A Conversation with My Mom About _____________

When I pick up the phone, the first thing I hear my mom say is “How is…” and a list of things that I want to talk about begin generating in my head, but come to a halt as I hear her end with “…school?” Our conversation topics feel like multiple choice answers to the question:  “What can Rashmee and Riva talk about today?”

A.    School

B.    Food

C.   Random Uncle, Aunty drama

Every time I encounter the question, I yearn to have a fill-in option. But our relationship has both generational and cultural barriers that block us from communicating in the ways that I want to.

During my Fall 2017 semester at Tufts University, I wrote a column for the Tufts Observer about conversations with my mom. Every two weeks, my mom and I had a conversation about the next theme of the Observer and I wrote about my experiences talking to her. By telling her that my column was for option A. School, we were able to climb past our conversational barriers as we were able to talk through a structure that both she and I were comfortable with.

Below, are my published pieces.


 
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A Conversation with My Mom About DESIRE

The familiar ringing of an outgoing FaceTime call travels through the room. The vibrations of its sound waves are felt strongest near my heart, but maybe I’m just nervous.

 
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A Conversation with My Mom About LABOR

I think I’ve seen a total of one picture from when she was pregnant—and she’s been pregnant twice, once with my sister and then again with me. It’s possible that those photos got lost during one of our many moves. But maybe it’s possible that some of them can be found again with words—if a photo is worth a thousand words, maybe a thousand words can be worth a photo.

 
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A Conversation with My Mom About ARTIFICIALITY/FAKE

- What fake things do you want to talk about? The only fake thing I can think about right now is Splenda, but I don’t know why you would want to talk about that.

- Haha no, what I want to talk about is a little less sweet. I want to talk about fake statements. I want to talk about lies. And this could mean talking about lies that I’ve told, lies that you’ve told, and/or lies that we’ve been told.