It’s All About Loving Your Mata


It’s All About Loving Your Mata

Illustration: Namaah/ Arré

Mothers are goddamn impossible. From the time they pop you out, they own you. The moment the umbilical cord is cut, the ovarian debt begins. And you pay that debt until death. Now imagine you have two mothers: One, your impossible biological one, and two, your very possible but illogical one. The first one can be called anything – Suzy, Sunaina, Suraya, or Sonam. They don’t mind; they’re sweet like that. The second one, however, is a different kettle of mother. The second one has been ordained by her sons, has to be called Bharat, and suffixed with a Mata. No change, no questions, no nicknames. Don’t even try.

And if you resist the urge to love her by another name, the rewards are many. In a country spilling over with compromised halfway houses, this name is the ticket to everywhere today. Chanting it will turn heads and grab headlines. Refusing to chant it will get you more eyeballs than an IPL match. And ever since a certain Asaduddin Owaisi went on record refusing to scream the magic hymn, the slogan has acquired the power and the pump of a Panama account password. From chief ministers to fatwa-issuing bigwigs, Bharat Mata Ki Jai has caught the fancy of the nation, fast reaching and about to surpass the hitherto halting declaration – Mere paas maa hain.

To truly understand this very specific, wholly mandated, kind of mother loving, we need to take a look at her relationship with her sons. (Yes, sons. It’s always sons. The daughters are still fighting for their right to menstruate.)

1. The son with the OediFuss complex

This son is a star. He obsesses about his Bharat Mata’s curves and stretch marks all the time. So much so, that he cannot control himself from drawing and redrawing them from time to time – redirecting her rivers and dams until her water breaks. A few dozen (or hundred) farmers may commit suicide here and there, but that’s pretty okay when you are dealing with a mother of such girth and complexity.

2. The mother ducker

This son has truckloads of mother love in his heart and an acute understanding of when to disappear during critical issues. When the country is burning with corruption, pseudo-intellectual nationalism and other glorious acne that appear on Bharat Mata’s countenance, the mother ducker is nowhere to be seen. Once the battle lines are drawn and the dust has settled, you will find this son fervently tweeting, contradicting himself, and screaming “patriotism” with such heartfelt fervour that it would scare the pants off Dr Dang.

3. The mofo

Ah, this one now. He is classy, pretty much in sync with all the corruption, mayhem, violence, radicalised unrest, and bigotry that can be seen lacing Bharat Mata’s system. The architect of most of them and the orchestrator of some, this son of the soiled system is a great man going by many monikers — neta, corporator, mai baap (a little ironic in the context of Bharat Mata but what the hell) and so on. From fodder to radio waves and defence systems to public ration, this illustrious son has his lovely, grubby paws on every aspect of Bharat Mata’s existence.

4. The maadar

He is the rustic half brother of #3 (above): A result of Mata’s dalliance with the kisaan before she settled down with the capitalist. This son exhibits the same characteristics as that of his more sophisticated, urban sibling. His corruption may be less classy and his speeches more earthy but he is cut from the same sari. Make no mistake. The fodder-friendly, train-set loving public figure, who loves SCAMbled eggs for breakfast comes to mind here.

There are many more sons who have slithered out of Mata’s loins and many more will come. However, the latest to join the Mata Hari Om army is a certain baba in saffron whose claim to fame is that he can give himself head on national TV (he is flexible like that). This baba has taken it upon himself to take away your head, if you do not chant Bharat Mata Ki Jai.

I miss the days when saying, “Mere paas maa hai” once in your lifetime was enough to prove that you were a loyal son. Suzy, Sunaina, Suraya, and Sonam would all be thrilled with just that much. Now, I chant Bharat Mata Ki Jai so many times that I’m thinking of how time-efficient it will be to just tattoo it on my right forearm. It will come handy in this political climate. My left forearm still has the tattoo from the last one – Mera baap chor hai.