by Kritika Ajmani
It is going to be a fabulous day; I knew that because the first thing I had done the previous day was to get myself the earliest possible appointment with my favourite salon for an indulgent morning. The spoilt brat that I am, I like to get my services from a particular lady at that salon. She is, by all means, practically responsible for my glowing skin and all the other smoothness (pun not intended).
The lady in question is a beautiful, warm person called Catherine. A motherly figure with wonderfully crafted hands made to please my complaining skin. It is a relief to see her, literally. I entered, saw her in a high pony, wearing an infectious smile and “I got a feeling…that today’s going to be a good day!”
Pleasantries exchanged, she took me to a cabin and we started with the normal routine that I go through twice a month. Now we are perfect strangers, we meet twice a month to make me look beautiful and I pay her for doing it. I do not know what is happening in her life and vice versa. There was something wrong with her today though; I could sense it.
She has a daughter who will be appearing for her 10th standard exams next year. I know this because we spoke about her daughter; how she was so young and naïve and that she wanted to become a model. Out of curiosity and a little concern, I asked how things were going at her end. She smiled and said I just spoke to my husband, I think we are heading towards a split.
Taken aback by the very personal piece of information she had just shared with me, I fell
short of words. I gauged she trusted me to some extent, having imparted such news to me. As my duty I told her what I felt, that there is nothing in this world that cannot be resolved with communication. I knew what it is for couples to part ways post marriage; I would always try my best to avert such situation in anybody’s life.
While we went through her life with the most intimate account of events, I could not help but wonder, ‘How could this woman trust me so much. What was it that made her pour her heart out in front of me? Was it the comfort of acquaintances or did she desperately need to talk to someone? Did her crisis make her forget that I am a total stranger? Does life really get you to a point where strangers become bearer to the most personal details about you?’
I thought I would never be able to answer my own questions. It seemed a little inappropriate asking her about it considering the situation she was going through. I was silent in retrospection about the entire episode when she lovingly asked, “What happened baby? Please do not take so much stress about me. Whatever has to happen, will happen. It will be God’s will.”
Surprised yet, very happy for her display of strength, I could not contain myself and asked her, “How were you able to share everything with me when you don’t even know me?” She smiled and said, “Sometimes, strangers are the best listeners because they don’t judge.” She answered my numerous questions with a single statement; an occurrence that can only happen when the other person has wrinkles, not because of age, but because of experience. ***