‘Packing, tax-planning, new school, changing houses, financial crunch, bad choices – it is getting overwhelming.’ These were the thoughts running through my head when I decided to go down for a breath of fresh air. ‘That’s it! I can’t handle all this. I just can not. Its just not me.’
The train of thoughts totally drowned all other sounds – the tinkling of the tiny bells in Dobby and Kiara’s collar while they tried to keep up with my fast paced, nearly sprint of a walk, the music blaring in my ears-everything. The train just chugged along, running everything over. This isn’t me.
Just then electricity went off. Nothing unusual about that- Power cuts have become an integral part of our mundane, worried existence. But in the dark, through the dark shadows of the high rise buildings I saw what I hadn’t in many years. The color of the night sky. A deep dark blue. Not black. Not grey. Just blue, with stars twinkling faintly here and there. And for those brief moments, I stood there, mesmerized. Last time I stood and watched the stars, I was nine years old and was listening to my dad tell stories about the constellations. With a loud whir, the generator turned on and the giant dark monsters turned into tiny windows of light.
With a sigh, I walked on. The noise was back. There in front of me was this exceptionally sweet, wide-eyed child with a smile worth those faintly twinkling stars, and holding his hand was his father, blind. I almost choked at the thought of the father not being able to see that smile ever. That’s not me. I can see those smiles, that keep flashing at me but am too busy to notice. The clickety clack of his walking stick faded away but it was still clicking in my head.
A little further on, I heard these noises. I stopped and strained my ear. A few floors above me, a woman was crying while a man, presumably her husband was shouting at the top of his lungs telling her how she had failed at just about everything. That’s not me. I don’t get shouted but rarely do we have time to even disagree at stuff.
Further on I saw this man. Cell phone glued to the ear, precariously balanced by the shoulder which was already carrying a heavy laptop bag. The other hand, cradling a pile of paper. But that didn’t move me. That’s something all of us see everyday. There was this little boy running by his side trying to keep up with him, continuously glancing at the man’s face waiting for that call to get over which never did. One after the other and another – That’s not me. I am not forever on the phone but the train of thought usually prevents me from having inane conversations with the kids.
The train of thoughts had slowed down almost as if it had reached where it had to. Dobby scratched at my feet. He gave me the ‘the pick me up’ look. I scooped him up and stepped inside the elevator to go home. I felt lighter. The breath of fresh air just got fresher. Unconditional love of my family, friends and dogs. This is me. It had been there in front of me all the time. But I was too busy to notice. All I had to do was open my arms. And I did. Two little bundles and a set of tails bumped right in and flattened me to the floor. The ceiling looked lovely from there. The view getting blocked by two giggling toddlers and two mad puppies.
Everything is still as overwhelming as it was, but the disquiet is gone. It is amazing what all we discover when we turn around to look at all that we have. We go on living our lives looking ahead at that distant dream or rather illusion of a life which seems enticingly perfect. Strangely, what ought to be valued is right behind us, quietly tagging along waiting to be embraced. That brief moment of darkness made me stop, turn around and embrace my life, complete with its imperfect love and warmth.
Just stop for a while today and turn around. Look at your family, your kids, your parents, your spouse and smile. Scratch that layer of imperfection you grimace at every day and look beyond it. You shall find the beautiful person who completes you. So what, if you had a shouting match with your kid in the morning. So what, if your husband wondered aloud what you did the whole day. Smile and thank God for the imperfect life he gave us which we can appreciate each day, which completes us and encircles us – for there are those who are engulfed in a lonely, deafening silence forever.