Who Gives Birth to Whom?

mahim “A child gives birth to a mother.” The quote runs below a public work of art on the way along side the western express highway in Mumbai. A prized location, the sculpture of the mother-and-child stands tall, seemingly linking the roads to Mahim, Bandra and Worli-sea link.

It is hard to miss, especially if you are on a religious trip to visit the famed Siddhivinayak temple (Lord Ganesha) at Prabha Devi , St. Michael’s church in Mahim, and the Durgah of Mahimi in Mahim. Each of these places is historically relevant. For instance, while the church is one of the oldest existing Portuguese buildings, the Makhdoom Ali Mahimi’s Durgah is a reminder of the great Sufi saint and scholar who was also the “first commentator of the Holy Quran in India”.

Coming back to the mother-and-child sculpture, I happened to take a sparing look at it once, when stuck at the traffic signal. Appearing to be of a mother holding up her child, the metal sculpture is devoid of any distinct features or facial expressions. Yet, surrounded by the bed of greens, the mother and child cut a happy picture of the nurturer and the nourished.

A few minutes distraction from the traffic snarl, the sculpture and the quote, “A child gives birth to a mother”, kindled my mind. Mother and child – who gives birth to whom? Undoubtedly, each gives birth to the other. Undoubtedly, the mother and child relationship rooting to birth can be correlated to the relationship of a creator and his creativity. Nevertheless, it takes the creativity to give a name to the creator, and a purpose of life.

Wonder, what could have been the mind-set behind its creation and its location? The sculpture of mother-and-child will withstand the years to come. Like the many curious onlookers, I may perceive the duo in a different light, on another occasion, a different day.

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