I’m a loquacious person by nature. My mouth rarely takes a holiday. But I often fall into the arms of silence when I travel or commute.
Silent, because I’m quieted by that which meets my eyes.
The smile on the face of the child that fell asleep in its mother’s arms.
The couple walking hand in hand in the cold winter night.
The two friends laughing over coffee in the café.
The family of five on a single bike.
The young kid crying for the biggest balloon.
The smell of freshly fried samosas.
Children playing hopscotch in one lane and galli cricket in the other.
The man on the cycle selling cotton candy and kulfi.
Cows and buffaloes crossing the road slowly, very slowly.
Hymns from the temples.
People eating Golgappas.
The crowd that had formed outside the T.V store to watch the cricket match for free.
Rangoli outside houses.
Men pissing on the street. (In my country,kissing on the road is punishable but pissing on the road is allowed!)
Street side salons.
And then, as I stop at the red light, the march of the destitute begin.
The old lady bent double with age.
The man with the crutches.
The little boy with charred hands.
The little girl, selling flowers cheaper than ever.
The old man who says he hadn’t eaten anything since three days.
The light goes green and I move on.
The world changes.
The dark truth meets the eyes. The smile slowly fades.
People sleeping on the pavements, in the cold night. They sleep there season after season, never properly covered.
I wonder how many of them had slept without food.
The drunkard walking home. What problems might he have?
The children making street corners their beds. Would they ever know the comfort of a bed?
The woman scouting the garbage bin for something that she could use. What would she give her children in breakfast?
The old man parking his vegetable wagon at the corner of the road. Did he earn enough to feed his family?
The little huts, which had plastic sheets for roofing. What do those people do during cold nights?
The leper still begging on the street. Did his family abandon him because of the disease?
The young boy, was he a runaway?
The single tear that ran out was not of sympathy or of pain. It was in gratitude.
Gratitude for everything I have been blessed with.
Isn’t it a blessing? Properly functioning body parts, a presentable face, no fatal disease, three times food, a house to live in and clothes to wear.
If this doesn’t make you feel blessed, and you do not feel a responsibility for the less blessed ones, then, somewhere in you humanity has died.