I have heard those stories so many times.
Of how I learnt to walk or the things I hated to eat.
The tales of my childhood that no camera can repeat.
I recreate them in my head as you narrate the memories in words.
But go ahead Aai, tell me once more.
Tell me of the time I was less than one.
Of my unsure steps and my wobbly gait
that paused after a fall, just as the fun had begun.
Of how instead of latching on to any available support,
I held out my index finger for some adult to hold.
Tell me of the time when I was only two.
The poems that you helped me learn
and the book that had pictures too.
Of how I made people believe that I could already read
When I was really reciting from memory and using the pictures as cue.
Tell me again of the time I lied to you
It was sunday afternoon and the time for my TV show
you let me watch when I told you the homework was done
A blank notebook earned me my first ever slap
Harsh as it was, I learnt my lesson
Tell me of how I was a chatterbox, a contrast to your first born.
Of the clips and bows and ribbons and bands, I insited you put on me
Of how I'd choose a dress myself but never ever wear it again.
And the pre-exam wake up calls with coffee and breakfast at three.
Tell me also of the times when I behaved badly with you
Of the countless arguments and fights and the midnight curfew
Tell me you forgive me for the times I slammed the door
Of how I would have still had buck teeth were it not for you.
Go ahead, tell me once more Aai,
Tell me so I realize that you've shaped what I've come to be.
So each time I look at the mirror, I find a bit of you in me.
Tell me once more, so I can see myself from the lens that you saw me through.
So i know that no matter what my age, I'm nothing but a part of you.
(Aai means Mother in Marathi and this is also, how I address my mother)