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How many other blessings have I had all along and pushed away for years? And how many had I missed out on or was shielding myself from?
A few months ago I accompanied my mother on her visit to purchase puja ki samagri (items used for prayer and rituals). While she selected what she needed, I strolled around the little market in the old part of the city.
The entire cramped lane was full of samagri shops. A pleasant fragrance everywhere and the colourful mata ki chunnis gave it a festive air. I walked aimlessly. Observing, almost sightseeing. Absorbing it all in.
All the stores had a basket of tiny sparkly and colourful necklaces. Absently, I picked up one. Such cute tiny beads, such lively necklaces. I remembered the few Ganpati and mata murthis, I had received over the years from family elders. On an impulse purchased a handful of necklaces for them.
Once home, I washed clean the murthis and then adorned each one carefully with a bead string that matched the most. My little home mandir had never looked so cute before! Rekha, my domestic help, nodded in approval and gave me her blessings.
A couple of family weddings came up soon after, so the family elders pulled out my jewellery and handed it over to me. I had kept it with them for safe keeping since my marriage. ‘Wear all this now beta, when else will you get the chance?’ they advised, telling me to keep it with me in my locker. I agreed.
Once the weddings were done, I showed the photos to Rekha, who was always eager to see them. “I have never seen you wear jewellery before,” she observed.
“That’s because I had left it with elders earlier…” I replied.
Her eyes lit up. I knew the connection she would make… and I let her.
“Did you see that even if you give artificial jewellery to bhagwan, as long as you do it with true bhakti, he gives back hundred times.”
“…but all this was already mine… I just wasn’t wearing it before,” I tested her.
“.. and you are wearing it now, only after you got those beautiful malas for the bhagwan murthis.” she concluded with finality and got back to her work.
Later, I sat down to sort out the jewellery properly to put into my locker. As I scrutinised each one, I noted some pieces were not to my taste anymore, though I had selected them myself years ago.
My favourite choker didn’t fit my neck. It was now too tight. That one can become too heavy even for jewellery was exceptionally painful to accept. Many bangles were not going past my knuckles. Some rings too.
Gifts given to me with love, like some necklaces I used to find ‘too heavy’ or ‘too bold’ to me, seemed more than appropriate now. And I had not worn them even once in years… I was overcome with mild regret as I thought of the lost opportunities.
Possibly here lay my real lesson…
How many other blessings have I had all along and pushed away from myself for years? And how many had I missed out on or was shielding myself from… or was too afraid to take on?
As the calendar year changes, perhaps this should be my new resolve: to boldly, uninhibitedly and with an open mind recognise and understand every opportunity. To give each one a fair chance. And to not have another regret… For aren’t our lives eventually an amalgamation of all the opportunities we seize… and the ones we miss?
Picture credits: Still from Bollywood movie English Vinglish
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Former CEO and Editor of a web portal, Aarti is currently columnist at the esteemed
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