She left seventeen years ago. Every year on this day I remember her; write a few words, light a lamp, place a garland on her picture, sit quietly in her favourite spot in the garden or make her favourite dish. Then everything is put back into some corner of one's memory till the next occasion.
On the other hand my more flamboyant father became the one whose memory was celebrated in my work and she as usual took the back seat. I discovered a diary last year and that discovery was a defining moment of my existence. It shattered many images I had held on to. It raised many questions, the most important one being whether I had vindicated my mother's sacrifice.
My answer was a letter to a dead mother.
I do not know why I chose this day to share this? It could be a sense of guilt towards one I owed so much to, and yet chose to forsake. It could also be because for the past few days I have come across many women fighting for their survival and dignity just as Kamala did.
Last year my friend Abhi decided to immortalise part of Kamala's life in a short film entitled remembering mother, but I still remained locked in silence. But last week when I spent a morning with the women of Sahara House in their Miracle Maids programme something snapped inside. As I watched this motley bunch of ex addicts struggling to learn the ways of the world as they set out to set tables and memorise complex recipes, my mind went back to the small town girl who became and ambassador's wife, beating all odds.
The unbearable heat of that refurbished shed where this handful of ladies toiled made me decide to get them a cooler on this special day in the hope that the breeze it blows carries with it the love and blessings of an incredible woman I called mama!