Applying the colour to the client’s hair, I stepped back to check if it was applied evenly. It looked fine. I smiled at the client. “Done. Now we wait for half hour. Do you want some tea while you wait?”
“No. Just get me water,” she replied.
I left to get it. It was a lean afternoon. Not many people had come to the salon today. Weekdays had been slow the past few days. I was happy. Though my work depended on how many clients I serviced, slow afternoons gave me time to pray. I had recently discovered prayer and found that it bought me immense peace. Back at home, I had neither the time nor silence to do it. Here no one seemed to mind. We all knew each other. Though, they initially teased me, lately they left me alone.
Walking back to the client, with the water, I blessed the water. In the past few days, something had changed inside me. Above all else I wanted to see. I wanted a vision of the truth. Nothing had worked for me in my life. After a couple of really bad experiences with fake spiritual gurus, I had lost faith even in God. Till I met my friend, Swati, a couple of months ago. Swati who had changed beyond belief. She had advised me to chant or pray. Experiencing the presence of God can only bless, she reminded me. Swati, who had been abandoned by her father during her childhood. She and her single mom had struggled to make ends meet. As two women, they had literally fought to save themselves on occasion. How much she had changed! If Swati could find peace, maybe I could too.
Yesterday, when I had been feeling low, Swati had asked me if I really wanted to experience peace and how much did I really want it? I had told her above all else I want the truth. I had been reminding myself that again and again since morning. I sunk to the chair in the backroom and closed my eyes. Being with God could only bless.
A nudge from my colleague made me open my eyes. “The client is waiting,” she hissed. Had half hour passed by so quickly? I rushed to my client expecting her to be angry and fuming.
“I am so sorry. I was praying and lost track of time.”
“Praying? Here?” she sounded surprised.
“Ya, any place is as good as this one. Actually, at home we are 6 of us living in a tiny 1-bedroom home. I don’t have the space. So, I use break times here to pray. Just recently started it. Makes me feel good. Helps me feel a peace that is not of this world. It helps me remember I want God above all.” Noticing her expression, I paused. “I am sorry. I have been speaking much. Come its time for your hair-wash.” The client didn’t say much after that. Afraid I had angered her, I stayed silent. But she didn’t seem angry.
As she left, she handed me a huge tip. “That is a lot, Ma’am. I don’t need that much,” I mumbled.
“You reminded me of what is really important. You reminded me how easy it is to make excuses and but how much easier it is to choose God,” she said walking away. “Thank you,” she said with a smile, just before heading out the door.