Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Sri Lankan Mothers - Have you got one?

I was talking to a couple of people recently about our Mothers. It's got me thinking. We all love our Mothers dearly but they drive us up the wall too don't they? Whether you're fourteen or forty one you're always the child.

Do Sri Lankan Mothers have some special characteristics, are these features common to Asian Mothers or to all Mothers or is it just my particular one.

You know the characteristics.

My own example will insist on throwing things back at me, things that did when I was a child. Like

"I remember that time Rhythmic when you wrote a cheque out to me and it bounced, I'll never trust you with a cheque again."

" But Mum, I was sixteen, and had no money."

"There was that time when you got drunk and were found in a doorway by a girlfriend and we had to come and collect you."

"Yes, I was seventeen then, that's what seventeen year olds do."

These days I'd get a cab or a girlfriend who lives nearby.

"And how about that time when you went to Sri Lanka with Dad and cried because you were missing me. "

"Errmm I was ten Mum."

Does your one say "but how are you really?", but touch your arm and ask the question in a slightly deeper than normal voice? At this point I can only assume that previous generations of men in my family would have broken down in tears and poured their manly but heartbroken heart out to their Mother.

I don't. Nor do my brothers, nor does anyone I know or have ever known. But someone must have.

The topic of fridge contents could go on and on. My parents' fridge is like a food hospice, where morsels that used to be meals go to die.

Tiny scraps of food are wrapped in foil, cling film or placed on a small plate. Scraps that younger generations will throw away happily, but for parents these scraps are the building blocks of a meal. A bit of onion, some garlic, mustard seeds and chillie and that single prawn in batter from the previous night's chinese can become a gourmet meal.

This does sit uncomfortably with me in a way. Are we too spoilt as a generation to not appreciate food in the way we might? I have no qualms about throwing away a single prawn but, to my parents it's a cardinal sin. But "sell by" and "use by" dates actually mean something to me. I don't take the view that they're something printed on a packet just to read while you're eating.

Most people take what I'd consider to be a reasonable viewpoint on these dates; a day here or there won't make much difference. My Mum figures that a year here or there will be ok.

And another thing, I'm on a bit of a roll here actually. Whenever I go to Sri Lanka, which is quite often, my Mum says to me:

"Even if you can't visit Aunty (insert name of old Aunt here) can you at least call her to say hello?"

This is something I don't understand. Why do they ask us to do this? International phone calls these days are cheap, old Aunties are scary, we all know that. They invariably know when we're in town anyway.

I was in my hotel room in Colombo last February and my phone rang at some kind of unbelievably early hour, something like 11 or perhaps even 10. I answered it in that daze that is a mixture of tiredness, some alcohol, drawn curtains and unfamiliar surroundings.

"Is that Rhythmic?" the female sergeant major voice said. I contemplated a firm denial, but fear got the better of me.

"Yes" I squeeked.

"Rhythmic Diaspora?"

"Yes" I replied.

"Son of S..... Diaspora?"

"Yes, that's me" I was started to get a little bit concerned by this point.

"Grandson of LC?"

"Yes, yes, ermm who's calling please?" I was genuinely getting worried, thinking it might be the Police or something. Maybe they were reforming and needed a new drummer as Mr Copeland couldn't do it. One never knows.

"This is Aunty S...."

She went on to explain in friendly yet scary tones that she had heard I was in town and would love to meet up. I was alone in my hotel room but something about her tone made me immediately ensure my sarong was tied properly and I was standing up straight. Slouching wouldn't do, I knew she'd detect it.

She also said that she has read my blog so, as I am typing this I feel a bit as if I've narrowly avoided death by Aunt and am now popping back to try my luck again. Cinimod, you know the story here I believe.

These Aunts are things to be scared of, yet our Mothers want us to voluntarily contact them when it would be just as easy and cheap for our Mothers to call from wherever.

Have they no concern for our welfare?

Sri Lankan Mothers. Can't live with them and can't live with them!


n said...

An aunty that reads blogs!? Now thats a chilling thought!

Jack Point said...

some related themes, including Nosey Aunty and Pervert Uncle are expored at


Theena said...

After reading this post, I am thankful that most of my relatives are computer illiterate. I can't even imagine how my dad would react reading some of my blog entries.

My mum is certainly one of the archetypal Sri Lankan mothers - yes, she refuses that I've grown up and that I am really drawn to the female sex - oh the horror of it all.

Anonymous said...

fyi-this blog is todays article in english sunday paper Lakbima.