I woke up a little agitated in the morning for a reason unknown to me and had to reach office by 9.30 am for an important meeting. Got ready in rush and left home in no time. I usually take an auto to the metro station and then another auto to office. Couldn’t understand why that day every auto driver wanted double money and none of their meters were working. Wasted almost 15 minutes waiting & negotiating but then agreed to pay their demanded charges. It was like everyone around wanted to demand a ransom of my need to reach for the meeting on time. “What a wrong place to be” I sighed and pitied myself.
Extraordinary rush in the metro as if they were all brought together just to test my patience. I was feeling the anguish in me & everything inside me was boiling. And there I saw a seat getting vacant where while a lady tried sitting, a man quickly slipped into the seat and pretended that he didn’t notice the lady wanting to sit and got busy with his phone. Damn!!! He seems to be an educated man…selfish & disgusting. I looked around and every single person was busy with their phones – some listening to music, some reading or chatting over WhatsApp and some watching videos. What a lonely world this is! With all the frustration in mind I chose to close my eyes and not witness the selfishness, insensitivity & loneliness of the world.
In a couple of minutes, a giggle broke my attention. I ignored for a while, and there it came again…this time a little louder and longer. It was like a sound of an innocent child giggling at a simple joy. It continued to raise my curiosity to open my eyes and find where it was coming from …who was it? Strangely it was a young man standing next to me watching some video in his mobile. I wondered – he is loud and not realising he is in a crowded metro. First thought “Should I tell him that he is loud? And then another – “ I can’t change how people behave and it just shouldn’t matter to me” and I closed my eyes again to be in a company of the one who seemed to be the only sensible person on the planet (myself). The giggle continued…it was magical. I didn’t realise when did my focus moved to listen to his giggle from all the thoughts that I had. It was like I was meditating. The metro jerked and accidentally he stepped on my foot. In a fraction of a second there came an immediate meaningful apology & then he continued with the video. I realised he was conscious in his mind. Then I looked around and saw a young girl on her own offering her seat to lady with a baby. It was heart-warming and I couldn’t resist smiling at that girl with an appreciation. She smiled back as if appreciating that I noticed her. In some time, someone who had a bad cough, asked if someone was carrying water and another man immediately offered his water bottle to ease him. Some chemicals in my brain were undergoing a change and emotions were melting with warmth. There are nice people around. I saw people busy with what they like to do. It was not selfish. I reached the destination for the final auto to my office and found one at once. I was still running late by 10 minutes but just then got a reschedule message to the meeting for an hour later. What was happening? How was everything changing? How was I able to suddenly see positive in everything around.
I introspected and realised that the change actually started with the sound of the giggle. In fact, not with that sound but my choice to listen and enjoy the innocent giggle of a grown-up man not really concerned about how he was being seen by people. Some people were mocking at his act, while a few chose to ignore. But his choice was clear – allowing himself to enjoy what he liked & at the same time completely conscious about the basic courtesies that he should follow in a social environment. In the rotten mindset I was carrying, even a simple thought of booking a cab didn’t strike as if the doors for any out of the box ideas were just not permitted. But I was later glad it didn’t or I would have missed the experience and the learning.
In the bundle of negative thoughts, the vibrations of the natural, positive sound had melted the nerves and created space for some positivity. I saw people standing on the road side waiting for a public bus to office, there were labours who were working at the site with their kids playing in the mud, beggars begging for food at the traffic light, a man with an amputated limb selling tea to earn his bread. A huge sense of such gratitude flowed in and I felt so blessed. The same views could have simply added to my irritation or maybe I wouldn’t have even noticed them.
The presumed awful day turned out to be an awesome day. In a same given situation, I lived two completely opposite experiences – suffering and been blessed, with a simple change in perception & making a positive choice.