The Grand Maa


Of late it’s a wonderfully crafted fantasy that wakes me up every morning. It’s about all the people on this planet turning female. Except me.

Imagine being a lone male in a world full of women. Hundreds and hundreds of grandmothers, thousands and thousands of mothers, lakhs and lakhs of sisters, crores and crores of daughters, and one wife. Yet, enough left to ogle at.

Oh, what a wonderful world!

Ask any man, and he’ll agree that an all-women world would be a much better place to live in. The problem is, women agree.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the fundamental problem between the sexes. Men need women. Women don’t need men; they just learn to pretend.

This has been expressed as ‘Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus’. I subscribe to half of that.

What that doesn’t tell me is: If men are from Mars and women are from Venus, then who the hell is from Earth? Are all Earthlings migrants? No one is an Earth manoos? Not even Raj Thackeray?

I have a different take. My opinion is that men are indeed from Mars or beyond. But women are surely from here. They are the original Homo sapiens as God intended them to be.

No, it’s not Adam, because it’s impossible to believe that Eve didn’t have a mother-in-law. No girl can be that lucky.

I’ve researched males for 50 years now and my findings have been corroborated by the bathroom mirror. I can establish beyond doubt the Martian lineage of the male species.

If you look around and can bear the torture of studying men at close quarters, you’ll see telltale signs in them.

Most males still piss-mark their territories. Some have Spock-like ears. Many sport bristle-like antennae from nostrils and wire-ends from the rest of the body. But the clinching evidence is the inflatable remnant of a tail, on the wrong side.

Don’t let their tailor-made suits, readymade poise, designer etiquettes and altered gait fool you. Men are as basic as aliens can be. The needs and wants of these creatures are programmed for the caves. Their chivalry that charms you is nothing but just a binary code.

So when a man says, ‘After you, lady,’ it usually means he wants to check your butt.

When he pulls up a chair for you, it means he thinks you are too fat to fit in at the table.

When he opens the car door for you, it means he doesn’t trust you with his dream wheels.

When he remembers important dates and gifts you diamonds, it means that he believes that cover-ups have to be as big as sins.

Men have escaped evolution and cheated extinction.

For a contrast, look at women. They evolve all their lives. Very slowly until marriage. After which, they get on to the fast track, covering an evolutionary curve that’s steeper than that of Monkey to Man. And as fast as Man to Monkey.

Foetus, daughter, sister, daughter-in-law, wife, mother, grandmother. From escaping foeticide to rising above biases. From struggling to be an equal to discovering herself. From coping with pettiness and envy to being cold-blooded about competition from their clan. From being an unwieldy bag of emotions to overcoming men and their fixations.

That is biodiversity’s most remarkable story of evolution. Women take just one lifetime to evolve into this universal symbol of unconditional love, compassion and wisdom.

I can hear you think Motherhood.

Not surprising. Countless odes have been written and sung about it. My favourite is: God couldn’t be everywhere. So He created mothers.

Motherhood is clearly greater than even Sainthood. Even for Ms. Teresa, Mother sounds a more befitting title than the truncated St.

But there’s a flip side to mothers.

Look at the number of wonderful marriages that are wrecked by momma’s boys who thoughtlessly remark at dinner tables: ‘Nothing like maa ki daal!’

(Dubbed in South Indian homes as: ‘Ammavin sambar pol varumma?’)

Don’t get me wrong, Motherhood is surely most deserving of the pedestal it has been raised to. All I’m saying is that it’s not the most evolved state. It is flawed, however negligibly.

Mothers can be possessive, over-protective and biased when it comes to their children. They can lie, steal, cheat and even kill for their sake.

Now compare mothers with grandmothers.

Haven’t you noticed how grandmothers are so much more civil than mothers at school competitions?

Have you ever read about a grandmother jump from a terrace with her grandchildren because of a fight with her husband?

That’s why my vote goes to Grandmothers. The Grand Mothers. Like what Grand Prix, Grand Pianos, Grand Finale, Grand Stand are meant to be- the ultimate. It’s perhaps the most evolved state of humans. The mother of all relationships.

Grandmothers are young enough to know why kids do what they do, and old enough to know why moms react the way they react.

Detached enough to give others their space and attached enough to sacrifice their own.

Smart enough to know that kids grow up too fast and wise enough to know that mothers need to become grandmothers to realise it.

Our experiences are too personal, varied and specific to be generalised here. However, let me mention one of mine.

Of late I have been looking for a scapegoat for my disastrous attempts at selling stories to producers. Last week, I traversed back in memory, delving deep into my childhood to find out who the reason for my failures is. Guess who the most unsuspecting culprit was? My grandmother.

Her bedtime stories, I now recollect, had always put me to sleep midway. Which means she was the world’s worst storyteller. That damn storytelling gene of hers seems to have found its convoluted way into me somehow.

When I whined to my wife about this, she rose to speak in defence of my grandmother. ‘How can you say that, Rum?’ she asked. ‘The purpose of a bedtime story is not to get a standing ovation, but to put children to sleep. That being so, I think your grandmother was a highly successful storyteller.’

I gulped. Could that be true? Oops, does that mean her successful storytelling gene didn’t arrive in me? Misplaced? Lying dormant?

I didn’t want grandmother acquitted just yet. At least not until I had all the answers. So I prolonged the case.

‘Okay. But isn’t the purpose of bedtime stories also to enlighten kids with complete stories? Look at me. I’m today a bank of half-told stories.’

That’s actually true. I know no full story. I still don’t know how Ramayan ends.

For very long I thought Luv & Kush was a nice way of saying ‘Love and be happy!’

She told me about only 10 Avatars. I heard about the 3D version only last year.

I had slept when the Hare went to sleep in his race with the Tortoise and never bothered to ask who won. Which is why I had thought that the moral of that story was that we must all take sabbaticals in the middle of our careers.

‘Your grandmother was a genius!’ exclaimed my wife. ‘Telling complete stories to children is like letting them watch the telly. Everything is spoon-fed to an inactive mind. Whereas half-stories make the mind tick, think and dream up the other half. She knew the code that unlocked the human minds. She knew how to create creative geniuses.’

I’ve never felt that good about losing an argument. Wow. Donkey to Da Vinci is better than Monkey to Man. Just that it seems to be taking forever.

I swear, if and when that ever happens, I will recommend that all grandmothers of the world be given the Nobel Prize for Lifetime Achievement.

Okay, I’m told that’s an Oscar.


Long live grandmothers!


2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Naren on June 17, 2011 at 1:05 pm

    hehe… like the LUV & KUSH meaning.

    Reminds me of the old movie LavaKusa (Tamil version with NTR as Ram and Anjali Devi as Sita) which we used to see on Shivratri times on borrowed VCRs.. At least 25 people will sit in a room to watch all night long and 20 more viewing from windows…

    Video lending libraries… eastman colour memories…


    • Oh yes, films titled Thiruvilayadal, Saraswati Sapatham were plenty. But one never knew what was going to play until it started. Sometimes, instead of NTR and Anjali Devi, it were Japanese couples 🙂


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