A few years back; when I was a kid — when I didn’t know what it is to hurt someone or what it feels like getting hurt; I was playing with a glass showpiece in my house and my tiny hands couldn’t hold it properly and it fell down and shattered into a few pieces. It didn’t take me time to get two tear drops in my eyes, because that was the first time I had broken something valuable. I was too young to decide what to do next — tell mom or to just ask dad to get a new one or to cry and gain some sympathy. But I was just old enough to know that I have broken something which will not come back to its original state if I don’t quickly try to fix it.
So without wasting any time, I sat down and started collecting the broken pieces of the glass. I didn’t want to make any noise; I didn’t want to tell anyone about it; I wanted to keep it low and wanted to get it back like it was before. It was a beautiful showpiece, everyone who would visit our home would praise about it. It just made me so happy to know that something that is so precious belongs to me. My mom had placed it on the shelf which was opposite to my bed. So every night before I would go to sleep, the showpiece would be the last thing I would see and obviously it was the first thing that I would see, when I would wake up in the morning, every day.
I wasn’t realizing but I was getting used to it. It is so rightly said that a kid’s mind is as malleable as soft clay. The more you expose it to something it will get used to it quickly and will develop an attachment to it. So yes, I had developed an undue affection towards the showpiece. Little did I know that soon it is going to be shattered into pieces because of one stupid mistake!
So I sat down and started collecting the broken pieces. The larger pieces which were easily visible to naked eye were picked up first and were placed carefully on the table. That at least gave me a hope that it is going to be fixed. :) Although short-lived, that feeling was so good. The feeling that everything is going to get fine, everything is going be as it was and everything is going to be fixed! It’s a beautiful feeling I tell you.
BUT! Picking up the largest pieces was not the end of the misery. What was going to be the most painful part was finding, picking up & fixing the tiniest pieces. I was about to start doing that, and my mom entered the room! Moms you know, their cooking and timing aren’t the best things in the world? I was going to try picking up the small pieces but she screamed at me and asked me to stay where I was. I didn’t understand why she was getting so mad at me; when I had already picked up the larger pieces what harm will the tiny pieces possibly do to me?
She warned me about how it might cut my fingers and I should stay away for some time. She warned me and went to get the broom to clean it. I didn’t listen to her, because we love doing that right — Inviting problems, because what is the fun in leading a risk-less life?
The moment I tried picking up the first tiny piece of the broken showpiece I got a long cut on my palm. Ouch! I never saw that coming! This was not something I had ever imagined. How could a thing that I adored for all those years simply hurt me so much! Was our equation so weak? My eyes started flooding. And I started crying on top of my voice! My mom rushed to my room and held me close. She took me to the wash basin and held my hand under the running water. It wasn’t helping thou. Eyes with tears, hand with blood and heart with pain. Too much for a toddler to handle.
Mom put some ointment on my palm and took me in her arms and we sat on the couch. She made a call to dad’s office and asked the receptionist to drop a message to my dad about my injury, so that dad could get some of my favorite sweet while coming home. :)
She hugged me and kept telling me how the pain will go away in just a few minutes. The palm was already healing. But I kept looking at the empty shelf. And I asked her, “Can papa fix the showpiece?”
I didn’t know what I had asked, but that question brought tears to my mom’s eyes. She hugged me tighter. And said “Sweetheart, we will get a new showpiece; don’t you worry. We will get a better one, a prettier one.”
“No! But that was my showpiece”, I revolted. “And we have all the pieces collected in the trash. We just have to get some glue and fix it.”
“Do you want a chocolate?”
I didn’t say anything. I just hugged her even tightly and started sobbing. She realized that it wasn’t the injury but the broken showpiece that was making me so sad. In her comforting and calm voice she said, “It is okay. It is totally fine to let that go. There is still a chance that we can pick the broken pieces and try to fix it and try to make it look like how it was. But we know that it will not shine like it used to shine before. It will not hold water that we will pour in it. There will be so many holes that it will have. And when people will come home they will not appreciate it like they used to do it.”
I didn’t buy a single word that she said. I didn’t want the shine; I just wanted to see that showpiece every night and every morning. I didn’t care if it would hold water or any other thing. And about what others think? Is that even something that I should have been bothered about? Was it so difficult for her to understand that it was something that belonged to me and all I asked was to try and fix what was ours!
It took me a few days to forget about the broken showpiece. On a lighter note, I would say that the ‘denial- depression — anger — acceptance’ cycle I had experienced at an early age itself.
I had to make peace with the fact that sometimes some things are meant to happen and we cannot hold onto things which will give nothing but pain if we try to fix them. Time heals most of the things. In such situations it is difficult to understand who suffers the more — the showpiece that broke or the person to whom the showpiece belonged. For some we become the showpiece, some become the showpiece for us.
We shall not be so hollow that one mistake should break everything. And also if we really love our showpieces then we should know how to handle them. We can’t expect a fragile thing to surpass something that it was never made to do. We should just not buy something that we know we won’t be able to take care of.
Life doesn’t stop at this point; the empty shelf got something to fill in the showpiece’s place even without me noticing about it. The broken glass must have got recycled and must be moulded in a brand new design and must be shining somewhere. I grew up, and have so many other responsibilities to look after. With time, we forget things and we move on; and that is the best (and most painful) solution most of the times.
We forget about good things easily as compared to the bad things. But unfortunately that’s how it is. I don’t have the beautiful showpiece with me but I still have scars on my palm. But we learn to live with it, and that’s the most beautiful thing about it. We feel hurt for some time, but with the next day’s sunrise we wake up and face the world with worthy experience and with a mature frame of mind.
We all should go through breaking a showpiece at least once. :)