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I Found My Mother With This London Tube Map From 1977

As a newly arrived immigrant from India, my mother used this London subway transit map to understand an unfamiliar city. Today, I use it to understand her.
relates to I Found My Mother With This London Tube Map From 1977
Madison Johnson/CityLab

The summer after my mother died, I went through her closet. I was 16 years old, and alongside my father and brother, I had to help clear out her things and decide what to keep. Mourning and being a teenager is an odd combination; so isolating, but also, strangely freeing. I felt as though all the rules had been broken.

In the swirling newness of my grief, I still found myself fascinated by my mum’s version of womanhood. I tried on her red lipstick and her brightly colored court shoes from the 1980s, reveling in their adult-like feeling. I loved her saris, but I feared them too; I hadn’t grown up wearing the yards of delicate material, as she had.