I walked in and amongst the chaos of a ‘wedding house’, there she was sat, calm, centred and snuggled up in a zebra print blanket on a sofa to her self. She was a timid-looking old lady with hints of her past beauty still shining through, especially in her eyes. But in her eyes I could also see pain of difficult times, long gone but still with her.
I observed as her children and her children’s children doted on her, calling her their ‘Queen’, telling her she was beautiful, she was their world and that they loved her.
As I took her withered hands in my own, I felt a warmth and passion for her family which struck me right in the centre of my chest. She stroked the top of my head and in her strong punjabi dialect told me that I was one of her own too, minutes after knowing me. I felt at home in house full of strangers.
I proceeded to apply a very traditional henna design in the centre of her palms and she watched with such joy, proclaiming again and again that her eldest grandson was getting married and how she couldn’t be happier.
Before I left, I knelt down to greet her and she kissed me on both cheeks. In her punjabi tongue once again, she said smiling but with sincerity “I want you to come back and do mehndi for us all when every one of my grandchildren gets married.” “God willing I will,” I replied. “It would be my absolute pleasure.” I left with the memory of that little old lady ingrained in my heart, hoping that I would see her again.