The other day, something very interesting happened to me. In fact, I thought I’d definitely make a note of it just so that I get an opportunity to narrate it. As the title suggests, it all began at the spa. Now, I am not a big spa person to be honest, but I do like grooming myself. Do not ask who isn’t, you will be surprised to know. Anyway, I ended up going to the spa after 2218302480 days and guess what? I learned something very important, something so memorable that I was glad I made the trip finally. Read on.
There’s always this dilemma in my head when I visit a salon/spa. The age dilemma. Many may be familiar with this, or not. Sometimes, I believe, we create the differences amongst ourselves. It’s such a paradox, to see how this world runs almost cyclically. From one to another to yet another and back to square one. When did I realise this in its entirety though? That spa day.
That day, I met her. She didn’t speak to me in the first hour, and I thought nothing unusual of it. Warped as I was in my world of tiny flaws and guilts, I forgot to give importance to what I’d promised to live by: stories. Stories that were swimming in the air, seemingly invisible. Concealed under layers and layers of failed attempts to conceal, they lay deceptively close. Only time would reveal them, even the mightiest could not. And the time was right.
I asked her what her name was, plainly out of curiosity. She seemed only a few years older than me, a speculation proven right when she revealed that she was 19. Yet, I was left gaping. Shouldn’t you be in college, I wondered aloud. She laughed and replied that she was indeed pursuing her higher education in a community college at her hometown, Nagaland, and worked here every 6 months to make money for her education. A family of five, her parents and her two sisters had had almost nothing to begin with. As the eldest child, she had assumed it to be her responsibility and duty to see to it that she could give back much more to her family than they had given her. Today, here she was, working 7 days a week at the spa for 6 months straight in a completely new city where she knew nobody at all. Nothing could stop her, from learning and conquering the world. The icing on the cake, however, was that she was also the one paying for the education of both her sisters. As she narrated her entire life to me in twenty minutes, I was stunned into silence. Not that I was literally speaking, but my thoughts had stopped half-sentence. Broken off, only to learn once again how frivolous I had been, how little things hardly mattered in front of such feats.
She spoke about it all as if it were nothing unusual, nothing special at all. That’s when it struck me. It struck me that the people I was surrounded by and my inner self, both revolved around a different planet altogether, alien to the one her life revolved around. We were parallel lines, and we had created that for ourselves. Her life was hers to stake out, as mine was my gamble altogether. Yet, it made me rethink my priorities and a lot of things I considered pivotal.
Maybe, nothing has changed since. I could not find the right words to express my appreciation and gratitude, the expressions of which were not mine to give in the first place. All I could do was give her a smile, a smile to express the quenching of my curiosity, to express my satisfaction at letting me a glimpse into her life. For, a glimpse was all that was destined to me, I would never live the life that she had envisioned for herself. Entwined as we were among loyalties and ultimately, society, that half an hour of a voyage into her life and back took me back to level one. Where the journey hadn’t finished, but just commenced. I’d see her on the shore, waiting somewhere afar for me, waiting for me to fight storm and gale and reach ashore safely. To be where she was, it could take me a few days or a lifetime. But, the glimpse of the shore was enough, I now knew where to go and how. She’d reached earlier, and some would reach later. We’d all get there one way or the other, I was certain of that.