Random musings of a wandering soul

Shell shaped soap

“Do you remember ever eating a perfect mango when we were small?”, my cousin asked in one of our non stop going back to childhood sessions. We were talking about our grandparents and the numerous holidays that we spent with them. Summer holidays and mangoes – was there ever one without the other? We had this post lunch and dinner ritual. My grandfather would be at the head of the huge dining table with his wife ever present at his right and the posse of grandchildren around him. As soon as the lunch was over, he would call out to one of us to go get the mangoes. As soon as we would get up, my grandmother would say, “take the ones that have started turning bad”. The mangoes would be arranged neatly on hay in one of the rooms and we would go diligently search for the specks and dents and bring them back. The perfect ones would be taken out only when there were special guests at the table. But then, us kids would be banned from the table those days.

What my cousin said was true. It was very rare that we got to have a perfect mango, that we would sit, relish and slowly devour. Isn’t that what we normally do with most of the things in our life as well? The other day my son asked me, “amma, why do you make good food only when there are guests?” And I thought, ” oh my God, am I turning into my grandmother?” What he said was also true. The care and time that I spend preparing special dishes for guests rarely gets into the daily cooking which is anyway mostly delegated to the help at home.

Sometimes it takes an innocent question to shake you up. At times, you may not be so lucky. I remember reading a true life story in Readers Digest years ago. This lady finds her brother in law clutching a shell shaped soap with tears flowing uncontrollably from his eyes. Her sister,his wife had just passed away that morning after fighting for months against cancer. He tells her, “she was saving this for a special occasion which never came. She didn’t realize every day was a special day”. How true and how easy it is for us to forget this in our mad daily rush. It has been years since I read this but somehow the image of that shell shaped soap still sticks with me. When things go wrong, when people hurt me, when I feel down without any reason, when life seems to be too much at times, somehow this image keeps coming back to me.

So now, there are no shell shaped soaps in my bathroom, most of the candles in my house have been lighted at least once, I don’t save my new dresses for a special occasion and yes, my son gets his brownies and cup cakes often these days.


Comments on: "Shell shaped soap" (15)

  1. JayadevM said:

    Seems your new philosophy is … Save the best for FIRST!!

    You are quite a story teller, my friend! Quit and take up writing full-time.
    But I have to permit the devil in me to surface … that soap bit remind me of the spoof version of “Yaadon ke baarat”; family reunites by showing parts of the soap-box! πŸ™‚

  2. EACH day is special.. thats why they say spend today as if their is no tomorrow.. who knows what will happen tomorrow

    I od what i want to do .. god willing if i live till tomorrow then i can do it AGAIN πŸ™‚

  3. Nice, nostalgic and thought provoking post. Yes, we don’t realize the value of the present and we don’t realize the value of those who are closest to us. The question your son asked is very important. We used to feel the same when we were young when all the goodies were reserved for the guests and visitors. Even now, we tease our parents with those incidents πŸ™‚ I loved your philosophy of living…Your kids must be enjoying the change πŸ™‚

    • You know what Alexis, I think that’s why we used to steal the goodies when we could and today’s kids do not have to do it at all. We had fun out of being denied the goodies, didn’t we?
      And oh yes, my son is showering me with compliments these days, yesterday he even said my chappathies are yummy. Now why do I get that feeling that he is pulling my leg somewhere along the way?

  4. Beautiful post!:)

  5. A particularly pertinent post for me! We have this beautiful tea-set someone got us from Germany and I always thought I’ll take it out when someone special comes visiting. But as it happens, no guest was deemed special enough :-P.

    A few days back my daughter asked me why we couldn’t take it out for ourselves once in a while and it got me thinking. Why not indeed? So we had a nice tea-party amongst ourselves where we had tea in those beautiful cups, using the tea-pot, milk bowl and sugar bowl too. It was so lovely πŸ™‚

  6. Wow! your daughter must have enjoyed that party πŸ˜€

  7. U knw ur post reminds me of something my mil said……she worked in the gulf for decades and kept buying stuff & storing it[for yrs] to take it to India when they finally left for good. And she did tht. And then she realised…….things like plates, cutlery, wall decorations which were in fashion then now look so out-dated. She keeps encouraging me to live today not tht I need any encouragment…. I realised it long before she told me. My only fault used to be tht I used to buy & save up all the good stuff to take it for my mother :-P. I still do tht but now I get for myself too:-)).

    U knw, whenever I read a post of yours I realise these are things I think about but never be able to put into words:-).

  8. Beautiful post!

    I follow your philosophy, too. I have learnt not to save up the good things for special occasions, but make the most of them when I want to. πŸ™‚

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