I met a septuagenarian man yesterday during an engagement for setting up the venue for a language course that was going to commence in a few days. He was very knowledgeable, talkative and impressive. I conversed with him for almost an hour and to my surprise wanted to never get over with the conversation we were having but had to because I was running late.
During our conversation he had expressed that he loved observing people around him. He wood take the metro to travel around the city and during the course would observe the people. So he said that a couple of days back when he was commuting in the subway he noticed that everyone present in the coach had one thing in common – none of them had a smile on their face. This, I was very well able to relate to because of the similar encounters I would have when I would look around at the faces of the people while commuting through public transport.People would be listening to songs on their headphones, reading newspapers,texting or playing on their smartphones or would doze off on their seat as well as while standing! But it was very difficult to spot a smile, a very sorry scene for a city called – ‘City of Joy.’ But he said that there was this one girl who was out of this world. She was listening attentive when her friends were speaking, conceptualising what they were saying and when she was speaking it was as if her whole body was expressing. She had an overwhelming smile on her face, radiating with a self inducted sustaining exuberance. Her expression changed rapidly,adapting to the situation and it was a bliss to see a pearl amongst the hardened stones.
When I left the two storey bungalow of the septuagenarian I was somewhat congregated in emotions of joy,wisdom and bliss. I realised I needed to take a bus at the earliest to reach my destination as I was already running half an hour late. I had to wait for around 15-20 minutes for the bus to come. But this neither frustrated me nor angered me as I was simply centred in my calm and contented state. I boarded the bus and as you may know it felt surreal to be in the over-crowded over joyous blue Volvo bus! After a few minutes I noticed that I had a smile on my face and this had been there all the while since the moment I had left the bungalow. And I wanted to keep on smiling and to observe, as the man had said he did. I kept on looking all around – a girl with a tattoo on her neck was listening to music on her phone, a couple was trying to stay put by holding what they could in the hyper moving bus,a man with a moustache was just holding on the rod just next to him. The continuous influx and outflow of people was another sight not to miss out on. I was smiling and trying to make an eye contact. But the success rate was very low and when the success came it was futile without any reciprocation of the same gentle gesture. But persistent in my nature I decided not to give up. Then suddenly the bus came to an unexpected halt – a frequent sight to pick up passengers standing and waving on the road. As the case would have been, I expected the man with the moustache in front of me to shout,curse and abuse the driver. But to my surprise he was smiling. It felt like the energy that I was radiating got absorbed and was reciprocated with an exponential zeal and innocence.This was not the usual scene that you would see in this city. The man looked at me in eye and we both smiled, we did not speak but it was as though we both had said what we wanted to. It was not over as he was looking out ahead on the road, waiting for the bus to stop and get a chance to smile again, all this with a bright smile across his face.
This made me realise that how innocence and humility that we had as child could brighten each one of us. The simple thought of smiling like a little child and being innocent was all it took to get me into that role, a role that I played with much perseverance. Words can’t express the joy and bliss I could capture from that moment. The experience in its entirety was the thing that brought benevolence to my nature.