My Mother's Ex
My Mother's Ex5 mins 516 5 mins 516
Aaloo ka Parantha for the breakfast.
Leisurely, I logged into Facebook.
Few notifications only.
Last logged in time maybe around 01.30 am.
I was scrolling through the news feed, absent-minded. Suddenly I saw a comment from my mother on a photo posted by a boutique. She was their loyal customer and would comment on almost every post of the boutique’s page. I clicked on her name and her profile opened. Suddenly, a thought occurred to me. I added mom on Facebook a few months back but did not ever look at her profile. I thought of browsing her profile. The idea acted as the answer to my curious question of how life was when my mother was of my age.
Did she understand the complications of being in the twenties? Or was she lucky enough to have a simple life? I wondered how she looked like in clothes other than traditional ones and hair as short as mine. I wondered what kind of posts attracted her and what kind of pictures were posted by her. Did she loop her songs or did she understand what hashtags were? Did she ever have someone special? How he looked like and more importantly, does dad know? Were her friends constant in almost all posts?
A lot of questions.
A lot of curiosities.
A lot of eagerness.
I opened the album of Profile Pictures. 209 photos. I started from the very first and moved chronologically. The frequency of changing profile photos decreased over time. Is this some kind of social media maturity? Posting pictures less frequently and sharing posts even lesser. The first profile picture was black and white. Her shoulder-length hair had a middle partition and it was brushing against her left shoulder. The picture was probably clicked in winters because she was wearing a cardigan. She was not looking at the camera – probably a pseudo candid click!
I kept on looking at the pictures and I saw her skin color change from monochrome to beige to light brown to tan-brown to beige again. Few profile pictures had celebrity faces and some stupid one-liners – I wonder why my beautiful mother had to keep these as display pictures. I saw her in a variety of dresses but her hairstyle more or less remained constant. I saw my mother grow beautifully from a girl to a lady in over twenty years. Amid browsing, I realized that she never wore ripped jeans and snaps at me because my wardrobe has a lot of them.
Slowly, I reached the latest display picture. The latest one is definitely the most beautiful. The latest one is candid and I know this. Photo courtesy goes to dad. In the picture, she is sitting on the bed cross-legged, knitting something. Her face pointed south and one of her knitting needles pointing north. Her platinum ear top is indicating east and her west is blurred, keeping the woman in focus. Her cheeks have freckles sprinkled over them.
The creases on her forehead suggest a long journey of approximately five decades on this planet. Her short hair is untied and her locks of hair freely moving in all directions. Her eyes are concentrating on the blue-colored wool and the area under her eyes has one shade darker blue – probably the last remains of her liner which she applied yesterday. Her lips are not forming a curve. The anti-aging cream did not seem to have much effect on her face. Her grey hair surrounding the vermilion was probably indicating wisdom which comes with experience. A simple yet compound snap. She did not change the picture for seven months. She loved this photo as much as dad did.
After a one-sided smile, I moved on to the Cover Photos album. It has approximately one-fourth photos of the Profile Picture album. Gradually, I came across the thirteenth and fourteenth photo in the album. My mother is in her early twenties and with a guy which is definitely not my dad. I clicked on the photo to look at it carefully and saw comments which clearly indicated that this was her ex. An ex, she told me about one year back when I was sharing my casual date experiences over chai – one of those Chai pe Charcha sessions. We did not talk about it ever after that day but today, seeing these two clicks, I remembered that evening. I still remember how her expressions changed from ‘Maine Pyaar Kiya’ to ‘Maine Pyaar Kyun Kiya’ to another fictitious sequel of these Salman starrer films ‘Woh Pyar Hi Nahi Tha’.
I moved on further to come across a downloaded picture of the series F.R.I.E.N.D.S. preceded by a collage of her school and college friends and succeeded by a quote classifying all the men under the category of blamers and chauvinists. I could understand it well because she must have put this picture before meeting her best half.
I scrolled further up to come across a love quote, followed by quotes of unrequited love or love she starved for. The best one of them was “Badi lambi guftagu karni hai, Tum aana ek poori zindagi lekar.” I wondered who it could be. I was stunned how her quotes changed from blaming men and hating love to some famine-stricken woman craving for a few grains of attention and affection. I wondered if dad is the intended person. I failed to be empathetic towards her because I have never been on this side of the story. With me, it was just a few dates with Movie and Margarita. I shrugged and brushed aside the thought and scrolled a bit faster to come across the mandatory marriage picture – the beautiful bride in her late twenties.
Just then, I heard Maa bursting into laughter, probably on one of my dad’s jokes.
I smiled and whispered under my breath, “I just hope dad is the plenty to her paucity.”
-Twenty-five years from now.
-From my daughter’s diary.