I don't have particularly vivid memories of my childhood but as far as the classic game of Good Cop, Bad Cop is concerned, in my eyes, my father always played the role of the 'Good Cop' while my mother was invariably viewed as the 'Bad Cop'. After all, my father used to bring us toys and chocolates from his tours abroad. My mother used to ensure we eat healthy home-cooked food. My father used to take us on outings every Sunday. My mother would return home every evening and check our school-work. While both parents insisted on me getting good grades, it was my mother who used to force me to finish my homework and scold me if I did not score very well. Moreover, she would wake me up every morning so that I did not get late for school - unfortunately, being rudely awakened from my beauty sleep because of my mother's incessant screaming was not exactly my idea of a "good" morning. I remember commenting as a child that I hated my mother's shouting - I think, as a child, it was something that I feared.
As I blossomed into a teenager, gone were my shy, well-behaved mannerisms. Suddenly in school, teachers started telling my mother that I had transformed from being "the quietest in class" to one of the most talkative persons. It was in sixth grade that I actually started interacting more with my peers and got a closer peek into their worlds. It was in sixth standard that I realized, for the very first time in my life, that my mom was cool! It was a very random incident but it is one that I remember clearly even to this date - our class got a couple of free passes to the local amusement park and my friends and I wanted to go on our own. Each one of my circle of friends rehearsed a speech to present before our respective mothers in order to get permission. I too did the same. When my mother returned home in the evening, I was a little anxious. I waited for her to settle down and then brought up the topic precariously. To my utmost surprise, I did not even need to finish before she said 'yes' and gave me permission (though she insisted on some form of adult supervision). When I called my friends, I found that a lot of my friends who had boasted in class about how getting permission was not at all an issue for them were having trouble convincing their parents. That was the first time I realized my mother is actually not as scary as I think of her to be - she may scream and shout but if I am being reasonable, she will support me. She managed to even convince my friends' parents to give permission after assuring them that we wouldn't be left completely alone and by ourselves.
When I was in twelfth grade, I remember getting on the wrong side of one of the teachers in school. It did not bother me because my entire gang of friends were eye-sores for her and we landed in trouble almost every day. Never in my life had I ever served detentions until then. Unfortunately, my mother did not find this whole affair funny - it did not matter to her that I had partners in crime. According to her, I should have remained in the good books of the teacher and I remember fighting with her over this innumerable times. Even though I don't agree with this view-point even today, this was one incident where my mother taught me to respect the position of authority irrespective of the person occupying it.
When I moved out of my home-town and started living on my own, I realized my mother's importance. For the first time, I was responsible for my own self. There was no one to wake me up on time for my classes. There was no one to make my bed. No one was there to force me to eat something before leaving the house. Little things that my mother used to do over the years for which I never thanked her even once...Even today, though I have been living away from home for almost seven years now, whenever she is visiting, she will still go out and buy me necessities that I will never think of getting for myself; and though I hate it when she cleans, I really appreciate how nice and organized my place looks for the next couple of days.
Over the years, my mother has become my friend. I find a lot of people around me complaining about how they need to hide some things from their mother because "no matter how cool parents say they are, they are only fine with things if they are happening to other children and not their own" - it is difficult for me to relate to such statements. While I may not tell my mother every single detail of what's going on in my life, I do not think I would ever lie to her if she asked me specific questions. We may not have long, thoughtful conversations but her smart, witty comments have always lightened my mood and also made her an instant hit among my friends! Recently a friend of mine asked if I would ever marry a guy who my mother doesn't approve. My first response to her was "Yes, why not? I have to live with him, not she." However, as I thought about what I had just said, I added, "I don't think my mother would ever have issues with a guy I really like - if she does, there is probably something wrong with him that has caught her attention and not mine. If she brings it to my notice and that 'fault' or 'shortcoming' is not an issue for me, I will go ahead with my decision otherwise I will have to think about it." My friend was a little taken-aback at my answer, and to be honest, even I was surprised at what I had just uttered. All these years I have adored my mother for the immense amount of trust she has had in me without realizing that I have the same amount of faith in her.
My mother has taught me to always stand up for what I believe in. She has taught me to endlessly support my near and dear ones especially before outsiders (it does not matter if our internal equations are jarred at that present moment). She has also taught me to be accountable for my own self and not rely on others to get my work done. I will not say I have mastered each lesson that she has bestowed my way - my mother and I are very different persons with a lot of dissimilar perspectives, attitudes and mannerisms but while we may have our share of conflicts, I can only see my relationship with her strengthening with each passing day for the amount of love and respect I have for her makes it impossible for me to imagine my life without her in it.