That itch in my ear…

Girl with finger in her earIt was a winter morning in 2002 and I, a second grader, was cuddled up in my quilt unwilling to wake up to my grandfather’s bhajans, the din of utensils being used and my mother trying to wake me up. Wishing to skip school on the pretext of an earache I had gone to my mother the previous night, to which immediate remedy was given by trickling a couple of ear drops and stuffing my ears with cotton. I dragged myself out of the bed only to see a glass of milk waiting for me. As I held the glass with half-opened eyes and wiggled my ear; the cotton from my ear fell into the glass and drowned in the milk. In disgust I left the milk. After I had dressed for school, I came back to my room and found the glass empty! I rushed to my mom who told me that my paternal uncle-tauji had drunk it. He usually ate my leftover food to save me from chidings. I was scared that the drowned ball of cotton would harm and cost him his life!

In school I sat gloomily, wanting to burst in tears, thinking I would cause my uncle’s death. I thought when I reached home, I would find everyone in white and wailing and everyone would hate me! I thought of escaping the town or even the earth! As I came home, I saw my mother waiting for me on the doorstep. She was generally accompanied by my uncle, but today he wasn’t there. I rushed inside without even caring to hug my mother, only to find him in the dining room, enjoying a good lunch. Nothing gave more joy to a second grader than to see this miracle of surviving even after consuming something which I thought was poison! I never told anyone the reason for my tears that day.

Today, a mere itch in my ear takes me back to that day. Being an optimist I recall that incident to believe in myself and not to give into undue fears. “Life is a strange affair where a few moments of peace snatched should be gratefully acknowledged.” And what is more blissful than the joy of recalling and laughing silly incidents together with family.
Vatsala Sharma

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