The Worry Box – Esther David

During these difficult days, we all need something to comfort us.

I found my comfort in a worry-box.

But, the other day, I forgot to close the lid of my worry box and the house was flooded with worries. To add to it, I lost its lid. And, I started looking for the lid, so as not to blow my own lid. In the process, the whole house was in a mess, as I looked for it. It added, one more worry to my deluge of worries, as I knew, it would take hours to get back some semblance of sanity in my house and head. Even after tables, drawers, cupboards, shelves and every possible space had been turned upside down; the lid could not be traced. I even looked for it, under pillows and mattresses, wondering if it had sneaked into the quilting.

It hadn’t.

Exhausted, I sat down on the floor and leaned against a chair and jumped as I felt, something touch my hand, it was the lid of my worry box. Strangely looking alive, as it tried to tell me that it was there, sitting very close to me and telling me, that I need not worry about anything. Actually, it was comforting me.

Quickly, I picked up the lid, as though it was the most precious object of my life. I rushed to my worry box, closed it and felt an ethereal calm descend upon me. It felt so good, that, I put away all the things I had pulled out, while looking for it.

Only when the lid was firmly placed on the worry box, did it bring some order in my life.

A worry box is one of the most delicate objects on earth.

If, by chance, you misplace the lid, you must also be careful that the bottom of the box does not give way, because, then, your worries will find a thousand and one ways of returning back to you.

Sometimes, seemingly small inconspicuous objects like these; have the capacity of changing our lives.

Few years back, a friend who had gone Mexico for a conference had brought it for me, saying it was the perfect gift for a worry-bird like me.

The worry box is a beautifully crafted artifact from Mexico, where worry is crafted as a work of art.

It came packed in a tiny cloth bag, as the box within was no bigger than a walnut. It was made with strips of bark, decorated with red brush strokes. It was so small, that I could sleep with it, tucked under my pillow.

Seven dolls lie cradled inside the worry box, in accordance to the laws of numerology. The stick-figure-dolls are made of wood, have two black dots for eyes and another dot for the mouth, while the hair is braided in U-turns, like Mayan women.

The dolls are dressed in shirts and sarongs, in greens, pinks, purples, blue and reds, held at the waist with a bright sash, which contrasts with the colour of the dress. They could look alike, yet each doll has her own identity and a body language, which is not immediately evident, but, if you look closely, you will notice that the dolls change shape according to the nature of worry.

Telling the doll about your worries, is an art in itself. When worries start buzzing like bees in your head, open the lid of your worry box, pick up one doll, hold its ear to your mouth and whisper your worry into the dolls ear. People, like me who habitually speak to their dolls, will tell you that, when you open the box, without thinking, you immediately pick up a doll, which is supposed to listen to you. Sometimes, it even raises its arm and reaches out to you, maybe even comforts you by caressing your cheek. It is believed that once you start speaking to your dolls, automatically your worries are transmitted to them and you can sleep in peace.

Just one word of caution, the worry box is not known to be effective during the day. It is an unspoken rule, that worries must be whispered to the dolls, only at night, that too, just before you go to bed. The other rule, is that you must be alone with your worry box. You are then, supposed to open the worry box, tenderly pick up a doll, hold her in the cup of your palm, wake her up, wipe her clean, arrange her dress, whisper your worries to her, put her back in the box, tuck her in, close the lid and place the box, under your pillow, so that your worries stay within the box, and you can sleep uninterrupted…..(This is a highly artistic device, more effective than any other treatment used by worry-birds.No social distancing necessary…)

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