Archive for September, 2015


Remembering my Mother on her Birthday

September 15th, 2015

Today is my mother’s birthday. She would have been 68.

She was 25 when she got married, information pills 26 when she had me and 28 when she died. When I was 28, here I’d just made a radical turn away from medicine, cialis 40mg was a year into my first job, met my now husband on a drunken dance floor at 3 AM, and was laying down the tracks for a future as an entrepreneur. It was the beginning of my life as I know it.

Marina Dolores D’sa, born exactly a month after India’s independence in 1947, loved to read. She would read, sitting remarkably still for hours, my grandfather told me.

She was an activist with The Grail, an international women’s movement founded in the Netherlands in 1921 “committed to spiritual search, social transformation, ecological sustainability and the release of women’s creative energy throughout the world.” My oldest doll is from the Netherlands. Astonishingly blond with marbled blue eyes and eyelids that close with an exciting click when you tilt her over. I was told it was from a Dutch lady friend of my mother’s. I never made the connection.

She didn’t wear makeup. Her sister-in law forced her to wear a touch of lipstick minutes before she walked down the aisle. She told her, walk slowly. My mother raced and arrived at the altar ahead of what the music was paced for.

She sang California Dreaming on All India Radio. I’d actually move to California from New York in 2000 and feel at home instantly. Many years later, on a visit to Mangalore, where she was born, I’d see the palm trees and the warm coastline and think, of course, it’s Los Angeles.

She loved Joan Baez.

When she spoke in public, she was surprisingly comfortable and articulate. It seemed to come out of nowhere, my grandmother noted, I suspect because of a certain reserve in her private life.

She was searching for something larger than herself. From her letters to her best friend, I recognize a restlessness, an indecision that springs from the irreconcilable differences between principles and practicality.

She was accepted at Cornell but never attended. The college within Cornell was called Home Economics then. I graduated from the college of Human Ecology, its modern day incarnation.

I don’t attribute much of myself to my mother. It would be aspirational at best, guesswork at worst. But for some reason I sense we shared an almost personal degree of indignation about social injustice, a vexing tendency to vacillate fueled by a love-hate relationship with over-thinking, an attraction to the romantic, in people, in ideas, in places, a desire to document the times and the community we live in in the hopes of playing a small part in shaping history.

It’s a tall order to fulfill when life ends at 28 but the fact is her legacy continues in the lives of the women she helped through The Grail, in the memories of those who loved and admired her, in the work of her daughter and in the nature and destiny of her grandson, who I’m certain has the shape of her eyes. Not the eyelids. The round of the brown part of her eyes. I can’t link it to anyone else living.





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