Friday, January 04, 2008

sanah ki ma ki navel gazing

this blog as an unending discourse on my deep involvement with motherhood was all set to be discarded. i was feeling acutely conscious of making public my enchantment with my child and myself as mother, not because i was targeted by vicious bloggers like some popular mommy bloggers were, but because every now and then i succumb to the notion that motherhood should be a private experience. and where does this notion come from? a sense that there could be a disconnect with my world if i flaunt the transformed surabhi, the sanah ki ma surabhi.

is there a disconnect? yes. and this finely written piece egged me on to write a post about the disconnect as i percieve it.

the disconnect with my world is partial, i must concede. there are too many people, and very many spaces that i inhabit that have continued relating with me as before. the new rhythms of my being have found their niche with them. but then there are others who reject this strange new entity that is sanah ki ma.

i use the term sanah ki ma with a certain rigour, i hope. sanah ki ma is as comfortable discussing the colour of sanah's poop as she is discussing the nuances of the editing of her film. it is a part of one seamless discussion with the person who is interested in my life.who would want to listen to the troubles of editing 80 hours of footage? and who would want to end that discussion with the strategies of toilet training? i am lucky that the working world i inhabit and the people i work with have made space for both.

but to come back to the disconnect - for many this seamless discussion i often indulge in is a problem. i recall a telephone conversation with a dear friend and colleague. i was buried deep in the editing of my film, putting in ten hours of work,no help at hand for sanah, cleaning the house and cooking by myself, and she called, this dear friend. a simple question, how are you, tugged at my heart, and i poured out to her how overwhelmed, exhausted i was. i got a short reply, why do you have to do this to yourself, drop your film for now.i came face to face with this disconnect most intensely in this conversation. there were no compulsions, but just as i had to look after my one year old, and i had to have some degree of cleanliness in the house, i had to work on my film. the option of dropping any one of the things did not exist, but yes i could do with some help.if i had divided up the conversation i might have had a more sympathetic listener. or better still, i should have stuck to one set of complaints - my work, or the house and baby.

oh but i have been lucky. i walk into screenings of my own film, my child at my hip, and have long fruitful discussions after a session of cooing to the toddler, from an audience that is unfamiliar to me.the child at the hip does not deter them from asking difficult questions.and i have given a three hour lecture and fed my baby when she was four months old in the middle of the lecture! (it helped that i was addressing a class of thirty young women, and the professor who had invited me saw nothing strange about the baby tucked under my t-shirt)i have walked into meetings and told people to ignore the sleepy toddler with me so she can nod off in my lap, and then got on with my meeting.

more often than not i carry with me the strong whiff of being a mother (ofcourse when i was lactating the whiff was a real, bodily presence, not an ideological statement). i dont know how else to be. so if in the process i lose some friends, and banish any dream of working in the corporate structure(television companies), i can live with it.they probably did not want me in the first place!

there is a toddler at my hip now, we can attempt to have the same conversations we did 28 months back, but there IS a toddler at my hip. why dont i leave her at home and meet you in another space? we could, but my fingers might remain distracted with the hairband she discarded in my bag. am i capable of an intelligent conversation with you along with this distraction? only if you are not distracted by my fingers.

she has transformed the way i view the world. and i keep slipping into wanting to exhibit this new gaze.


Y said...

Sur - have I mentioned I love your writing? It just flows, it's like stepping into your mind for a bit.

Happy New Year - to you, the hubby and Sanah!

the mad momma said...

And once again I have to thank SB for bringing you back to us. Dont stop Sur... you're a part of our lives too now...

anja said...

Sur sur sur, your words are music to my eyes, if that's possible. So glad to see you back. Read your post with rapt attention, love the way you write. I'll be in bbay at the end of the month, really looking forward to meeting up, I will be in Andheri. Email me your number anjalikaATgmail.

Happy New Year dear filmmaking mama. Hug to your lil beauty, who is looking so grown up in that pic, hope you'll had a good trip down and up the coasts.

dipali said...

'she has transformed the way i view the world'

Such is the magic of childhood!
It's great to have you back, Sur- you know you were really missed.
Such a lovely photo of Sanah.
Great post, Sanah ki ma!
May we have many more from you in this new year.

dipali said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
kodi's mom said...

this is brilliantly written, Sur. I loved, loved how you portrayed the "hairband" scenario.

hope you won't stay away from blogging again.

karmickids said...

I just love this post. I am going to keep a printout of this in my bag. You have put down my eternal dilemma with such precision, that it is almost as if you wrote for me.

SUR NOTES said...

y: happy new year to you too. and as you can see my mind is spinning a bit - and reading your post, you must be in a spin too. all the best for getting back to work- you will be fine!

tmm: as i said on your blog, its normally you who provoke me to post.: )

anja: you are my first commenter who dropped by,unkown to me, from cyberspace...never thought anybody other than pals would want to read my whining tales.

dipali: and you are my pal from cyberspace who SAW my film, braving cal traffic! you are one solid supporter, thanks.

kodi's mom: we are all collectively hooked to the 'hairband' na? so i say, lets celebrate!

kiran: its the hairband for me and the dashing cap for you, na?

Oria said...

Good words.