There was no way I was going to let my mother not be part of the second annual Mother’s Day interview extravaganza. She is the only mother I have and getting to know her as a woman is one of my favourite things now that I’m all grown up. A lot of what I do creatively is directly inspired by her. My memories are tied to her. She is the reason my sisters and I have our quiet confidence and strength. There are days where I sit and think about how I want this blog grow so I can maybe be known (it’s silly, I know). Then I remember that the most important people in my world are already here with me. They always have been – reading along, cheering with me and telling me that I indeed matter to them. “Read only by mama” is not a bad deal. In fact, it’s the best deal in the world.
I am here writing this as a very thankful daughter. I am blessed to have my mother. However, I know she doesn’t have hers physically present and it is a huge hurt – one that doesn’t go away without many, many what ifs. For those of you whose burdens are magnified on days of such publicised joy: I know, it’s hard. But all we have is today. We start there.
Happy Mother’s Day, mama. You already know all the answers.
(You can read the first interview here!)
1) Did you drop any of your kids on their heads? Asking because your other daughters are a liiiitle….
Actually, I had two falls while I was pregnant with you. Either you were one hard nut to crack or I was a tough mama, but you took your time to come into this world and with no damage at all. Jane and Gayle are alright!
2) Were you working/employed when you had Jane – your first? Did you get maternity leave?
Yes, I was employed at Bank of India and I had three months maternity leave.
3) Tell us all about your first job.
My first job was at Panjim at an office by the creek. It was Cosme Matias Menezes. I was there for just a month or so and I must admit, I did not like it. It was a large hall with all these desks that people sat at and the bosses had their cabins at the back of the hall. My starting pay was Rs 450 or 500. It was recommended by a friend of mine. I guess I just took it as I did not have any experience. The fun part was that during the lunch break, I used to walk for around five minutes and go and meet my friend, Patricia, who worked nearby. All I remember is my walk over the Patto bridge to get to work. Then I was assigned the job of dispatch clerk. Boring!
4) Did having children at home ever make you not want to work or did you enjoy your job? Foremost: Did you ever have a choice to not work?
In the early days, having children meant saving for their futures as also feeding, clothing, educating them. We did not have much by way of savings. Besides, the job I had at the bank was a steady one. Initially, it did not pay me as much and one advantage was that I was close to home and the timings were nice. I did not think of not working then because I could be home when you were up from your afternoon snoozes and spend the rest of the evening doing things with you three. I don’t have regrets about taking up this job because it gave me a chance to work with some really nice people and meet some nice (and not so nice) people. Besides, when your dad returned from his job at Saudi Arabia, he did not have a steady job and it was hard for us to save much. So I stuck on.
5) Enough of the serious questions: Why did you not let us watch Hindi movies when we were younger?
I thought they were silly and too long. I don’t know.
6) Did you do anything your mother (grandma) did while raising your own kids that made you think: Gosh I’ve become my mother!
I can’t think of anything. Can you? (Editor’s note: Not really. But from you I think I got this habit of being unable to see dirty dishes in the sink. Hence I am constantly washing 1 spoon every 4 hours.)
7) Do you think there’s a point in your life where you say: “I’m done with parenting. I’m going to stop worrying and let them drive without a helmet and a broken headlight!” (This is a hyperbole, of course)
Worrying? That’s one thing I will never stop doing. But I know that God has given you all some wisdom to think through your choices before you make them. Once in a while we all like to stray but I always pray for each of you.
8) If you didn’t have children, what would you have done with your life?
I shudder to think how miserable I would be – and how miserable I would make your father. That thought has never crossed my mind. Now I have 3 special girls to be proud of. I have had the best years of my life watching you grow into pretty and talented ladies. You have given me a chance to be a mother.
9) You never told us not to drink/smoke/get high when we were growing up and we didn’t either. Does that surprise you? Would you pass out if I said I tried it all once? You can admit you’ve done it too of you want….
Doesn’t surprise me, just makes me proud. No I will not pass out, but glad it was just that one time.
10) Do you remember that time I failed in Maths (twice). Maybe three times. Or 4..I wasn’t counting. How did you know I wasn’t trying my best?
I knew you would not be good at Science subjects – Maths included, but you insisted, so we let you. I think you did try, but I am glad you realised that it was not your fore and changed streams.
Okay too much information.
11) Does it ever stop being strange to tell people “these are my children”? (I would die. I still do when I have to say “husband”)
I am on the other side of 50 so it is alright.
12) What is your dream job?
Definitely didn’t plan to work at a bank. I thought of working at some other job where I could travel.
13) What’s your favourite breakfast food?
Eggs mostly, but it is mostly on a Sunday
14) What’s the best food that your mummy made?
She made lots of yummy food – chappatis (she made triangular ones), loved the doce bhaji (with broken wheat) she made once. Also, she once made me ice cream (I can still taste it). Everything she made was tasty. Can’t just pick out one particular dish.
15) How was I from the ages of:
1-3 – cute and chubby
3-6 – little insecure and still chubby
6-9 – not so chubby
16) Tell all our lovely readers what a pain in the *you know what* I was while I was being born and stuff.
Funny, but I don’t remember the pain. I just know that it was the middle of summer and oh so hot. There was no electricity so they started a generator, which was so noisy, so nobody knew when you were born. Anyway, you were being held by a nurse at the back of the labour room with a cloth over “you know what”, and they would not tell me whether you were a girl or boy, thinking I would be disappointed with a second girl. So funny!
17) How exhausting was it to raise three children all under the age of seven? Did you ever feel rewarded (even though I know that’s not the point…)
I had help from Nanu, my dad (Babdi) and mum (Grandma) and then Romaldin. Without them, it would have been tough.
18) Jane, Gayle and I think you did a phenomenal job as our mother. How do you think you did?
Sometimes, I think I could have done better, by listening more and being more patient.
19) Do you still not care about Mother’s Day?
It reminds me of my mother. And that makes me sad.
20) Last question: Will you please live forever? Okay thanks.
If you never grew up, maybe I could live forever. No one has achieved that, so no chance.
Simple sautéed pea shootThis is clearly not the most original way to cook greens but it is the best. This was my first time eating pea shoots so I asked the vendor I bought it from how she cooked. Sautéeing came up and I went with that. Raw pea shoots taste exactly like peas! Weird, huh? The final dish ended up with a flavour that reminded me a lot of bhutta (Indian street-style corn on the cob) and I loved it. This dish would go well as a side with eggs or some heartier protein. Feel free to change up the oil, seasoning, or even the greens!
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 1/2 tsp black mustard seeds
- 4 large garlic cloves, minced
- A bunch of pea shoots (loosely about 3 cups worth), tough bottom stems removed
- Juice of 1/4 of a lemon (you can use more if you want more tang to it)
- 1/4 tsp chilli powder
- Salt + pepper to taste
Heat a pan over medium-high heat and add the vegetable oil to the hot pan. Wait 30 seconds and then add the mustard seeds to the pan. Once the seeds start to pop add the garlic to it. Sauté the garlic for 15 seconds until it only slightly browns. Be careful to not let it burn. Add the pea shoots to the pan and sauté for about a minute or two, until the shoots wilt and turn a brighter green and a little brown in parts. Squeeze lemon juice over the greens while they’re still in the pan and sprinkle some chilli powder on top. Take the pan off the stove and season with salt and pepper. Serve warm. Enjoy!