Of Mothers and daughters

Updated on May 22, 2004 10:04 AM IST

Oxford commemorated Mother?s Day with the launch of Sonal Vimal Ambani?s photo journal, Mothers and Daughters.

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PTI | ByBenita Sen

It was an oddball gathering of women - and a couple of men, who were happily included - in Oxford Bookstore’s first “all women” book launch and discussion. They included the state’s First Lady, an oncologist, cancer survivors, the message of an author who could not be there for her book launch, theatre personalities, even the local political contestant.

Oxford commemorated Mother’s Day with the launch of Sonal Vimal Ambani’s photo journal, ‘Mothers and Daughters’. Replete with shots of mothers and daughters - most together and some, like Simi Grewal’s, apart - it has quotes on the relationship from Kiran Bedi, Sheila Dikshit – fresh in public memory in her mother avatar recently blessing her political aspirant son Sandeep Dikshit, Simone Tata, Jaya Bachchan and other ‘identifiable’ mother-daughter duos.

For the marketing and finance personality that Ambani is, a coffee table book is certainly a detraction from her earlier two on her profession. But then, the message from her perhaps explains why: Ambani’s mother is battling cancer, so this is an emotional endeavour to eternalise similar relationships. 
 
The discussion swung from daily routine to cancer and the crab crept in insidiously through gritty tales of battle and survival of Kolkata’s ‘kantha’ couturier Shamlu Dudeja and Priya, and of several tales of loss.  But since one out of 12 Indian women as contrasted with one out of 15 men suffer from cancer, according to the National Cancer Registry Programme of ICMR, it’s time to discuss prevention, early detection, self-responsibility and stories of determination. As chief guest Anjana V Shah pointed out, it’s time to be “open about cancer.”

And in spite of her apprehensions about turning the meet “morbid”, Dr Vajpeyi put across her arguments for early detection, including the CA 125 blood test. 

It all reminded one of the old Jewish saying, “God couldn’t be everywhere, so He made mothers.” Just when the lump rose in the throat, the woman next to me leaned over. “What about the lows in a mother-daughter relationship? Isn’t this too saccharine?” She made an attempt to proffer her views when the mike went round, but then again, didn’t insist on having herself heard out when she was overlooked. To my quizzical look, she grinned, “On the other hand, let’s give ourselves this day. There are 364 more to talk about mother-daughter ego hassles.”

Anna Jarvis, whose 1907 campaign convinced several countries celebrate the second Sunday of May as Mother’s Day, would certainly have approved.

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