The Mosaic

Written By

Rashmi Manvi

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Sometimes, I feel the best metaphor for life is a mosaic — a pattern of myriad colours and textures. And it’s these little odd pieces of stone and glass that makes the mosaic so wonderful. The pieces could be anything — people, places, memories, or incidents — that somehow get embedded on your mind, and the mosaic suddenly feels incomplete even if a small, odd piece is left out. What really makes up this magical mosaic? What are these odd pieces of colourful memories?

The simple house help named Arun for example. Arun was a government worker who helped mom with her household chores when we were posted in Nasik as part of Dad’s transfers. With a smile and a tune on his lips, he meticulously went about his chores with the enthusiasm of a toddler playing with his favourite toy. All I remember was him scooping a three-year-old me onto the front of his bicycle and cycling me down to my playschool in 1987. The guy was a silent fellow, but he unfailingly sang old filmy songs as he pedalled me down the 3 km route to school. His ‘Aye mere humsafar’ had almost become my morning raga. Though ‘Arun Dada’ and the little girl he ferried daily hardly had a conversation ever, their innocent friendship made its way to my life’s mosaic.

Then there was Sister Joseph in the Convent school I attended in Pune. A thirty-year-old nun in the Convent of Jesus and Mary, she magically reduced the complicated algebra formulae to simplicity with the skill of a wizard. I was the class topper and Sister’s pet student. “Don’t forget me when you grow up,” was what she said to me before she left for another convent. Though I could never trace Sister years later, her warm smile and the mysterious sadness in her eyes undoubtedly formed a piece of my mosaic.

How could I forget the nurse who was with me as I lay on the operating table for my C-section? I was about to go under the knife to deliver my baby and was terrified. The old nurse who was assigned to me sensed my anxiety, and quickly held my hand. “Beta, is this your first time? Don’t worry, you’ll be absolutely fine.” Suddenly in that stranger’s face I saw so many people — my mother, my grand mom, my sister, my best friend, my God! Her loving and soft words miraculously gave me the much-needed-strength, and there she went — etched into my mosaic.

And then there were the soggy chapattis! I shifted to Bangalore after my wedding — the first time in my life of 23 years that I stayed away from my parents. After three months of struggle, tears, and daily doses of mommy’s motivation; I somehow settled in the alien city. My new office hardly granted me leave, but to my delight, they scheduled a two-day training in Pune! On the tearful Monday morning that I was to return to Bangalore, I sat on a bench at the airport, trying to pull myself together, and not cry in front of the seemingly strong corporate people who effortlessly went about their trips between cities. But the tears would flow, and I let them. Mom, aware of my bad culinary skills, had lovingly packed her super soft chapattis for the next two meals in Bangalore for her daughter and son-in-law. The last chapatti I ate that Monday night was soggy with the tears that fell as I ate it. Five years later, I make terrific chapattis (so says hubby dearest!). But somehow, the taste of the last chapatti eaten on that Monday night lingers on. And yes, definitely weaves itself with all its sogginess, into that mosaic.

These are but, just a few pieces of that mosaic. Then there is Dr. Ramesh — the godly radiologist, Aarav — the two-year-old baby boy I would babysit, Tulsi — my friend and house help, Kariya the dog … the list goes on. All these, another time. But it’s each of these colourful fragments which makes my mosaic so beautiful.

And no, it isn’t complete! My mosaic has place for more. And will always have, for many decades to come.




I am Rashmi Manvi, a 32 year old mom of a six-year old little boy. I have degrees in Engineering and Business Management, and I 've also done online tutoring for English writing skills. I have a passion for writing, and my style is natural, based on my daily experiences as a mother and wife. I am a firm believer of "The Law of attraction" and base my ideas on the same. I love spreading cheer and having interesting conversations, and oh, I love travelling too!

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