how to heal yourself

In healing others, you heal yourself

Rashi brought a steaming cup of tea and placed it on the table. Nirmala Devi took the first sip as Rashi waited with bated breath.

Sumana was the ideal daughter-in-law in a joint family of eight. You could say she was the quintessential Indian housewife who lived for her family, always putting their needs before hers. And they loved her for it. The Singh household would fall apart if it weren’t for her. But being everyone’s beloved in the family isn’t always as easy as it sounds. Waking up at the crack of dawn, taking care of household chores and cooking everyone’s favourite dishes was Sumana’s average day.

Apart from this dutiful daughter-in-law, the other women of the family included Rashi, Sumana’s young, carefree sister-in-law, and Nirmala Devi, the stern family matriarch. It was safe to assume her domineering exterior was a result of being a single mother from a young age.

Rashi was pursuing a Master’s degree in Psychology, which kept her up late burning the midnight oil.  She looked forward to a successful career as a psychotherapist. Sumana, the supportive sister-in-law gladly took on Rashi’s share of household duties.

One spring morning after completing her prayer rituals, Nirmala Devi called out to Sumana and said, “The breakfast is getting cold. Let’s eat. We can’t keep waiting for Rashi all morning.”

Sumana went to the kitchen and started plating the food. All of a sudden, painful memories of her early days of marriage came flooding in. She shuddered thinking of the mornings when she would be a bit late waking up. On such days, her mother-in-law would give her the silent treatment, and worse, she wouldn’t even sit with her for lunch. After all these years, Sumana was yet again misty-eyed remembering all those times when she felt completely lost. She certainly couldn’t let anyone else go through the same pain.

After a quick bite, Sumana sent a good morning text to Rashi.

The notification buzzed and Rashi jumped out of bed. Within the next ten minutes, she was sitting at the dining table facing the person she was utterly petrified of. Nirmala Devi continued to eat in complete silence. As her eyes met Rashi’s, she said unceremoniously, “Ask Sumana to make some tea and bring me a cup too.”

Rashi brought a steaming cup of tea and placed it on the table. Nirmala Devi took the first sip as Rashi waited with bated breath. “Cardamom tea is my favourite,” came the response.

“Rashi made the tea today, Ma. And she specially made cardamom tea because you like it,” Sumana chimed in from the kitchen.

Unable to suppress her delight, Rashi went to the kitchen and hugged Sumana tight, “Thank you for helping me make the tea. If you hadn’t texted me, I would’ve still been fast asleep!”

Rashi suddenly felt a tap on her back. Nirmala Devi stood there with a big smile—nothing like Rashi had ever seen before. “Thank you, Rashi”, said the matriarch who had finally broken down her walls.

Sumana’s heart filled with an unknown joy. She realised that the emotion that can break your heart is sometimes the one that heals it.

She was ready to heal.


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