Forty-Something Years in Ninaland


Mamma’s House


So I’m doing this online course to help me write for big blogs like the Huffington Post. I wrote a rough draft of an article, however I’m worried my mom won’t approve of it. She doesn’t read my blog, and if you know her, don’t show it to her.

In fact google recommended my blog to her in an email once, she read the first line of a quote from Audrey Hepburn, something about how she liked kissing…my mom was like, “What is this, you like kissing, kissing, kissing? Your relatives are reading this…have some decency!” She didn’t click on the link to my whole blog, I think she doesn’t want to know what I’m writing. I think she secretly knows she will disapprove of it.

When am I gonna stop being worried about what other people think? Especially my mother? I was going to use the word ‘motherfucker’ in my last post but I removed it because I was worried I might offend some people.

It offends me that I’m worried about that. I want to be free. I want this to be like a paid movie channel that doesn’t sensor f-bombs. I said the f-word in the car once when I was in college and my mom was about to back into another vehicle.

She later told my dad, and his response: “I never thought any daughter of mine would use such language.” My mother agreed. Well here I am, not only using it but publicly writing this in stone. The Internet is like stone right?

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My parents are still ruling my life and I will be fifty…someday. I told my students this story: when I was like twenty-five my mom sits me down, “Do you drink hard liquor?” Oh no, I thought, we are not having this conversation when I’m an adult. This is a conversation for teenagers. “Do you think anyone boy will marry you if you drink hard liquor?” I don’t think any boy is going to marry me for other reasons…

My mom is worried that I will one day write bad things about her. What would make her think a thing like that? Actually it’s only because I love my mother so fiercely that I fight with her. The fact is we are cut from the same cloth, we are very similar.

She thinks I’m crazy for being on Facebook, “You have no privacy with the Facepage, people can see all your business, I need my privacy,” she proclaims.  I told her that Facebook does not follow you around with a hidden camera. She still disagrees, however if I tell her there’s a picture of someone she knows on there, she has to immediately look at their entire profile. Little does she know I’m posting her gorgeous photos on ‘the Facepage.’

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My mother was and still is a beauty queen. But she never really talks about that, she talks about how she was smarter than the boys in her class and they would get mad at her. She was such a good listener as a doctor that patients would come to her for counseling. I was in astonishment that anyone would come to my mother for counseling. I’m in counseling because of her, or so I thought. Until it one day occurred to me that most of my problems are my own damn fault. If I’m still blaming my mother, I need to cut the umbilical chord.


I remember when I was a little girl, I worshipped her as she held me wearing her beautiful silk sari’s. Now I’m too busy wondering if anyone will worship me to remember what it was like to purely loved by someone. I don’t know if there is a purer love than a mother and child have for each other.

Speaking of mother and child apparently my mom counseled young girls who were pregnant and stuff…who knew she was such an understanding woman?

I will tell you one thing. Someone in my family, tried to violate me once. My mom took my side completely. She was the most supportive woman I could have gone to with this issue. We cried together.

Yet despite this camaraderie we fight quite a bit. But there is one thing we can agree on though: Macy’s. We shop till we drop, we could spend hours, days there. She’s got a back problem but you should see the way she can lift three bags of clothes with one swoop. For my mom everything is personal, she knows all the sales ladies by name. “Macy’s keeps bugging me with these sale letters and these coupons for Star Rewards, they know I am a doctor,” she proclaims.

She doesn’t want everyone to know she is a doctor. She gives to a lot of charities, but she will tell me when I’m about to mail out the checks (yes she still uses checks) that I should not use her address label that says: M.D. “They bug me so much already, if they find out I’m a doctor they will think I’m rich!” She says the same thing about the Comcast bill, “Don’t use my M.D. labels or those bastards will raise the prices.” She’s not too far off about Comcast.

Speaking of T.V., my mom’s favorite shows are Indian soap operas. Let me tell you a little about these horrific shows. The sister in law tries to poison the mother in laws’s sister’s brother’s wife. Why? Only the gods know. “They are showing real life, there is a theme to this,” my mother will say. The theme is usually that Asha is pregnant with Ravi’s brother’s ex-wife’s cousin. Everyone is dressed up in these shows, from jewels to silk saris, from the crack of dawn until the middle of the night. They have never shown anyone in sweats or yoga pants (even though Indian’s invented yoga).

My mom is always dressed well. My mother has on occasion threatened to disown me when I have wanted to leave the house looking like a homeless person. Her big thing is that people should dress up nicely, even when they are going to the drug store. There are moments when I look so bad with my stained and ripped rags that she can’t believe I’m her daughter. She has secretly thrown away and threatened to burn ugly old clothes that I will wear over and over at home.

My mother is a religious woman, a true Sikh. This is where we have the most collisions. She doesn’t like that I respect my religion but don’t practice it the way that others do. I do my own ‘spirituality’ thing. However we have learned with time to respect each other’s beliefs. I don’t think she is a fundamentalist anymore and she doesn’t think I’m an atheist anymore. We are at peace.

Is my mom a good mother? She’s a great mother. I say this because the proof is in the pudding. She has two amazing daughters. Alright one flat out fantastic daughter (my sister) and well there’s me. I am who I am partly because of her. Good, bad or ugly: the apple does not fall too far from the tree.


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 October 9th, 2015  

2 Responses to Mamma’s House

  1. Your articles always strike a chord with me, but this one could have been written by me. Okay, with some things changed, such as me instead of you. Protestant instead of Sikh. Best Buy instead of Macy’s. But one thing is the same…our mothers. I laughed so hard that tears were running down my cheek when you said you didn’t want to swear because you didn’t want to offend people. Yes, I know what you meant…you didn’t want to offend your mother. I am the same. It’s not like I have to swear all the time, but there are just times where using the right swear word is vastly more appropriate than any other “appropriate” word. Well, I can tell you one thing…while the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree when referring to our mothers, my son will say the same thing. Indeed, the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree, whether one is the tree or the apple. Wonderful story, Nina. Thank you for sharing.

    • It’s interesting to me how universal some of our experiences in life are, like you said Floyd, you could have written this. Many of you could have, and maybe even written your own stories even better. We all carry around baggage, good and bad, from our parents. Every now and then it’s refreshing to go through what’s packed in there and throw out the stuff we don’t need.

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