Lessons I get paid to learn

As a holistic spa therapist, I get to meet many different people from different walks of life. The socialite, the politician, the royalty, the self-made millionaire and of course the streams of celebrities. Not only do I meet them, but I am entrusted their sacred temples, their tired bodies that comes with hundreds of knots and tensions.

They disrobe, lie spread on the bed and they are all mine. Sounds provocative, but far from it-  its an honorable job really- according to a recent client that I had the good fortune to meet. That day, 31st January was really a day that deserves a place in my heart and soul. Its memory is worthy of a blog post, really.. But then again, there were just so many days in the span of my life as a therapist that’s worth remembering and retelling.

So in comes this very nice-smelling Indian gentleman, one whom I shall just name Mr SG. Really, he smells so good, musky and all peppery with a sandalwood tone. The air in the spa wafted and clung with his aroma. This guy really has a presence- with his thick and long black hair, full grown beard and Gandhi-like glasses rimming his very soulful sympathetic eyes. He asked for a massage, and yours truly attended to him and assisted him with his arrival, consultation, gathering his medical info and selecting the massage for him like any good and caring therapist would. Ahem.. 🙂

Normally, during a treatment I would refrain from chatting- unless I am asked a question. Its best to just be relaxed, immersed in the oils and music, enjoy the treatment ritual, be it a simple 1hour massage or more. But he was very friendly and very interested to know more of my job and how much I enjoy it. He shared with me that he is a very seasoned spa-goer, as his work-based travels brings him to different countries and continents that has spas in idyllic locations.

He shared an episode in a spa  he visited in Goa.. His Thai therapist was complaining about her job there and how she longed to just pack up and leave! When asked why was she there if she hated to be, she answered: she cannot stand serving Indian people because they are all smelly! Oh my! I was so shocked to hear that.. Awkward too. I asked then what was his reply. He answered, “With all my heart, I apologized to her on behalf of all the smelly Indian people that she had to come across, and I felt really really sorry for her!”..  Ok, my jaw dropped then. One would’ve thought that he would’ve clubbed that silly arse Thai therapist, but he was really very sorry for the Thai therapist’s work ordeals and his compassionate nature is truly most exemplary!

As we ended the 90min massage, he asked for recommendation for his next visit. I recommended him a herbal heated treatment that will help to comfort his arthritis and spine issues. He gave me a $20 tip, very rarely do we get tips. As he left, I told myself I will not forget this aromatic-smelling and very kind Indian man!

The end of this day came about as my husband and I were parked outside the supermarket, buying stuffs for my son. I waited in the car with Shaqil, feeding him his milk. I suddenly saw a figure of a heavily-build man lumped and hunched over at the kerb, shivering and and trembling in tremors of pain. It must be a lot of pain, because his face was wincing!
I wanted to go out and reached out to him as fast as I could, but I couldn’t with feeding child in tow and car parked illegally too. As my husband came back to the car, I commanded to him to go to that man and help him in any way. My husband went to him and spent a good 10 minutes talking to him, and after that he helped the stranger into our car. Turned out that this elderly Malay man was scheduled to have a kidney operation the very next morning, and he has several medical conditions apart from his kidney disease such as heart failure and Parkinson’s too. And he is homeless. And hasn’t eaten the whole day too… 😦

I suggested that we drive him to the hospital he was bounded to go to, and to assist him with admittance. Funny thing was, the nurses and administrators in the hospital have to repeatedly asked me if I was related to this man. I hated to say no, because I am really not related to him by blood. The staff there were giving me dirty looks, as if I was abandoning my father/uncle/relative as quick as I can to the nearest hands able to take over. It pissed me off, really. I don’t think they buy our help-a-stranger story!

Anyway, we got hold of his identification details and promised to call him the day after to check on him.
He was very grateful, and we were only too happy and humbled to help.. My dear son was way past his bedtime but its all worth it. Before we said goodbyes though, I remembered that he hasn’t eaten.. I asked my husband for some cash but unfortunately he used up the cash in the supermarket earlier. With Shaqil still firmly planted on my hip, I rummaged through my battered wallet and found $20. Yes, the $20 that I got from Mr SG earlier that day as a tip.

I almost cried! The hairs on my hands stood on its ends. I am not inclined to carry a lot of cash, preferring to just withdraw money whenever I need it. That’s the only $20 I had really! It’d be another fuss to go looking for an ATM. And Mr SG had personally came all the way to the spa, booked and paid for a treatment and handed out this tip to me so that I can help this homeless, ill and hungry elderly man.. I was so humbled and lost in the magical moment..

I am so grateful for this lesson. What have I learn? I learned that I have a new answer to the skeptical hospital staffs who badgered me on my relation to this pitiful man. The answer is: YES, YES, YES. We are all related. We are all interconnected, and we are all responsible and rightful to the connection. Blood connection is merely a poetic way of introduction, but we are all related through unseen webs weaved by higher reason.

Another lesson: I learned that this nice-smelling Indian gentleman deserves a retelling of how his presence affected my whole day, and also for others whom he wouldn’t have a clue about. But I suspect that he has a clue, for a kind man like him deserves a clue and so much more!

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