I stand on the crowded metro platform impatiently waiting for my metro train after a day’s hectic work. It would take an hour and half to reach my home and so I make sure I’m well equipped for the journey: Sidney Sheldon’s ‘Rage of Angels’ and my earphones. The train arrives and I manage to find a seat in the crowded compartment. I’m about to settle down with my novel, when I notice a small child with her grandmother peering out of the window excited about her journey.
The little girl animatedly exclaims about the moving trees, the moon and the trees (which she sees following her all the time), the vendors, and the tracks which seem to converge and separate. She is fascinated by the train, its speed and the people in it. Captivated by her innocence, I try to befriend her.
Rafeena is shy at first but gradually opens up to me with a sheepish grin. We are on our quest to satisfy her inquisitive mind when our entire compartment is aroused by the tantalising aroma of hot onion samosas.
After some pestering of her granny, she holds three samosas in her tiny hands. She offers me one, even while nibbling on them with glee. Her snack time ends with a gulp of water. Contended, she informs her granny that she is full with a symbolic pat on her tummy. She then gets comfortable on my lap and starts describing her dress, how she copes with her homework daily, and who her best friends are. Her adorable antics, with frequent adjustments of her pony tail, continue for the rest of our journey. As she gets ready to get down at her destination, I get a tender, loving hug and an assurance that we will be meeting again.
As I walk home, I ponder over my last one hour with a broad smile on my lips.
I cannot help but wonder if in the process of growing up, somewhere we lose our innocence and once we do, it is gone forever. The constant complaining has diminished our ability to find joy in the smallest of things.
I tried to recollect the last time I relished my meal and thanked my mom for it, the last time I smiled at a shopkeeper, or the last time I looked up at the night sky counting the stars! In our routine day-to-day lives we have forgotten to appreciate people and to treasure our little moments with them. To my surprise, I look up to find the moon following me and I am curious to know why. I make a mental note to Google and find the answers.
I enter my apartment complex, and stop in my tracks to make sure I smile at our watchman. I share my day’s experience with my parents on phone. I sit down for dinner, silently resolving to cherish every single day.
Thank you Rafeena.
[By Vandana, Department of Communicative English with Media studies, Patna Women’s College]