I was complaining about being ‘bored’ during the summer break. It was a word that was used indiscriminately and liberally by children of all ages. Almost as if it were an illness that we had contracted, much like the viral or malaria… Trust my mother to find a solution that would suit all. She laboured up to the storeroom and rummaged around till she found what she was looking for.
She placed a shapeless bag in front of me and asked me to sort it out. I remember sitting on the dining room floor surrounded by entangled balls of very soft colourful wool. One color meandered into another, like the meeting of the proverbial ‘Sangam.’ With no beginning and no end, I really didn’t know how to move forward. The more I pulled one ball, the more entangled it got with the other.
“Can’t do it!” I yelled at my mother, throwing the colourful mass down with all the vigour of a teenager.
“You asked for some activity, well, here it is.” She said calmly.
She could sense my impatience and irritation as she looked on from the kitchen door. Then she left her knife and vegetables and came and sat next to me.
She picked a ball of wool and followed its thread into the tangled mass. Slowly she loosened it by pulling gently at the knots, in a back and forth motion. As the knots loosened she was able to pick the ball up and take it through the lines of different color wool and wind it neatly.
She eyed the scissors that I had brought.
“The easiest thing would be to cut away all the tangles and knots,” she said, ”But the real lesson is to Work them out with patience. Whatever you choose to do now is the learning you will carry through life. Work on those things that seem too tangled and messed up. Don’t make cutting off your first option.”
I am happy to say that I managed to wrap up each ball of wool into a perfect sphere!