Soul Food

    This morning, I saw a beautiful message from a friend and shared it on my FB wall, it said, “May you rise up today, with the full assurance that God has your back….” something about those lines and the lines that followed was deeply comforting. I let it sink in for a bit & said to myself, “Let’s see how this day will unfold “and sure enough forgot all about it & went about my chores.
Since we are on a break this week, I had booked an appointment with my ‘Desi’ salon lady, for the routine,”touch me up’s” – color the grays,help vanish those wrinkles kinda thing. I usually loved going to her place coz there is always loud Hindi music going on, the minute you enter the salon, everyone is in bright colors, chatting laughing loudly,there is an air of a “home coming”feel to this place.
She is a big lady, the minute I walk in, she walks towards me and gives me a tight bear hug, I almost disappear in the comfort of that hug.Loudly she asks, “Gudiya, where were you all this while ?” in the most affectionate tone, it almost brings tears to my eyes, though I do make it a point to visit her regularly, she still greets me with that same line each time I go there, like she was greeting a long lost friend or a dear child. Then she continues after seating me in her salon chair, running her fingers thru my hair, “Accha beti bathao (which in Hindi means, Ok, child now tell me ), do you do weekly oil massages to your hair, they are loosing their sheen, don’t forget to eat healthy food & take care of yourself”…all in one breath. I nod mutely, unable to choke back the tears, ” How often do we bump into people who care for us, like their own? ( in fact our own is questionable most of the times ! ) yet she continues,in her own pace, humming a happy song and getting ready to groom me one way or another, like she knows what exactly to do with me! I smile and tease her telling, “I feel like a car , which has come in to the service station, to be polished & made shiny again”. She laughs loudly continuing to wave the hairbrush like a magic wand and going about her business, I settle in with a nice magazine when the masala chai is offered, more tears….. it must be the hormones, I tell myself and continue to sip my masala chai & look at the words in the magazine thru blurry eyes, not letting the tears roll down…..while she goes about her business, one after another until I was as good as new, or at least close  😀 while listening to her talk about the most recent movie, fashion or song trending in our countries back home.
It felt so good to take your mind off from the usual, for awhile & listen to her chirpy enthusiastic musings.Her ancestors, she tells me, had moved from Punjab to Pakistan during the India- Pakistan war, generations ago, so she was an emigrant to the US too, many decades ago, now she calls it home here, still maintaining her cultural roots, what tugs at my heart each time I talk to her. One always carries a part of one’s homeland with you, no matter which part of the globe you live in, and in many ways I could totally relate to her.
It was time for me to leave, so I was paying up my fee for the service, when she tugs at my arm & says, “Don’t go, not yet, I have some hot Biryani for you, eat & then, go !” By this time, I needed a tissue box, I couldn’t hold back the tears any more, it was my turn to hug her, I said, “How did you know, I love Biryani ?” she says, ” One of those times when you came in, you were telling me about it and how you prepare it at home ” I don’t remember, perhaps I had done so, in conversation, but this is a salon where hundreds of people walk in each day, how does she remember, who likes what I asked her, she just smiled, that open affectionate smile again, no hidden agenda, just genuine innocent affection…what a rarity these days ! I soaked in it, while happily eating my hot biryani…..the message I received this morning came back to me, “Yes, God has your back !” how else would I receive a plate full of hot biryani served with love when all I had gone there for, was to get myself groomed in the salon?? “Keep your eyes open for unknown blessings on their way, you never know who God might choose, to let you know, he’s watching over you” I told myself.This Thanksgiving, I know what I am going to do 🙂 ❤
‪#‎BadeBadeDeshonMeinAisiChotiChotiBaateinHotiRehtiHai‬.

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