Mami in my language means the wife of Mama. Mind you now – Mama is not mother, but the brother of mother. The inadequacy of English language stares starkly in my face when I think of words such as these. To an English-speaking person, all are reduced to a common denominator of Uncle, while in my language there is a distinction between the brother of mom and the brother of dad – and more.
That’s beside the point, however.
In the garden yesterday, where I walk in the evening, several playful children were excitedly screaming, “Mami! Look here!” I looked, too. I saw the swings and slides and stuff. The kids were pulling the hands of a slender, young lady who was the Mami of those kids. The lady had a warm expression on her face, she was smiling and was willingly being pulled.
Yesterday was the last day of Diwali vacation for many kids, and they must have come to the park to have their last bit of fun. Further – these must be the kids who would have come to their Mama’s home for the vacation – if I recall what we did as kids.
Ah! And I saluted the tradition that you go to Mama’s home for the vacation. Do we do it anymore? Could anyone go to Mama’s home break after break for weeks at a time and enjoy? Would Mami take you out to play and make your vacations fun-filled? Can your mama really invite you if it weren’t for the loving, warm, tolerant Mami?
When I was a kid, many families had two- or three- sisters and two or three brothers in the older generations. Usually at the elder mama’s house, the sisters and their kids would come to stay. The house would swarm with people, the place with crawl with kids, people would be sleeping everywhere, kitchen would be on the whole day, people would still make time to do things together, mama would come back home in the evening and take everyone for an outing – all this for 21 days!!
Mama would get his respite when he would be off to work. Nanima (mother’s mother) would be aging, so no one would strain her. The hosting of a mini Olympiad for 21 days was solely the responsibility of Mami. If she was not welcoming, if she was not willing, could even sisters feel at home?
Lucky are those who have such Mamis! (I and my kids are lucky to have them!)
Oh my God! Memories of vacations at Mama’s home are flooding.. Do you have these memories, too? Are you a Mama or Mami – or a niece or nephew – to someone?