2021 Oct 27
The mothers and aunties of this island have quite the repertoire of sayings, tales, threats and acts of concern, all wrapped with a labour of love… most of the time! While conversations with our mothers always include some shade of fear and affection, here’s a list of sayings we can go a day or two without…
Amma: “Ah Putha, take some more food!”
Me: “No it’s okay, I’m full.”
Amma: *Serves food anyway*
You’ll hear it during the first serving and you’ll hear it during the second… without fail; this line is as staple to our mothers and aunties as rice is to Sri Lanka. This statement is usually posed aggressively and repetitively during family gatherings and daily meals or while having friends over, invoking guilt to ensure that we’ve been fed beyond our hunger.
Amma: “I’m like a servant in this house, no one helps me!”
Me: *Offers to help*
Amma: It’s okay, I can do it.
It’s next to impossible to satisfy our Lankan Ammas! The worst part is, when we do end up helping them, they’re angrier than ever! This is simply because our mothers love to do everything in utter perfection. So if you do manage to offer her a helping hand, make sure you go above and beyond to earn those extra Amma points.
“No, no problem at all ané! Just wait a little, will you? *Insert your name* can help you *Insert chore/proposed favour*.”
Helping out relatives and family friends usually isn’t the biggest imposition (mostly when you propose it yourself), but how many times can you say that this line got you giving your weekend hours away helping aunty/uncle with errands or hanging out with cousins when you’d rather stay alone? While there is happiness in knowing that our parents feel they can depend on us and sign us up for chauffeuring services, grocery shopping, tech support, catering for family parties and so on, checking in beforehand can go a long way (’cause once said, there’s almost never going back, and the errand always takes twice as much time than expected!).
“Just wait till your Thaththa comes will you!”
This one would take some of us back down memory lane to our childhood/teenage years. Some of us in our adulthood, unfortunately, and rather comically, still hear this when it’s just not our day and Amma was the first to find out! As a kid, it might’ve been a mysterious call from the principal/disciplinarian or simply an empty threat to get us to eat our vegetables! As adults, a relatable scenario could be that last night’s “meet-up with the friends” got out of hand and now you’re racing a countdown till the fathership reaches home base for you to outdo this bestowed fate. Regardless, at some point in life, you’ve faced this threat head-on, and hopefully you survived to tell the tale…
“Aiyo! What if the neighbours find out?” OR “Chi, what will people say?”
Versatile in nature and performed with such concern, the versions you will hear would vary depending on the situation, yet the classic tune that this dramatic line is usually delivered in, remains carved into the back of our minds. While this line could now be deemed controversial and sometimes discussed as an alleged method for imposing subtler oppressions in the age of “snowflake culture” – will this line dilute through the coming generations or remain passed around like cutlets across the dinner table?
“Ah okay! Don’t listen to me! When something happens DON’T. COME CRYING. TO. ME!”
A line as old as time and a song as old as rhyme! Doesn’t matter what pending plans you’ve concocted for your evening, if Amma’s doesn’t get it, neither will you. This one comes out as the first line of defence at the brink of you making a decision or doing something the mothership may not comprehend, agree with or downright be against! But yet this threat isn’t one that stops you from proceeding full speed ahead – just know that if anything goes wrong, you’ve been warned and Amma is about to have the last laugh!
Found this interesting? Why not check out this year’s Mother’s Day video as well? Watch the full video at https://youtu.be/_JjTi0dDDoY