The Bombay Store in Pune is one of my favourite shops. I don't really buy anything much there, maybe the occasional bottle of essential oil, and some gifties- but I do covet their merchandise.
A long-ish time ago, at the end of the last century, I fell in love with one of the things on display. It was a mirror, and I had never seen something so beautiful, useful, and practical before. It was a double-sided mirror on a brushed-steel stand with one side magnifying, and the other normal. There was something satisfying sturdy and elegant in it’s construction, and I wanted it. At 600 Rs, it was also something I could not afford then, and actually, even today I would not pay that amount for vanity fodder.
My niece was little, and she would come over to our house after school. One day, shortly before Christmas, my mum had gone to pick her up and when they returned, I could tell that the two of them were tremendously excited. I put it down to the fun of an outing together. But then my niece turned to her grandma with the air of someone about to burst with all the excitement and stage-whispered, "Amma, what about the M-I-R-O-R ?"
At this point both the adults laughed, my mum with the embarrassment of having a surprise blown apart, me with the joy of the lovely surprise, and both of us with pride that the child had some idea (only mildly inaccurate) of how to spell mirror. It has been with me for around a decade now. It saw me in various cities and through various phases.
And today, I broke it. Of all the things, I broke my M-I-R-O-R, and of all the times, I broke it the same hour that The One's plane was circling Delhi Airport. Damn,Damn, and Damn. I am not superstitious, but yes, I am not happy with this.
But I suppose, it was after all, just a thing. It was made special by the memory of the surprise, and that I will always have. Someday, I will embarrass my niece by telling her beau the story of the M-I-R-O-R, and in a few hours the One will call me up safe and well and full of joy at being in the country he loves. All will be well..
Update: All is indeed well.
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