Saturday, October 10

The Old Wisdom



My maternal grandmother used to tell me that, “the way you treat your parents is the way they have treated theirs,” and life has never showed me otherwise. We learn from our parents, from our society, from our traditions, from our religious beliefs, but we may as well choose to put our learning to use, carefully.

The other day I was at a shop, where women buy hosieries and stuff like that, and I encountered something that reminded me of the truthfulness behind my grandmother’s wisdom, which had an ironic tone to it.

There were four customers, beside me, in that shop, and there were four sales persons trying to pitch their sales. I was at the section, where cashmere socks are hung, and let me tell you there is nothing more luxurious in life than wearing a pair of cashmere socks, suitable to protect your feet -your second heart—against the brutal cold of the Canadian weather. Anyway, as I was talking to a sales person about the price of a pair of a cashmere I had in hand, there entered into the shop a flamboyant figure of a woman, with a greatly designed black-goat- leather hat on her auburn hair, a velvet green jacket that gracefully adorned her great figure, and a pair of reading glasses that looked very elegant on her long nose. She looked impressive to everyone, for we all noticed her, each in our own way.

She walked across the aisle where the knee-highs were hung, a sale- person responded to the move and greeted her nicely. Within a few moments the sale-person was at the manager’s corner, perhaps, reporting about the failure of a possible sale, while the flamboyant customer walked towards me with two pairs of socks in her right hand, and asked me, “What do you think," she didn't pause for an answer, and continyed, "do you think they are too much for a mother, who is in a retired house?”

It took me a second to respond, “Well, they’re really funky”. She looked at me for a second and turned around as if I did not exist. this is not swell, I thought ! But again, I had a feeling that she must be one of those tough-looking people, whose heart is aching. And I was right! A few seconds later, again she walked towards me, this time with three pairs of socks in hand, dangling them into my face, and asked me rather rudely “how do you like these?”
“Well, I think they are rather colourful for a mother who resides in a dull establishment. She can use some colours in her life. We all can, even though some of us don’t deserve a colourful life”. When I was uttering those words, a voice in my head was keep telling me to shut up, but I am always prone to listen to the “other” one that tells me to go on. And it was not a mistake to utter those words, for what came out of it, was having a pleasant conversation over a cup of delicious coffee with a new friend.

It is strange how we think of our parents and what they do to make us who we are. We are their products, just as they were the products of their previous generations. We do what they do, or what they couldn’t; it has always been that way. We may make or break a rule, but we may never get away from what we have learned in the process. But, we may reserve the right to set up our own rules, to bend theirs, and in the process learn that life is made up of passing moments.

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