Mother - Amai
This album consists of stills from my short video called‘Amai’ http://vimeo.com/37298101 . While driving around Islamabad, I notice these mothers on the roadside. Their lives are a constant struggle. They have to care for their children in the most difficult conditions of Poverty. They are nameless, their work and their contributions not valued or recognised, they come into this world without any fanfare, because the birth of a girl child is not celebrated in many families in Pakistan and leave without leaving any signs of themselves. But it was one of these countless nameless women who left an ever lasting impression on me that I had to write this article about her on International women’s day.
The photograph of this mother was taken from the windshield of my car. As I was driving to pick my children from school, I could not help but stop and click this photo. While I was enjoying the cool air-conditioned interior of my car, she was out there in the sweltering heat of May, walking barefoot on a hot pavement, clutching her little baby in one hand and balancing an enormous bundle of grass with the other. How small she made me feel as a woman – as a mother. She left an enduring impression on me.
I wonder if this beautiful little boy will grow up appreciating his mother's strength, resilience, patience, and love. Will he value the hardships she has endured; life is not easy for her.
She not only has to take care of him but six other children back home. In addition to the routine work of a woman such as cooking, cleaning, sweeping taking care of her husband and the extended family , but day in and day out, she has to carry heavy loads which even sturdiest of men will find it difficult on a daily basis to carry, as well as water and firewood too.
She will never get medals for bravery in fighting wars, yet life for her is a constant battle, fighting her enemy, poverty. And yet she walks so tall, so very tall. Taller than even the greatest of men.
Will her son have childhood memories of his mother wiping his tears, holding him close and loving him, will he feel gratitude to her? Will he treat her with love and kindness? She suffered a lot even before he was born; she almost died when she gave birth to him, because women are not taken to hospital for delivery in her family. She also has to nurse and take care of this baby, which restricts freedom of movement of many women, but not her. For her there are miles to walk, and heavy burden to carry.
What kind of a man will this beautiful little boy grow up to be ? Will he punish his sister for marrying someone out of her free will? Will his honour be more important than his mother and sister's life?
With all these hardships, I wonder if this beautiful baby will grow up into a zealot, condemning his mother for not being covered from head to toe. Will she be denied Paradise because she is not dressed what the self-proclaimed custodians of Islam prescribe? A famous hadith of Prophet Muhammad says "Heaven lieth at the feet of mothers"…….if it is not under this mother's feet then under whose feet will it be?
Amai means 'mother' in some parts of Baluchistan, Pakistan. The article Heaven lieth at the feet of mothers was published in Dawn Metropolitan page on Mother's Day in 2006.