Mother's Day: Love can mean many different things, say Chennai-based mother-daughter duo Anita Ratnam and Arya Rajam
This Chennai-based mother-daughter duo is known for their very evident love for each other and why not? Anita Ratnam is known to be one of the most prominent dancers in India and students of dance across the globe look at her as their ‘all-knowing amma.’ Arya Rajam, Anita’s daughter, is a mother of a different sort — proudly taking on a parenting role when it comes to caring for street dogs, advocating for a vegan lifestyle and motivating people to spay ‘streeties’ to give them a better life.
Both of them are dog lovers and Anita comes from a family that takes their love for canines very seriously. “My mother was one of India’s first professional dog show judges and would fly around the world to judge these competitions. My father owned a kennel and I grew up among German Shepherds. So while my ‘human’ family means a lot to me, dogs have always been a part of it and maybe more importantly so,” says Anita as we catch up with the duo for a quick chat around Mother’s Day and what it means to both of them.
“Being a mother is one of the most amazing experiences you can have. You have to be a friend, a disciplinarian, a confidante, a teacher, a guide, a counsellor and a patient listener all rolled into one. There are days when you really wish you weren’t a parent and then there are days when you couldn’t imagine yourself in any other role,” adds the dancer.
“My mother has been the most amazing mom in the world to me. We are close and I can discuss anything with her. However, we do have some funny, silly arguments sometimes — on how we choose to bring one of our dog babies up, for example,” chimes in Arya, who is also a well-known novelist.
“We’ve grown to accept each other completely and I promised myself to never be that mother who forced her children to get married. I’m happy that they are with me at home. I am happy that I get to lookout for them and it brings me great joy to know that they can be exactly who they want to be in my presence. I think that’s what motherhood is all about. Bringing up a child to be the best they can be,” explains Anita.
So, what do they plan on doing on Mother’s Day this year? “I think it’s a lovely reminder to thank our mothers for all the love they have given us and I really believe that doing something simple yet loving will make all the difference,” says Arya and Anita adds in, “the day is all about reminding ourselves of this wonderful gift — the gift of being a mother, being a child, being a family and the amount of love we have for each other — sometimes, just saying it out loud will make the hugest difference.”