#54

I woke up after a (good) night’s sleep feeling rested but still with the need to curse the annoying heat. Showered, did my laundry, played peek-a-boo with the baby and said “hi” to God. Strummed my sitar, marveling at my teacher’s wonderful sitar fixing skills and cursing at my fingers. Seriously, how hard can it be to get a few strokes right? Then i had a craving for macdo’s hotcakes. So out I went.

I found a seat outside. Inside was so packed it was scary anyway. I plugged my ears and was soon engrossed in my re-read of Scott Peck’s “The road less traveled”. Occasionally I would look up, take a bite of my pancakes, take a sip of milo or sigh happily at the breeze which was picking up momentum. Dark clouds looming ahead was a sure sign that we wouldn’t have to wait long for some wonderful rain. And this is what I saw.

An aunty, I would guess she was in her late fifties. hard to say though. She was limping, her clothes were dirty and torn, going from table to table selling three packets of paper napkins for $1. The pleading voice was trying to explain that she needs the money to buy food later. And yes, before she went out of my sight, she had made $2.

A tough-looking, tatoo-covered young adult with a name tag and a bunch of angry birds and smurf key chains. Going from table to table too. And explaining (or trying to) very patiently that he was an ex-con. He would get a commission based on how many keychains he sells by the end of the day. and would you be kind enough to buy one? Before he left he had sold one, received a pat on the shoulder from a kind soul wishing him good luck, asked to go away since he was disturbing a nice friendly gathering, shouted at before said ‘shouter’ picked up his toddler and protectively covered her eyes. Tough-looking guy walked away, shoulders slumped.

An old man going through the bin and picking out cans. His hands were trembling so much one of the cans he was trying to put in his plastic bag fell down twice, he had to slowly bend down and pick it up again. I must have been staring, because the lady sitting next to me told me he most probably would be selling those later. Just like the old lady under my block who collects used cartons being thrown away.

I closed my book, gulped down my milo, stuffed the last piece of my pancakes, ran for the bus before getting down a few bus stops before home so i could walk in the rain. It did not help.

It’s hard to keep faith in the old mantra that nothing is wrong in the universe. things are happening just the way they are supposed to. don’t worry, things will work out. do your part, you cannot save the whole world anyway. it’s their karma. bla bla bla.

It’s painful to see what people go through on a daily basis (in a war-free, super safe country by the way). It’s painful to hear pitiful life stories on a daily basis, everyday starting with the hope that you would remotely make a small difference in the life of at least one such needy person. Or maybe just offer him/her comforting words? And it’s heartbreaking to see how helpless you end up feeling most of the time.

But what’s even more heartbreaking is seeing your Self. Striving to be thankful, but still not appreciating so, so many blessings in life.

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