Saturday, May 9, 2015

Mother's Day

Today, when the world   in general  and the social media in  particular are abuzz with  Mother’s Day celebrations, singing  paeans  in praise of mother and mother hood , I am drawn to a  one-act  Play  , ‘Mother’s  Day’ by J B. Priestley  which I read in my college days. The play revolves around one Mrs. Pearson , a devout  wife and a doting mother  who leaves no stone unturned to make her family happy, always slogging it  day in and day out  doing   all  chores big and small. This has gone for years and years, with the kids also grown up . Despite all the pains that she undergoes, , no one takes her seriously and   takes her for granted. Feeling  one  day  that enough is enough she goes to her neighbour and friend  Mrs. Fitzgerald , who  besides being  a  fortune teller is also a magician endowed with  occult powers.Mrs. Fitzgerald is exactly the opposite of Mrs . Pearson- authoritative and  imperious, whom no  one  dare slight or disobey. After deliberations and discussions , Mrs. Fitzgerald suggests that  they  exchange personalities, so that Pearson family could be taught a lesson. All this requires is  muttering  the magic  words Arshtatta dumarshtatta lamarshtatta lamdumbona...”

Now  Mrs. Pearson having become  Mrs. Fitzgerald  and vice versa, things become  really difficult  for Pearson  family . The first surprise is the kids finding their mother smoking. The curt and rude behavior of  the  new Mrs. Pearson  baffles  the husband and the kids. Looking from a distance,Mrs.Pearson, in the body of Mrs. Fiztgerald  does not relish her kids and husband being subjected to  such ‘torture’  The two friends decide to  revert to original  positions  only when convinced that Pearson family  has learnt the necessary  lesson  of not slighting  or ignoring  Mrs. Pearson or taking her for granted.

The play has also  some hilarious moments. There is a clear message that the lady of the house  needs being respected, cared for and  obeyed .Here the term  ‘Mother’s Day’ is used in  somewhat negative  sense, signifying, retaliation and protest  but then, it is the proverbial  last straw that breaks the camel’s back. We need more than  mere  tokenism to  acknowledge and appreciate  the real worth of mother and motherhood. 

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