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A toothbrush story

Author: Kamna Raj Agarwalla   |   Date: 16 Jul 2017   |   Comment: 0 Share:   |     |     |  

Who the hell writes about a tooth brush?

I do. 

Its huge for me.

Today is my friend’s birthday … so this toothbrush thought has surfaced again.

I cannot negate it so I think… what the hell!! I might as well get over and done with it!

I have a thing with toothbrushes, they always seem to get lost.. I don’t know if it happens with the rest of humanity, but certain things elude me and I spend a part of my life fretting over the repetitiveness of this failure and wonder why it happens. Its like a bad karmic relationship with a specific object- I presume my “toothbrush karma”|is particularly bad. You see I travel a lot. I don’t particularly suffer from a cleanliness fetish, but I do desperately need a brush in the morning, and when I dont find a brush in my bag I am doomed!

So, this is what happened. I land in my friend’s house and find myself in the same situation. Its seven in the morning. Ugghhhh!!! to wake someone at that hour…. most embarassing! But what the hell! These guys are my best buddies . So I knock and say, ‘ Hey guys would you be having a new tooth brush by any chance” ? Now buddies can be strange, wacky, mean, funny and dramatic!! I am told the toothbrush available costs 58 rupees & 50 paisa, and it is being given most grudgingly…. I beg in feigned despair and eventually claimed the damn thing!! This episode becomes a joke between us. We often discuss the health and status of the so called huge investment, and every morning the decrepit tooth brush brings a smile to my lips.

And then, a month later, I lose the damn thing again!!

I am bereft, not because the karmic eventuality thing acts up every time, but because the toothbrush is special.. it fills my mouth with a effervescence of fun. What the heck, I ring up the guy again. he is in England on business . I tell him,’ Hey I’ve lost my brush again, can you get me a new one?” He happens to be in a legal meeting and shares none of my grief. I am curtly dismissed. Rightly so!! But then, the pull of the toothbrush is inescapable, he calls immediately after the meeting… curses, yells, laughs…tells me to enhance my budget as tooth brushes in England cost 15 pounds a piece. I do a swoon song but tell him to do his best…

A week later he calls to say the toothbrush has arrived. I drive over and am told with exaggerated expletives how traumatic the acquisition has been. To start with he couldn’t buy one in England- paucity of time… but the issue burdened him greatly, “like a tiny piece of lead weighing down his soul” . But work would not let up… not a minute to spare.

….. Then a spark of light!!!! …. A 15 minute deferrment in a meeting…alleluyah!!! Just time enough to nip out for a tooth brush !!!!! the mad rush yields not one but six tooth brushes as the grocer had no change…. AND my errant need is fulfilled…. Amen!!!

I give deep thought to this experience… I have definitely decided I will never buy a tooth brush but always go back asking for it in the same way. I don’t know if my life is long enough to see us through another buying spree or will the stock of five will see us through. But I do know that the value of this silly brush is way more than most things I possess. The treasure of thoughtfulness,ownership, compassion, affection, enriches my whole being. When we bicker in front of our kids about this story they look skywards in askance, I think they look at us as some kind of juveniles behaving like delinquents. Alas, they haven’t tasted my toothpaste in the morning, it has an added flavour of caring, cajoling, chiding, a warmth that can fill many souls, a connection that binds all of us together in a universal space where small acts have added up to make our lives large and luminous.

I know I will never pay for the toothbrush…I never can.

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