Punjabi by nature: Punjabi mom, the PM | chandigarh | Hindustan Times
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Punjabi by nature: Punjabi mom, the PM

chandigarh Updated: Jul 26, 2015 16:37 IST
Khushwant Singh
Khushwant Singh
Hindustan Times

Illustration by Daljeet Kaur Sandhu/HT

There are moms, and then there are Punjabi moms. Terrorising, agonising, loving, caring, daring, favouring and possessive, all packaged in one. Maybe no further explanation is required to describe a trueblue Punjabi mom but just in case one forgot the quintessential Punjabi Maa, here is a quick reminder. And pardon me if the ready reckoner is from a guy’s perspective. After all, a Punjabi munda and his mother are inseparable, or why would a 43-year-old write about Mummy ji. If you still have doubts, ask any daughter-in-law and she will effusively heave out a tale of the PM (Punjabi Mom) and her laadla. Financial guru, menu planner, holiday advisor, marriage counsellor, all rolled into one.

While the internet is bursting with the Kirron Kher variant of the Punjabi mom that keeps feeding desi ghee paranthas, the malai and butter stories have a much earlier start. Dark-born Punjabis would relate to this pronto because for many, the smell of malai (cream) and basen (gram flour) is still stuck in the nostrils. Those rubs and scrubs on the face with the mixture to make the son’s complexion at par with topnotch goras do not happen in bathrooms other than Punjabi. As if this daily dose of dairy is not enough, the obsession to its other by-products doesn't occur anywhere on the globe, except where the PM resides. And that too in a steel glass, so that it doesn't cast a spell on her 90-kilo kid. Poor Harry, if he gets diarrhoea it’s because of the spell and not the five litres of milk, three pinnis and four paranthas before school, followed by tiffin. Oh, and dare you drink tea and neutralise the effect of the morning scrub.

Stop it! Yes, that's what I used to shriek when in pain because a Punjabi mom is as liberal with spanking as she is with stuffing food. Chittar, danda, bat, hockey or that foot ruler that came with the school books and never made it to the classroom. Head face, hands, knuckles, legs and calves, all belong to her when she’s in the mood.

Without getting into the reasons for the why of spanking, because it can be triggered be it as trivial as asking her to go out to play when she is in a siesta mode, the PM never ceases to amaze. Dare daddy join or oppose the act, the PM is equipped to multi-task. Just hope that daddy joins the spanking because that’s the only chance to escape. Her tirade is surely going to be directed towards dad; how dare he crib about such a good, innocent and obedient son, even if you have returned home with a suspension order from school. And if daddy mistakenly opposes the insane beating, its certain that you’ve had it .There is no vice which you might not end up with if she spared the rod because daddy is always spoiling you. “Marjana kanjar, ullu da patha. Drugs, alcohol, tey jua karenga vada hokey?”

Laadla is all grown up and ready to go to college. God forbid if the college is in another city. The sight of a sack of flour, a canister full of pinnis, pressure cooker, jars of lentil on the platform can quickly reveal your identity. That my dear friend Jyoti (boy) forgot the entire karyana store on the platform after being rummed out is a different matter. He was lucky it wasn't the whatsapp era, for now the PM asks for proof. Such is the fear of the PM that any friend visiting the city where the child is studying doesn't reveal the programme, lest he is subjected to carry panjiri, Uncle Chips and the likes.

Puttar gets married and goes on his honeymoon. After checking in, the first thing he must do is log on to Skype to show that they have reached the destination safely and the hotel and room are good. The chuara (dry date) can wait.

Son in New Jersey and mummy in Delhi can be very worrying for a PM. In fact, it can lead to hypertension. New Jersey can be struck by a snow storm says breaking news, and she’s worried whether he’s wearing the two Lux thermals she sent with bhaiji (brother) Daljit. Yes, the exemplary son that he is, he takes the perspiring in the conference room in his stride. And if it gets colder, the monkey cap is always there which bhenji (sisterin-law) Manjit delivered after changing three tube stations. It’s that PM (Punjabi mother) to PM (Punjabi munda), connection, which, no one will ever get except the two PMs.