Yippee! My mother finally knows what I do for a living.
Okay, correction. She thinks she does. I mean she always had a vague sense…She is one of those people who thought I was finally redeemed when I got a byline associated with me, after years of what she considered anonymity in advertising. Well, something’s gotta give, she must have thought, especially after I murdered my PhD prospects in pharmacognosy.
But somehow, she was in a strange haze about what I did for many years. She never got it. I spent years pointing out ads or hoardings I had written, displaying mailers and brochures I had done, but all I got was a wall. She would stump me with, “How will people know you have done it?”
I secretly wished I worked at a bank, or some job where people can actually see what you do. Somehow, being a teacher or a lawyer, or even a dancer or a singer seemed more straightforward.
Things have changed. Now, I get a call every week, almost saying, “I know what you’re doing, girl, and I am happy for you.” Yes, she is my biggest critic and my biggest fan. She actually reads the paper because I am in it!
For my newspapers-are-only-good-for-sieving-flour-and-lining-dustbins mother, that’s a leap!
My father, on he other hand is interested in what I am writing for a different reason. He loves proof-reading it and telling me that I had a comma where I shouldn’t have, or that there was a spelling mistake in para five, line four in my copy, or that I cannot start a sentence with 'because'.
So, currently I am at a point where my family is watching over me…and suddenly, I am craving for anonymity….
Sure, I know why my job works for my mother. It makes it easier for her to explain to Mrs Ranganathan what her daughter does. I am not too sure she was comfortable telling people I worked for a Men’s magazine (I am sure, till I bombarded her with enough copies of the fine material we produced, she was quite sure it was some kind of semi-porn). But now, it’s easy and above board. “She writes articles for Hindustan Times,” says my mother. And her photo also appears in the paper,” I overhear her say. In my mother’s head, I have attained stardom. (Thank god, she doesn’t have to be a witness of the circus I go through every day..)
But there is a thing about mothers. Just at that point when you think they are happy with you, they raise the bar. Mine casually remarked the last time I met her… “You know, Mrs. Shankaran’s daughter is doing a talk-show on TV. You can also do that, no?
Gawd! Just when I thought I had got it right!