Every time Mother’s Day rolls around, I become Scrooge and spend the time rolling my eyes at all the heart-warming mommy dearest pics and touching tributes that pop up while I am infinity scrolling through Instagram. Mothers are likened to Goddesses or Superheroes and there is a lot of sentimental gushing about unconditional love, delicious meals cooked with an overabundance of care, selfless sacrifice and the rest of the slop nearly every film made in the history of Indian cinema has normalised.
Take that recent film about a gangster who is actually a monster with mommy issues which went on to smash box-office records. The protagonist is so hung up on his dead amma and unresolved Oedipal Complex that he goes on to sucker thousands of poor miners into thinking he is their saviour while exploiting them to fulfil his insatiable greed for gold, abducting the spoilt heroine and Stockholm-syndroming her into becoming his wife, with the view to bringing forth a child whom they are convinced will be his dearly departed mother reborn. Apparently, this unholy fixation exonerates him for all his abominable crimes and the audience is urged to worship him for venerating his mother. Never mind, that his mum gave him awful advice on her death bed and galled him into becoming a ravening capitalist who murders his way to the top.
The phenomenal success of this film on top of other fragments of unassailable evidence gathered over a lifetime has forced me to conclude that the vast majority of men are in love with their mommies and are unable to get over the fact that society does not allow them to wed them. So most males who are not incels spend their lives feeling sorry for themselves because their wives or girlfriends, both real and imaginary, don’t pamper them, feed them ghee-drenched meals with their hands, tend to their ouchies, and tenderly massage their scalps the way Ma used to. Some go on to make movies about women who devote every atom of their beings towards the fulfilment of their precious sons’ petty needs. And the others grow up to become serial killers, rapists or just plain insufferable.
All mothers, without exception, will tell you that motherhood is not all that. The miracle of birth is actually a horror show that involves nine months’ worth of nausea, puking, occasional loss of bladder control, mood swings, uncontrollable cravings, bloating, etc. which is just a preview of the painful and life-threatening labour that follows. And just when you think the hard part is over, you are confronted with the unbearable truth... The worst is yet to come and you are on the hook for the rest of your life. This is unpaid, gruelling labour which will come close to killing you and there is no way out.
At some point, nearly all mothers fantasise about hurling their kids out the window and making a break for freedom. The fact that mums refrain from their worst impulses and do the best they can with an impossible job is surely cause for celebration. But let’s not be silly about it.