I have a problem. I call my mother by her name. Period. I say Shobha, she answers, works fine for both of us. No that's not the problem. The problem is that in India, parents are =/> god or something close. So when people hear that I call my mother Shobha, I get the following responses:
The raised eyebrows look that is especially reserved for members of our generation.
Dissapproving head shake (read: bigdi a.k.a spoilt girl).
Tragic pat on the back saying I'm too far gone to invite any suggestions.
All sorts of weird facial contortions even our creator wouldn't believe we are capable of.
Its funny, I don't do it to ape the west (people have actually told me that), certainly not because I don't respect my dear mother, not because I'm rebellious or want to seem pseudo - modern. Frankly, there's no reason...as a child I heard everyone calling my mother Shobha: her parents, my mama, mami..so I caught on( oh ya I was a smart kid). Everbody thought it was one of those cute little childhood things I would grow out of..little did they know!
So Shobha it is.
When I was in school(boarding) they screened all our letters home just to check if we were not writing anything vile and foul about school(bunch of losers!). Anyway so when my warden saw "dear Shobha" in the beginning, she came marching and said,"Chandni Singh, you are to write a letter to your mother, not sister. Come on write another one to your mother." I patiently explained the intricacies of my family taxonomy. She quickly rearranged her face from utter horror to calm concern. An hour long lecture on "society kya kahegi", " aapki mother, mummy sunne ke liye tadapti hongi" later, I wrote a model letter, full of all the correct salutations etc..bah humbug.
Two weeks later, I received a horrified letter from my poor poor mother. Ha ha..that sure tickled me. What I fail to understand is why people can't mind their own silly businesses?????????
Shobha, to me is the most beautiful word in my vocabulary and I don't happen to want to substitute it.