Monday, February 24, 2014

My crooked tooth


It pays to have a crooked tooth. It pays to cast ‘thy bread upon the waters’, as the Bible says.
What has one got to do with the other, one may ask. Before I enlighten the inquisitor, I must explain about the crooked tooth. When I was 10 a mix-up at the dentist’s gave my smile a crooked charm.
Coming to the business of bread casting, after my school final exams, my parents packed me off to an aunt’s place. They put me in a coupe with strict instructions not to open the door to anyone. Just as the train steamed out of the station and I settled down to a nice mushy Mills and Boon, there was a knock on the door.
I toyed with the idea of pulling the chain. But my curiosity got the better of my caution and I opened the door. There was a pretty lady standing and I politely invited her in. After an exchange of pleasantries, she hesitantly asked me to do her a favour. She and her newly acquired husband were travelling in a four-berther down the corridor and as the other two occupants happened to be her parents-in-law, she wanted me to change places.
I looked around the little coupe which was so cozy and private, I looked at the lady, so pretty and married and my heart melted. I traveled in the four berther and left the couple to enjoy the privacy of the coupe...
Years later, my husband and I went to a hill station for a short holiday. As we had decided on an impulse, we had no time to reserve a room in a hotel. When we reached the holiday resort, it was past 10 in the night. We went to three hotels and all of them were booked.
Travel-weary, hungry and disappointed, we went to the last one and begged the manager for a room. He was all sympathy for us but he had no room at all. Just then, a lady walked up to the counter and asked for her room keys. She stared hard at me and I wondered what was wrong. She continued to stare and I smiled, tentatively to ease my embarrassment.
“My coupe girl!” she exclaimed and I was taken aback. “Don’t you remember me? I’m the same person you changed places with on the train. I recognised you when I saw your.' tooth”!
She heard our sad tale and said, "Your trou­bles are over now. We have two rooms our children can share with us and you can have theirs”.
I realised what an asset a crooked tooth can be and how one can find the bread one has cast ‘on the waters’, years later!