Mumma, my friends are coming over. Please don’t embarrass me, okay?’
‘Mom, try not to speak in English. Why are you wearing this? Wear something nice when you come to school.’
‘Aai, why do you have to work? Who will take care of me?’
‘Ammi, how can you be wrong?’
We’ve all had conversations like these with our mothers at some point.
A multi-tasker, the perfect bahu, wife, and mother. A control room to seek help every time something goes wrong, the perfect shoulder to cry on and the warmest person to hug at all times—she is looked up to as a being that can do no wrong.
While our love for our mothers can be boundless, what we often do not realise is the unsaid pressures we pin on them.
And Jaipur-based poet and creative thinker, Anamika Joshi’s viral poem, Maa Tum Bhi Galat Ho Sakti Ho, posted by The Sahitya Project, speaks about these unsaid expectations. It pays a heartfelt tribute to mothers.
Speaking to The Better India, Anamika shares how the poem came about. She begins, “It all began when my friends at The Sahitya Project were conducting an event for Mother’s Day called ‘Ammi’. It was a platform where they invited mothers to recite poems or stories. They asked me to write something on the theme as well, and if there was enough time, I could recite it. So, the performance was quite unplanned.”
It wasn’t until a day before the event that Anamika took to writing the poem. It took her 10 minutes, and when she recited it to her mother, she was in tears.
Anamika says, “There was a lot on social media about Mother’s Day. So I knew I could hardly add anything more. It got me thinking about how we pressurise our mothers to be perfect at all times, not allowing them to make any mistakes. And that can be very difficult to live up to. My mother was my muse for the piece. She is a go-getter and never has a dull moment. Despite a lack of resources, she managed to become a confident woman. I remember when she wanted to work, we told her, ‘Maa, don’t. If you do, you won’t be at home when we return from school,’ without realising that our love and expectations could be suffocating.”
On the day of the event, just as the stage was being set, Anamika was given five minutes to recite her poem.
Watch the video below:
When she was done, most people were in tears. The video has garnered more than eight lakh views on YouTube and when reposted by Buddybits on Facebook, it had 8.3 million views, 217k shares, and 9.4K comments.
“The response was overwhelming. Many people from the audience walked up to me to thank me. One girl said, ‘I have been telling my mom for years to follow her passion. Your poem really helped me.’ Because my poem came straight from the heart, it touched the right chords with those who heard it.”
Many fathers shared it with their children. Recalling one such incident, she says, “Someone wrote to me about their father sharing the video with them, and within minutes of watching it, they all got on a conference call, extremely emotional. They thanked their mother, who is now 60-years-old, and as a sign of their gratitude, planned a vacation for her. It was beautiful.”
She signs off, “We need to stop expecting our parents to be perfect. They can make mistakes too because to err is to be human. Accept this. They let you make your decisions. So when they make theirs, don’t look at how it affects you. Because we are just one part of their lives, not its entirety. Extend your full support, let them make their mistakes and love them, regardless. That’s the best we can do. Love them unconditionally, because that’s how they have loved us all our lives. It isn’t too much to ask for.”
Since the video on YouTube does not have subtitles, here’s a transcript and translation:
Woh maa hai, toh galat kaise ho sakti hai bhala? (She is a mother, how could she be wrong?)
Parvarish mein koi kami na rahe jaaye (She ensures your upbringing is at its best)
Tiffin mein khaana ek dum swaadisht jaaye (She ensures your tiffin always has the tastiest food)
Bacchon ke kapde waqt pe dhul jaayein (She ensures your clothes are washed in time)
Ek bhi daag reh na jaaye (In a manner that leaves no stains)
Woh maa hai. Woh galat kaise ho sakti hai bhala? (She is a mother. How could she be wrong?)
Naukri karni chaahi toh bacchon ne rok diya (When she wanted to work, her children stopped her)
Kuch ghar par hi karna chaha, toh sabne tok diya (When she wanted to work from home, everyone else mocked her)
Tum maa ho, tum bacchon se bhala apna waqt kaise cheen sakti ho? (She was told: You are a mother, how can you snatch your time from your own children?)
Tum maa ho, Tum bhala apne liye kaise jee sakti ho? (You are a mother. How can you be selfish and live for yourself?)
Bachpan se hum bacchon ne maa par kuch aisa pyaar jataya (Right from our childhood, we showered our moms with the kind of love)
Ke maa ko hamesha sahi karne ke liye majboor hi paaya (That restricted her freedom and often made her feel helpless)
Maa, tum doston ke saamne naak mat katwana (She was told: Mom, don’t embarrass me in front of my friends)
Suno maa, school mein na kuch proper pehenke aana (Listen mom, if you come to school, ensure you wear something proper)
Aap angreji bolne ki koshish mat hi kiya karo (Mom, don’t try to speak in English)
Aap rehne hi do, Ghar par raha karo (You leave it be, just stay at home)
Joh bacchon ke galtiyon ko hazaar baar maaf kar deti hai (The mother who forgave our mistakes a thousand times)
Woh maa kabhi khud nahi galat ho sakti hai (Was never allowed to make her own mistakes)
Khair, hum bachon ke saath maa bhi badi hui (Well, as we, her children grew up, our mothers grew up with us too)
Par aaj bhi dekhti hun, unhe apni aakhon ke kone se mujhe dekhte hue (And yet, I see her, look at me from the corner of her eye)
Jaise puch rahi ho—sahi toh pehna hai na? Yahi bolna hai na? (As if to ask me: Is this outfit appropriate? I have to say exactly this, right?)
Aise karu ya waise? (Should I do it like this or like that?)
Jiss maa se humne sab kuch seekha (The mother who taught us everything we know)
Woh ta umr hum bacchon se seekhne ki koshish karti rahi (Kept striving to learn as much as she could from us)
Ki maa hokar kahin main galat na ho jaaun (Thinking, ‘I am a mother, I shouldn’t be wrong’)
Jaisa baccha chahe waisa hi bankar dikhaaun (‘I want to be exactly the person my child wants me to be’)
Toh aaj maa, main aapse na mafi maangti hun (So today mom, I ask you for forgiveness)
Wada karti hun ki aapke saath khadi rahungi (I promise you, I will always stand by you)
Aap sahi karo ya galat aapse judi rahungi (Regardless of whether you are right or wrong, I will always stay connected with you)
Kabhi humse na koi ijazat na maangna (You don’t need our permission, Maa)
Joh mann kare na, bas woh karte jaana (Do exactly what your heart says)
Maa Aap Galat Ho Sakti Ho (Mom, you can be wrong too)
Aap jaisi ho, aap maa hi rahogi (You will always be my mother, just the way you are)
Aapko bhagwan nahi banakar rakhenge (I won’t put you on the pedestal of a God)
Aap insaan bankar jiyogi (I wish for you to live like any other imperfect human being)
Khul kar galtiyan karna (Make as many mistakes as you want)
Khul kar jeena (Live your life to the fullest)
Aur jaise aap humaare saath khadi thi na (Just the way you stood by me)
Waise main aapke saath khadi rahungi (I promise, I’ll stand by you too)
If this story inspired you, get in touch with Anamika on Instagram here.
(Edited by Shruti Singhal)