3rd June 2017
“Grandma!” Lekha came running into the house in all enthusiasm, looking for her grandmother. But, she was nowhere to be found.
“Your dad has taken her to the hospital, Lekha. She’s getting a CT Scan done again today,” her mother informed her as she walked in from the backyard.
“Right,” she nodded as her eyes welled up. She clasped her hands in a quick prayer.
The familiar screech of the gate and shuffling footsteps announced that her father and her grandmother were back home. She rushed out to welcome them. An old bespectacled woman with scanty hair hobbled in using a walking stick. Her hunch was more pronounced than ever. Lekha froze at the sight of her frail grandmother, who was once a pillar of support to the entire family. The unshed tears threatened to trickle down, but, she willed them away and plastered a smile on her face.
“I’ve got you a gift, Grandma, with my first salary,” Lekha told her grandmother as she trudged her way to the bed.
“Tch! Tch! The first salary needs to be offered to God, Lekha; should not be spent mindlessly.” Grandma looked visibly upset.
“I’ll do that with the second, Grandma,” she assured her. “Now, let me bring a mirror. I’ve something to show you.”
She hurried to her grandmother’s side with a large mirror and placed it in front of her. She opened a box and uncovered something fragile.
“There you go. A new accessory to my charming Grandma,” she declared and placed a wig with a cute bun on her grandmother’s head. “To my warrior grandmother who is going to win over the cancerous beast!”
“A wig for an old woman?” she exclaimed. “When will your generation learn the value of money? Do you know how your grandfather and I used to save money those days? We used to have money boxes for each of our children…”
Thus began Grandma’s narration of her past stories for the millionth time. Lekha knew them all by heart, yet, she listened on every time with the same unfaltering attention.
6th June 2019
Lekha parked her Scooty, looked at her reflection on the rear-view mirror, and smiled. She tilted her head and let her shoulder-length hair slide across her cheeks.
“Cut your hair, dear?” Her mother asked as she sat on the couch looking at the last selfie with her grandmother, taken two years back. The greyish black wig looked as pretty on her as her toothless grin and thumbs-up.
“Yes, Ma, right after Grandma’s second death anniversary as planned,” she replied as she fished out a small card from her bag and handed it over to her mother. Her mother patted her back.
She read the card’s contents. It contained a note of gratitude.
‘Thank you, Lekha, for your donation – a whopping 14 inches of jet-black hair.
It’s going to help make new accessories for beautiful women, who are all warriors in their own ways.’
Many NGOs accept hair donations for cancer patients. Even some beauty salons have tie-ups with those organizations so that people willing to donate their hair could do it easily through such outlets. Usually, a minimum of 6 inches is the requirement for donation.
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