Friday, 17 October 2014


They could be the muddy brown reminders of the splash of rain water on your crisp white cotton shirt. They could be the sticky yellow remnants of the last night’s supper of sizzling chana dal. They could be the wet, greasy greens on the knees of your jeans, with a small sprinkling of the grass from your neighbourhood lawns where you were playing. They could be the creamy, sugary spots of icing from your birthday cake, a nasty spill of tomato ketchup on your brand new kurti, a colourful evidence of a raucous food fight with your buddies in the college canteen, or a glaring blue-black patch of ink on your school uniform from a faulty, cheap pen. They could be a gateway to memories.
Stains. No. I am not the only lunatic romanticizing the disturbing spots of imperfection on your presentable, meticulously laundered clothes. Surf Excel does that too. Remember the cheesy “Daag Acche Hain” campaign. None of us can deny the simplicity of the smiles which appeared on our faces post watching those ads.

That is what stains do. They interrupt. And in a life marked by the constant pace of ‘progress’ and ‘advancement’, stains remind us that not everything can be picture perfect. No matter how mechanized our lives become, or how far we move towards attaining invincibility in all spheres, a humble stain shows us our true place, our inherent nature to err, to make mistakes; it thrusts in our face, our very own imperfect human-ness.

It is an excellent metaphor that depicts that not everything is in our hands. And that it is okay to make mistakes, as long as we learn from them. If we leave a stain unattended for too long, it seeps inside the skin of the fabric and refuses to leave. Similarly, if we refuse to acknowledge our mistakes and assume responsibility for our actions, this negative trait encroaches upon a space in our being, corrupting us, making us arrogant and vain.

Stains serve to portray that life is not good at all times and the road to success is dotted with speed breakers and potholes and puddles of rotten luck. They teach us that if we navigate through these storms without losing our patience and perseverance, then life will reward us with cherished prizes and memorable experiences.

Stains can be removed, as non-stop TV commercials for miraculous detergents will never let you forget!
Next time you stain your clothes, watch your reaction. Observe quietly how your forehead furrows with lines of worry, how your lips mould themselves in an expression of disgust, how your eyes narrow down and how you frown, complaining that life is unfair and what a klutz you are or somebody else (who inflicted the devious stain on your precious attire) is!

Then, remember that stains can be washed. Recall that stains are good. Recall that mistakes can be corrected. Recall that forgiveness can be sought. Recall that you are nowhere near perfect. Recall that you are human. Recall and smile.