“Pink Tissues! I am looking for pink tissues,” my brother said, as we navigated through the mass of men and women, who had made a dash for the dingy lanes of Mumbai’s Crawford Market to indulge in post-Christmas Sunday shopping.
By then, we had scoured over six shops and all we could find were sets of white tissue papers. Being the terribly impatient person that I am, I probed, “Why does the colour matter when all that you’d probably be doing is blowing your nose with it?”
“It matters…” he said.
“Why?” “I don’t know, but it does.”
Even as my brother refused to clearly justify the 30 minutes of aimless shop-hopping spree at the market, I took a moment out to have a dialogue with my brain as to why buying pink tissue was so important to my brother.
Do you know that when you actually put your mind to some work, very random ideas hit you?
Here’s the trajectory of my thoughts. May be the colour pink reminds him of cotton candy (Just a guess). May be pink tissues are scented, while the white ones are not (unlikely, but still). May be pink tissues soak in sweat and phlegm better than the white ones (Err..no).
Then, it hit me – In three days, it would be a month since I returned home to Mumbai. Of course, it had nothing to do with the pink tissues, but I told you, I was being very, very random.
And it’s just at that instance that I forgot about the pink tissues, and veered to thoughts of Muscat, which had become my home for two great years. I began accumulating memories of those long drives home in my car, when I switched off from the worries of the world, and only the road ahead mattered and of course, the music on my playlist. I thought about those wonderful friends, who gave me surprises to last a lifetime and who had come to become my family away from home. I remembered sinking my toes into the wet sand of the teal-blue beaches of Muscat, while ruminating about how my life was, and how it would come to be. I wished to steal one more moment from those long evening walks with one of my closest girlfriends, whose wise words, are still worth craving for. Yet, despite missing all of it now, I knew I was currently in the right place, at the right time and with the people, who I needed more than I ever thought I did. And that good things happen, and they will continue happening. But by holding on to them, I would deny myself that one chance to evolve and appreciate the better things that could happen to me.
“Pink tissues,” my brother yelled out at the shopkeeper, breaking the stream of consciousness, “How can you not have pink tissues?”
“God…Are we still looking for pink tissues?” I asked.
“Of course, we are.”
“Are you buying pink because its the Christmas season?” I questioned.
“No,” he said, slightly agitated.
What does pink have to do with the Christmas season anyway, I asked myself. That’s when I realised that the colour reminded me of the cute little girl, who had accompanied her parents for the Christmas dance at the Catholic Gymkhana, in a baby pink frock. I then did a quick rewind to that night. It was supposed to be my first dance at the gymkhana, albeit without a partner. I recalled seeing a sea of people, all well-groomed and cut out to look fancy – all wanting to make an impression that would last until the Christmas dance next year. Nobody knew anybody, yet friends would be made before the sun rose over their heads. Phone numbers would be exchanged…some would call, some wouldn’t. Expectations were already being set. Romances, both failed and successful, were slowly blooming. Around me, there was a vibrant festive cheer. I could feel the pulse of the sometimes jarring, but mostly melodic sounds that whisked through the air, forcing even the drunk to give up their glasses for a while to brave a dance on the floor. I recalled ribbons of gossip filter from one table to the other, as the most stunning or popular passed by.When I left at 3 am, tables bore empty glasses that by then, had struck a stiff chord with the parched throats, which wouldn’t be satiated until the bar called it a day. I remembered telling myself that while this was a different-kind of Christmas, this just wasn’t my kind of celebration. Though by going with the flow and agreeing to be part of the festivity, I offered myself an opportunity to witness what I was missing, and what I would probably never miss again.
“Yes, we found it…finally,” my brother yelped with joy, again breaking my string of thoughts. “See, I told you they sold pink tissues at Crawford,” he said.
I was partly relieved. “Now tell me why you wanted those pink tissues so badly?”
He threw a sheepish glance at me. “If I knew the answer to that, looking for it wouldn’t have been so much fun. Would it?” he blurted.
I rued on that last thought.
May be, pink tissues – like most other things in life – matter. You look, search, scan, until you find it. When you get hold of it, and experience the true purpose of this colour, you hop on to the next one. What’s this purpose? You wouldn’t know, until this ‘pink’ happens to you. Such is life! It is everything, including black, grey and white.
“Okay, let’s find blue now,” I said.
My brother chimed in, “On your mark, get set, go.”