I had traveled down South to meet my grandmother during my college holidays. I was seated on the sofa next to her ailing self. Her movements were restricted due to rheumatism and she required support. As we sat catching up on the happenings in each other’s lives we heard someone at the door. My mother's distant cousin had dropped by.
She looked quite pale and weak. Her shoulders were drooping and her hair was disheveled. After the initial greeting the cat was out of the bag. Her husband had suffered heavy losses in business and they were in a hand to mouth situation. My grandmother heard her gravely. At last she spoke out, “Veena have I taught you this all throughout my life, to wallow in self-pity and low self-esteem? “ I was surprised by Grandma's sudden outburst. She had always been the magic magpie with a word of advice for the needy, but then I couldn't decipher Grandma's displeasure.
Veena Aunty sat in silence. She dare not back answer Grandma out of fear and respect. Grandma looked at her and said sternly, "Get out of these insecurities which have no value. Support your husband when he needs you the most. Stand by his side. This is a passing phase and isn't constant. You need to be strong and remove the cobwebs of negativity that you have spun around yourself." That day Veena Aunty left with a ray of hope after having a steaming cup of coffee prepared by me.
But I couldn't get to the core of Grandma's message. This incident left me thinking. After our dinner I sat next to her as she lay on the bed. Whenever we would visit her, she would talk till the wee hours. I ruminated on the day's happenings. She saw my look of perplexity and retorted, “Are you thinking about Veena?" I nodded. She kept mum for some time, then spoke, “Do you know the pumice stone? It was used in the olden days by ladies to remove unwanted hair from the body. Today you have razors that glide on the skin and do stuff in a jiffy. We weren't that lucky though. We would scrub this stone for a while to exfoliate the skin and remove the hair. The result, glowing skin with dead cells and hair removed. In real life too you need to remove the unwanted debris (read thoughts) and go for the best in store for you. Only when dirt, dust and overburden is removed do we find diamonds in the deepest pockets of earth and mind. You need to shave the undesired to scale new heights."
That night I lay on bed thinking of the day's happenings. What Grandma spoke made sense to me. It was years of experience and wisdom that had spilled out. I thought what would happen of Veena Aunty.
I wish she had opted for her hair removal. But then it is never too late ....isn't it?
After all it is rightly told …. Better late than never!