Happy Birthday

My mother and me at the Acropolis in Greece. June 23, 1964.
My mother and me at the Acropolis in Greece. June 23, 1964.

My mother would have turned 82 today. I would have picked up the phone and called her. 011-91-33-2247-6600.

I would have said: Ma! Happy Birthday. I would have asked her what she was doing to celebrate.

She would have said that my pishi (aunt) was coming over for lunch. Nothing special was planned.

I wold have asked about what else was going on. She would have given me family updates — she kept in touch with everyone. She was the glue. She would have caught me up with gossip about the neighbors in our flat building.

She would have hurried through the conversation to get to the most important part. When will you come to Kolkata?

I would have said: In mid-September, Ma. I will be there soon.

I would have imagined her smile. She would have told me how she couldn’t wait to see me.

I will get on a plane to go home next week but she won’t be there waiting for me.

Happy Birthday, beautiful Ma. I miss you every waking moment.

5 Replies to “Happy Birthday”

  1. Moni, I love you annual odes to your mom! You keep her alive in your heart — and mine! And you draw a picture in my head of a woman I would have loved to meet.
    I’m going to India next month. Wish you could be there and come meet my mom. One day, we’ll meet there and celebrate our moms together.


  2. Just catching up w your blogs, Moni, love this one w your mother, who was a stunning preview of you. Also love when you call he ma – what my Italian mother called my grandmother at her most casually intimate, and what she passed down to me. Ma was our equivalent of Southerners’ mama. Thank you, Moni, and safe travels.


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