Often it is said that truth is stranger than fiction. Exploring reality opens our eyes to beautiful truths that weave the fabric of our existence.
Early November, a visit to a neighborhood salon impressed one such lovely thought in my mind.
Everyone needed a neater look!
It seemed as though the whole town wanted to groom themselves for the holiday season. The beauty salon was buzzing with customers. That included the three of us in my family as we urgently needed our haircuts.
As I waited, I minutely observed all what was going around me in that small space. What surfaced before me was obvious.
We the people who had gathered there are different colors of the same human race. Together we build a pretty mosaic with a multitude of shades and hues. I recorded in my mind all what I was seeing and hearing, and my heart was truly gladdened!
Friendships know no colors
An aged white woman, perhaps in her seventies, sat down for a haircut. She was being attended upon by the store’s only male employee, a middle aged black man. The lady was talking to him about her plans for the upcoming holiday season. He took a keen interest and also shared what he was planning to buy for his wife and children. From their conversation, it was apparent that she was not a new customer because they knew a lot about each other.
I was reminded of the film Driving Miss Daisy. An old Jewish lady and her African-American chauffeur elevate their relationship into a warm camaraderie after initially starting off on the wrong foot. What was heartwarming about that film was the realization that humane feelings transcend racial prejudices and social interventions.
Moms everywhere are the eternal worriers
The hairdresser who usually cuts my hair is from Iran. Every time I am there, we exchange notes about our children.
That day, she asked me if my son was allowed by his company to work from home. I replied in the affirmative. With a sigh, she expressed her concern for her daughter who is a dental hygienist and has to go to work everyday. She said that throughout the pandemic phase and the flu season, she would be worried that her daughter would catch an infection from patients and fall sick.
As a mother, I could totally relate to her. What struck me was that no matter which nationality they are, moms are the same everywhere. They will always be worried for their kids!
A child scared of a haircut is so common!
A young couple came with their daughter for a haircut. I could not figure out their ethnicity because they talked amongst themselves in a language that was totally foreign to me.
The entire time in those 20 odd minutes, the little girl was crying her lungs out. The toddler was afraid to have her curls snipped off.
Immediately, I went back to that day when my child was a two-year-old. He had thrown the same tantrums in front of that same salon, and we just could not get him in.
To celebrate joy with our loved ones is so universal!
A lady certainly of East Asian descent was sitting next to me as we both waited to be called. She was on the phone, excitedly discussing a surprise birthday party she and her friends were arranging for someone in their circle. This sounded so familiar because I too have been on a similar boat several times.
We are human beings of one world!
It wasn’t something new that I learned, but my time at the salon made me think again about the existence of one world. The people present were from different cultures, yet there was some commonality that I could find to associate myself with.
A reality we cannot ignore is that the world has the same stories, narrated by different story tellers at different times. They sing the same song in different tunes. We are the same human beings of a planet, and if we all choose to think this way, happiness and harmony will never cease to exist in our lives.
We take pride in our language, literature, and culture, and being connected to our roots is what essentially gives us our identity. But while loving what belongs to us, let us not denigrate the cherished values of others.
I stumbled across a quote by Anglo-Algerian author Mouloud Benzadi which meticulously summarizes a truth we all need to acknowledge:
“One World is not abolishing frontiers, which would lead to a surge in migration, create tension and destabilise life on our planet. One World is rather abolishing the concept of borders in people’s minds and replacing devotion to individual nations with belief in one united world, home to one race: the human race.”
As we look forward to welcoming 2023, let us all strive to dispel the darkness and hatred around us by spreading love, facilitating the acceptance of diversity, and endorsing the oneness of humanity for a peaceful, stable world.
Here’s to wishing everyone a very happy New Year!
(This post was featured in Women’s Web )