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Rough diamonds look like the dull and oily shards of glass on the beach. They range in different colours. But they are all diamonds. My diamonds!
Krystal was 7 and she was always found playing with her cook’s daughter, Babita. They were best friends. Krystal’s parents were both successful entrepreneurs. There was nothing she lacked.
But whenever Krystal would study, she would see Babita looking at her books in awe with her bright eyes. Krystal would smile and give one book to her. Babita would flip the pages and watch the pictures in it. She would tell Krystal how lucky she was to go to school and how much she herself wished to go too. Some times, she would even wear Krystal’s school bag and walk in front of the mirror and dream away. Krystal would laugh hysterically and Babita’s cheeks would go red in embarrassment.
After a few years, her cook left the job. The two friends parted ways.
Krystal grew up. She was pursuing MBBS and was all set to become a doctor. On a Sunday morning, she sat at her desk, flipping the pages of her thick book.
The doorbell rang. She opened the door and to her surprise, she found her cook standing there. How old and feeble he had turned. Beside him was a lady, with uncombed hair, in a dull saree, carrying one kid in her arms. And there was another one wearing patched clothes, clinging on to his mother’s leg.
She exclaimed with joy, “Nanu!” That’s how she had always addressed her cook and touched his feet for blessings.
She, then looked at the lady beside him with a question in her eyes.
Her cook said: “Babita.”
Krystal was overwhelmed to see her friend after so many years. She hugged Babita and called them in.
Krystal’s happiness paled out in no time when she learned that Babita got married and her husband had left her soon after they had the second kid. Babita’s father narrated the entire story to Krystal, of how unfortunate he had been for not having the means to educate his daughter. Which is why, whether she likes it or not, today she has to embrace such a fate.
Krystal looked at Babita’s kids. She wondered for a while.
In her mind, she said to them, ”Be patient my little wild one. Spectacular and wondrous things do take time. A diamond is hidden before it is refined. The sheen may appear dull before revealing its brilliant magnificent breathtaking sparkle.”
Babita (laughing): “Aap abhi bhi khud se baatein karti hain?” (you still talk to yourself?) The three laughed.
Twenty-five years later, Krystal was sitting on the stairs surrounding a school playground. She watched the little children gleaming with joy, running about and playing. These rough diamonds had a uniform to wear.
After twenty-five years of struggle, her school for these underprivileged kids was now traversing on the road not taken. Yes, this was HER school that she had built from scratch. She recalled the time when her fiancé had left her and had gone off to America for a better career.
After that, she never got married. Meeting Babita with her kids had changed Krystal’s life. She left her studies and put her heart and soul into educating the little gems who are underprivileged and lack rights and advantages.
How hard she worked for it. No matter how much the world told her she couldn’t do it, she didn’t believe it. In fact, she saw a diamond in each of the kids. Just like rough diamonds, they came in a variety of naturally occurring shapes and looks. How she wished she could have done it for Babita too.
People scorned her for doing a ‘thankless job’. Work with no returns, they told her. Only she knew the value of it all. Yes, raw diamonds CAN be cheaper. They’re also likely to have inclusions which makes them less valuable. These underprivileged kids just needed a chance to get polished. There were so many of them in her school; natural and unaltered.
In the past, many students from her school had gained sponsorship for higher studies. They had now become successful young professionals in the country. When they would still come to visit her, she would just thank herself for having picked up these rocks from the Earth’s mantle.
She was glad that she removed them, digging them out from the depths of the earth. These children had the potential and talent. They just needed education, training, and polishing. And she did exactly that, free of cost.
One day she fell ill. She had a heart attack and was rushed to a hospital and treated by the cardiologist just on time. Before she was discharged, her cousin, Roxanne said to her: “I have some good news for you.”
Krystal: “What is it?”
Roxanne: “You have no bills to pay”
Krystal: “How’s that possible? Don’t joke around. You must have paid it, right?”
Just then, her cardiologist walked in.
Roxanne (referring to the cardiologist): “Krystal, do you remember him?”
Krystal looked at him with pale eyes. She could not relate to anything.
The Cardiologist: “I am Babita’s elder son. You made my life. It is only because of you and your school that I can touch the pinnacle of success. This is just a small token of gratitude to you.”
Krystal’s eyes filled up with tears.
She thought to herself: “To the uneducated eye, rough diamonds look like the dull and oily shards of glass on the beach. They are mistaken for worthless pebbles. They also range in different colours. What a professional polisher I have been. My polished stone is radiating right before me.”
The cardiologist (as he watched Krystal): “Mum always told me how you keep talking to yourself too.”
She laughed as she saw the same little boy in him, clinging to Babita’s leg.
Picture credits: Pexels
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