How One Old Portrait Helps Me Remember My Mother’s Legacy
“Memory is the diary that we all carry about with us.” -Oscar Wilde
This is my gorgeous mother, Leela, photographed while pregnant with her first child.
This portrait was taken around the seventh month, when “Dohal Jevan” a ceremony to satisfy the food cravings of the pregnant woman, was celebrated by Maharastrians (Marathi is a language spoken by people in Mumbai). The mother-to-be wore a special silk saree and was adorned with flowers and blessed by the women folk.
I adore this photo of my mother and also have similar portraits of my aunts. There is something so timeless about old studio photos. My father said the subjects always looked serious because the photographer would pop his head under the dark cloth of the camera and yell, “Don’t move!” My mother passed away last year. I have so many fond memories of her. She was called the “Beauty Queen” at work. My father had avoided the subject of marriage until he saw a photo of her and had a change of heart!
When I came to the United States for my Masters, I was twenty-two and had never travelled outside India. I came with two suitcases and my treasured possessions today are some of the things my mother packed for me: an Indian pressure cooker, my homeopathic medicines and a diary of my mother’s hand-written recipes. As I flip through her recipes, and stir my curries, my mother somehow stands in my kitchen. ~shared by @storyboxart