April showers bring May flowers (and Mother’s Day), and this year the blooms are particularly welcome. For the first time in the past two years, the daffodils, lilacs, tulips, and wisteria bring new meaning and real hope that maybe — just maybe — we are at the tail end of the pandemic.
While the CDC, the EU, and the WHO all are assessing the latest epidemiology data, and the FDA and other authorities consider vaccinating babies, we have moved on and learned to accept and adapt in the face of the pandemic. Given confusing information, we decide when we want to top up our antibodies with a booster. Now that we have an option, we also decide when we want to wear a mask and when we should not. Some of us have done away with masks; others are still wearing them, especially when we feel unsafe. In fact, many of us have come to find security in masks. While they were meant for COVID, they have also kept us safe from the cold, flu, lewd stares, and our unkempt, unmade faces (devoid of make up). And, oh, by the way, it sure takes the edge away from the stench of airplane bathrooms, train station restrooms and the streets of New York.
Of course, the opposite is also true. One reason to take off the mask, especially when you are safe in your garden, is to breathe in and enjoy the fragrance of blooming May flowers. The colors of spring bring us joy and remind us all that life can bring. For those of us in the US, it reminds us of Mother’s Day. Every day should be Mother’s Day, some say – and I agree. I don’t mind a reminder to do something extra special that reminds me of my mother and how much she meant to me. Nor do I mind being appreciated by my son and my husband, and being serenaded with love and affection. Let’s face it, with busy lives and schedules I (along with my husband and son) need a reminder to appreciate me. And then, being taken out to a garden brunch replete with French toasts, mimosas and thoughtful gifts is welcome.
But beyond the material, there is the meaningful. Many of us South Asian women are mothers who have grown up in a culture that worships mothers. That said, many cannot be “mothers” as traditionally defined. Adoption, surrogacy, and other ways to experience the joys of motherhood has broadened the old definition.
Our cover star, Preity Zinta, chose surrogacy as an option. She is most known as a superstar who starred with the likes of Shah Rukh Khan, but her best role to date – and one she is apparently enjoying the most – is that of being a mother, changing her babies’ diapers – while relishing learning how to cope with the job. Like many, she doesn’t need a lesson in love — just in feeding and dealing with diapers. I hope you enjoy our interview with her – and all of the other great stories in this issue, including our interview with Chitra Divakaruni on her new book, “The Last Queen,” our teens’ takes on the world, and our recommendations for Mother’s Day gifts. May May bring you the pleasure of the many fragrances of life.
Happy Mother’s Day!