The other day Pinky, donning the perpetual distressed look on her face, paid me a surprise visit, as is her wont. She must be having at least four or five phones, including the handsets of family members, at her disposal, but still will not use them for such trivial purposes and how I hate surprises! But now having got used to these wonders, yours truly prepared herself for another downpour of grievances from her dear friend.
This time it was her brilliant son’s having stood second in his class and that too by three marks only. Just a few days back, she had been peeved about her maid having taken a day off, on account of some health problem. Now my immediate reaction was a hearty laugh at her so-called tension but seeing the “you too, Brutus” look on her face made me lend her a sympathetic ear.
Albeit hesitatingly, I took the liberty to suggest that she should have applauded her child’s achievement, which was not a mean one by any standards. Aghast at my suggestion, she enlightened me that she had spanked her son instead. “He could have secured at least three more marks,” she lamented.
“You are doing more harm than good to the poor child’s psyche and thus negatively affecting his future performance in school.” I also tried to make her understand that for no apparent reason, she was preventing herself from celebrating life. “You ought to take life seriously,” I told her. “But that’s exactly what I have been doing all the while,” she exclaimed. “Then how come I have never seen you laughing heartily? You know Pinky; life is too serious an affair to be taken lightly.”
Just when the tête-à-tête was taking a serious turn, the gate bell rang. It was Santosh. “Kya haal hai ji?” she asked in her ever cheerful tone. I brought her in and asked her to take a seat. She gushed while sitting,“Meri beti apni jamaat mein teesre sthan par aayee ha. (My daughter has stood third in her class).” She was dressed in a simple attire but her face was glowing with happiness. I gave her the book of inspirational stories for children that I had brought as a gift for her daughter. As Santosh was in a hurry, she left soon after exchanging a few pleasantries.
Pinky was curious to know the identity of the visitor we had just had. “She cleans utensils and has worked with us for some time, earlier. She comes to see me like this once in a while,” I informed her.
“Really! She might have been your maid but from now on, she is my mentor,” said my friend and burst out laughing, “Okay, now… let me also count my blessings.”