Feb 27, 2009
One journey and several thoughts.
There are times when you feel moody for something good you did, unusually, times when you are extremely under elation but cannot smile. Times when you regret things you did that once you were dying to accomplish, instances where tears trickle down your cheeks but leaves you hopeful for the next day. Through the crowds we walk, like small bubbles, floating on the paleness of an ocean. A move by the wind god would suffice for these bubbles to pop. They go off and the ripples move rhythmically to deliver a thousand other bubbles. Some things you do out of utter carelessness bring the biggest changes in your life. People hurry through the narrow corridors of the CST Mumbai bound harbor line train and all of them have lives to live, to be taken care of and to take care; a mother, a child or two (or even more), husband, boyfriend, girlfriend, wife, a father and above all the self. All have their own piece of action towards each other and what is that which compels you forward amidst responsibility?
There were two little girls, not more than ten, in the train. Earning to Live. One selling bunches of red roses, the other with a box full of rings and ear-rings. Black, white and lovely red colors. No Yellow. Were the flowers beautiful or their smiles wonderful? I smiled at the smallest one putting forth beautiful red roses. She had a fountain on her head and my smile brought her near me, pushing aside screaming and yelling ‘machli-walis’ and holding out the bunch of roses. The wind blew inside from the outside barren lands as the train moved and one red petal fell on my lap off the bunch. Several others lay astray. ‘Lelo didi, aap ke liye. Sirf dus Rupaye’ (Just 10 bucks sister, and all for you). She shook the bunch and the droplets of water withered off like happy children let loose. Her smile was so beautiful that I even thought that the roses did no justice to the beauty of the person who held them. ‘Didi…’ She came closer again. Too close that if I moved my elbow, I would touch those roses. Or perhaps be pricked by the thorns.
‘Didi, aap ye loge na, tho bhagvan aapko achche marks denge’ (If you take these, trust me God will give real good marks in exams!). she informed me, wistfully on seeing that her earlier flattering had not led me to buy the flowers.
I looked at her harder. Did that just come from a six year old? I was awed. The lady sitting next to me stared at the kid. Least bothered, the child continued, ’Do din se kuch nahi khayi hun main didi…Lijiye na? (I haven't had anything in two days sister, please take it for me?)’ and shook off the droplets harder and some petals fell off again. At that point, I put my hands in my bag, pulled out the chocolate bar I was carrying, ten rupee Dairy Milk and gave it to her. She looked confused for one moment. Her eyes smiled at me and her little fingers touched the edge of the packet. For a moment or two, she stood like that, like she was examining it. And at the next without any hesitation took from my hand and said ‘Thank you’.
Pushing back her little body and life, she moved into the crowd and disappeared, just like that. With her flowers and smile. It just did not leave me wondering alone, it left me surprised at the strength of her mind, her upbringing. Not that mine was bad but a girl, perhaps a fourteen years younger to me wades through the merciless world, her notions intact, her aims in power and nothing falters her. If I didn’t buy those flowers, somebody will. Somebody will have mercy on her, somebody will need a bunch of flowers to offer to a loved one, somebody will need it for a loved one at the grave, and somebody might need it to adorn the house where they stay; for somebody else, those bunches might bring a lot of happiness. Like the chocolate.
This incident did not leave me smiling. I don’t know why. I wish I smile on it even now, but damn, things don’t happen the way you want them to happen.