is happily living the retired life in a small town raising a teenage step daughter and a dog. 
My Grandmother passed away peacefully in her sleep, a couple of years ago on Shivratri, my Grandad gets her family pension from her government job.

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  2. Bless you kartik!
    What a tribute indeed to your Grandma to whom I too owe a lot. In many ways, I am what I am today is because of her.
    Wherever she is, she will be so proud of you.
    Love always

  3. Splendid. Such incidences and real life experiences fill me with so much life back again. Thanks so wonderful heroes in our everyday lives. I loved this piece of work