It is customary for traditional poets, those who lament in Punjabi, Sindhi, Urdu, to bring in the mother somehow. Questions, rhetorical questions, are asked of the maae, exhortations are made - tell him, mother! where do I go, mother? how shall I bear this, mother? I have befriended a hawk, mother!
It is a poetic device, I tell myself. But there is no denying that I have come across an inordinate number of such laments today. Here is one by Shiv Kumar Batalvi:
माये नि माये,
मेरे गीताँ दे नैणा विच
बिरहों दी रडक पवे...
अधि अधि रातीं उठ
रोण मोये मित्राणु
माये, साणु नींद न पवे...
My songs are eyes
Stinging with grains of separation.
In the middle of the night,
They wake and weep for dead friends.
Mother, I cannot sleep.*
*Translation: Suman Kashyap
And you must listen to this man sing it: