As Mother’s Day posts celebrating love and acknowledging the sacrifices of a mother are gradually fading away from our timelines, there is perhaps need to discuss what can we do throughout the year to make her life a little easier. Among a myriad thing that comes to my mind, there has been a question, what if one day she confesses to me that she is so unhappy with her life that she wants to leave it behind? How will I react? Recently, I stumbled upon a short film, which addresses this dilemma of a daughter.
Almost 18 minutes long short film Everything Is Fine by Mansi Jain raises this question. How do you react if you catch your mother crying one night and she tells you that she wants to walk out on your dad? The film will make every modern, independent, working, metro city woman to pause and think about her mother. For it mirrors your story and mine. Especially, if you have left her behind in a patriarchal, middle-class family and hometown in search of greener pastures. You the only daughter, after all, are a witness to all the patchwork over the years that is holding their relationship together, isn’t it? That is the story of this mother-daughter duo in the film.
How do you react if you catch your mother crying one night and she tells you that she wants to walk out on your dad?
Everything Is Fine has a very familiar feeling to it, which urges you to watch it ahead, whether it is the opening scene where the daughter (Palomi Ghosh) complains why the mother (Seema Pahwa) has travelled with so much luggage and then secretly looks forward to seeing all the goodies she has bought for her or in the scene where she offers to make tea and then lets her mother take over eventually. It is all too familiar as if it has also happened in our homes and kitchens. The opening conversation makes it clear to us that the father is an intruder in what was planned to be a mother-daughter vacation and then he keeps taking over all the plans. He decides that visiting relatives should be prioritized over boating and shopping and any other activity he thinks is unimportant. When the mother marvels at her daughter’s achievement and comments she doesn’t even know how to rightly sign a cheque, the patriarch comments she doesn’t need to know it either.
The opening conversation makes it clear to us that the father is an intruder in what was planned to be a mother-daughter vacation and then he keeps taking over all the plans.
First time when the mother confesses to the daughter that she wants to leave everything behind and come and stay with her, that she can’t take it anymore there is a role reversal. We witness the so-called young and modern daughter saying all the things that we have always associated with a conservative mother. She snubs, almost rebukes her saying how nothing is ever perfect, and how you should adjust, why she should not through a tantrum, how she is tired and she should sleep on it, so on and so forth. We see the mother quietly gathering herself and assume that she will go back to her life. But does she? Watch the film for that.
We witness the so-called young and modern daughter saying all the things that we have always associated with a conservative mother.
It made me wonder how our initial reaction to any deviation from a norm is first to be critical about it. How we take our parent’s relationship with each other to be granted. How even if we have seen the cracks, we deny that anything can be wrong with that relationship. How so many women in India continue to stay in loveless marriages just because they have nowhere else to go. The film, in a very understated way, also shows us that our mothers are the people who made us who we are. She can be a fierce and independent woman too. It is her choice that she remains to play the role she does that of a loving mother or a dutiful wife. In the end, the mother asks her daughter “If you cannot support me in my decision can you at least give me company for some time?” I think to give our mother some company is solving half her problems. Call up and speak to her. I just did.
Picture Credit: YouTube screenshot
The views expressed are the author’s own.