Some months ago, Winkie lost his only, and most cherished, 7th birthday gifted watch in school. It was a Titan Zoop, with a cool basketball logo on the sides. He loved it, and I have to say it looked sporty and smashing on his wrist. That is until he lost it. This is what roughly happened from his account of things. It was a sweaty recess, and when he came back to class, he decided to take off the watch to cool off, and laid it on his desk. It was reading time, and one of his friends asked to see it. He handed it over, and it was also returned to him. Of that much he clearly recalls. And then he left his desk to go find a book or whatever and when he came back, it was gone. He looked everywhere, in his bag, under his desk, on the floor, and even made the whole class look, but no one could find it. And it was declared lost.
Now yes, the mind does tend to speculate on it, and think....what if somebody took it, and just didn't own up. It was a big possibility, and one that he kept insisting upon, but we were at a dead end.
When he came home with the news, on the one hand, I was pretty upset about it. We loved that watch, and it was a specially selected gift from his Chitthi for his 7th birthday and he could have worn it forever, I think. And he was so careful with it too. He was very very crushed and could barely get through that evening. On the other hand, there was a small part of me that was very secretly delighted. Its hard to explain why that was the exact emotion I felt, but there it was.
And to explain my delight, I have to digress a bit and tell you another story. One that happened close to 3 years ago. Remember that very exciting India trip, where my passport expired and I got left behind, only to have it stamped the next day and fly out on my own? Well, on that very same trip, I lost 80% of my wedding jewels to the back seat of an autorickshaw. And after the first freezing 2 minutes of shock at the implication, that same secret sense of delight was there. Looking back, it was definitely a weird emotion to have, but it was one of the most defining moments of my life. Because I got a sense of how far I had come.
You know how sometimes when something happens and right then and there, you get a faint whiff of the game and play of it all, and the whispers only grow louder, as you hear life giggling gleefully in the background, having just handed you a nice big blow, just to see what you will do with it. And the whole thing has a manner of such play and sport that you can't help but feel the glee yourself, and a sportive sense of challenge rises, and you feel like you have to pass this test. By God, you have to pass this test!
That is exactly what my delight back then was about. And in a small way, it is what it was about even with the watch. Back then, I had on my most graceful manner, and couldn't find it within the heart of me to rue what I had lost, 'cause that would mean failing that test in front of the biggest witness there was, is and always will be. The sense of that loss came weeks and months and years later, at different instances, when I couldn't dig in to my box of jewels anymore to find just the right thing to wear.
So when Winkie came home with the loss of his favorite watch, I knew he was being handed a similar test and the delight was over having seen through the whole charade of life. Aha! Caught you again!...I felt. Watch us ace this test now!
We talked about it and he decided he would go back the next day and search even harder, and if he couldn't find it, that was that. He would have to accept it gracefully. But till then, there was still some hope and he could pray as hard as possible, and send his fervent pleas out to the Universe. But going down the road of pointing a finger at someone, was a certain dead-end, because there was no way to prove it, and even if there was, was it the right one to take? It was a point of confusion, but one we didn't have to cross because he never found it the next day.
The sadness lingered over many days and he would look at a picture of his watch on the internet a few times, for that was the only keepsake left at this point. And he got another watch, with bowling pins on it, a much cheaper but just as cute one, when I went to the gem show some weeks ago. And he takes just as much of a pride and joy in it as he did in the one with the baskbetball logos.
So the lost Zoop taught us some valuable lessons I think. That life happens. And it can get very upsetting. That being attached to something, while giving that simple pleasure of ownership and familiarity, can also cause acute pangs of loss, when gone. That even when all seems lost, it is still okay to have hope and beam your prayer out to the Universe and cherish the possibility that you can find it again. That when you don't, it doesn't mean that that hope was misplaced, only that it carried it with it to someplace else. That parting was inevitable, but sweet things can come by, to take up the place that was left empty. That life goes on...