Thursday, December 21, 2006

Symbols of Hope

A rocking chair for a 2 year old, a broken umbrella and a song. These are my symbols of hope and I look them up whenever I am in going through a difficult moment.

The Rocking Chair
I brought the rocking chair as a birthday gift for my son - his second year. When I took my son out for a walk in the evenings, we used to pass by a house where a rocking chair was kept on the balcony and he saw a child sitting on it and rocking. That caught his imagination somehow and it was impossible to pass by that house without a series of tantrums, eventually I had to change routes to ensure more peaceful walks. In those days we were in a tough spot financially, too many commitments, too many loans to repay, debts everywhere and buying a rocking chair for my son seemed an unnecessary expenditure. I did manage to stow away some cash over a few months and finally on his birthday, after work I went to a toy store nearby and found what he wanted and bought it. When I entered my house, I was greeted by somewhat hostile and accusing glances at the sight of what seemed to be an expensive gift then - my son's joy and excitement made it worthwhile and made all the sour faces all around fade away into oblivion. I am a great believer of throwing out the old and making space for the new but I haven't been able to throw away the rocking chair as to me its a symbol of positivity and associated with a belief that all clouds have a silver lining.

The Umbrella
The umbrella dates back to the same financially difficult times associated with the rocking chair. When meals on the table are uncertain, then new umbrellas are an unthinkable luxury. I used to walk to work, clouds thundering over my head and heavens emptying their guts over my poor leaky umbrella. A steady patter of drops fell on my head thanks to the leaks and by the time I reached work I was fairly damp and uncomfortable. One day I just said to myself enough is enough, I NEED a new umbrella and went and purchased it. This rusted and torn contraption also has not made it to the garbage bin because it reminds me that I can change my life if I want to - I just have to go and do it.

The Song
Many years later when all clouds were history, I was one of the members selected for a very prestigious assignment to be executed in USA. This would give me plenty of exposure and growth in my chosen field of work and I was really looking forward to it. The home aspect was challenging as I had to leave behind a 4 year old who had never been separated from his mother for a single day, stocking up on groceries and provisions, instructing the maid and arranging for my Mother to step in and look after spouse and son while I was away. All of these details were taken care of except my visa, all my team members had got their visas but for some strange reason, mine was rejected because of missing information. Half of me was bitterly disappointed from a career perspective while the other half was relieved that the family would not be thrown into a tizzy. My visa application was sent again - this time with complete information, I had to reach the American embassy at the crack of dawn 4 AM to stand in queue for my appointment. During my hours of wait I heard many whoops of joy and saw many tears and also managed to learn a smattering of Gujarati. When my turn came I was asked a few basic questions and dismissed, another hour went by before our passports were handed over outside, the song was blaring out of a radio in a nearby roadside shack as I opened my passport and saw a 10 year visa granted. The song reminds me that there is someone up there to take care of us.


BlondebutBright said...

What touching symbols! I can (somewhat) relate to the visa stress - it's such a tedious process and can be terrible when it ends in rejection.

Kausum said...

Ekta onek boro comment likhe delete kore dilam. Onek kotha mone pore galo purono dine. Baba aar Ma ke koshto korte dekhe. Ekhono oi kotha guno mone hoye, aar likhechilam kintu post korte parlamna. Roj kauke khabar noshto korte dekhle pore onek kotha mone pore. Onek jinish choto balae payinin aar kichu din pore bujhe bayna kora bondo kore diyechilam and these memories came streaming by as I read your post. Probably, someday when I have enough courage to tell it, I may do it.

Shreemoyee said...

I had a rocking horse I think and it rode all the way to fairy land and back.

austere said...

wow. some days one needs to read something like this. thanks.

zypsy said...

i just passed through the most difficult financial phase of my life. and i'm very sure i'm going to remember each and every detail of it with fondness. it's also time like this that brings out the best and strongest in every relationship.

ichatteralot said...

@BbB: Oh yes - seen a lot of drama in all the visa offices I have been to!

@Kausum: The difficult times are difficult but I think they teach us life's greatest lessons. When my Dad passed away all kinds of luxuries came to an end but I feel I am a better person because life has rocked and shaken me a few times.

@Shreemoyee: Rocking horses are quite magical!

@Austere: Glad to be of use!

@Zypsy: Absolutely - the bad times are a true test of human nature and it takes almost super human effort to rise above ourselves during those times