No Good Deed Goes Unpunished — Loving My Mom Version

Sharing space and life together

Shefali O'Hara
3 min readMay 31


Photo by Saubhagya gandharv on Unsplash

My mother loves Indian music. I don’t.

Well, that’s not completely true. I like some of the purely instrumental stuff. I like the older film music — from the 1960s and 70s. It reminds me of my childhood, and the lyrics and music tend to be softer, sweeter, more elegant (I think). I also like some of the devotional music.

But I can’t stand modern Bollywood music. To me, that includes anything past about 1980.

Unfortunately, I recently found a cache of old Hindi music CDs that I gave to my mother. By old, I mean from the 1990s and 2000s. Still way too annoying for me, but Mom was delighted.

She asked if she could play them in our shared living area, so she could sit comfortably in her chair and hear the music while she read. Of course I said yes. I wanted to make Mom happy.

But then I regretted it!

Because I can only take this type of music in limited doses. And Mom wanted to hear all of them, one after the other, on an adventure of discovery. Which I loved to see, even while the cause of her joy — the modern Indian music — drove me crazy.

Part of the problem is Mom needs to play it louder than I like because her hearing is going.

However, the way I look at it — this is Mom’s house too. She has the right to listen to whatever type of music she likes. She shouldn’t always have to go to her bedroom to do so. However, it’s also my house and I also need to feel happy here. Mom understands.

My SO suggested I let Mom use headphones (thanks to him I have a very comfortable set). However, Mom doesn’t like them, and I’m not going to push it.

Once Mom got over her initial excitement regarding the music, she was willing to reach a compromise. Sometimes she listens to her music in her private space. Sometimes she does it in the shared spaces, but then she limits it to just one CD (between 40–60 minutes).

This limits how much I am punished for giving her the music she loves!

Actually, to be honest — I love how happy it made her to be able to once again listen to this music, and I would isolate myself a couple of hours a day regardless so I can write without interruption. So my sacrifice has been minimal at best, and it’s well worth the joy it has brought her.

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Shefali O'Hara

Cancer survivor, writer, engineer. BSEE from MIT, MSEE, and MA in history. Love nature, animals, books, art, and interesting discussions.