TALES FROM THE TRAIN
A wise man once said. "Take vacations. You can always make money, but you cannot always make memories". :)
On the second day of this New year, I smile as I read that quote on my cellphone wallpaper. I remind myself of the countless train journeys that I have taken and remember this one story in particular. Okay, let me not rush. Let's slow down and give out a warning. Read with caution. It's because I am writing a post after more than a year and my skills have deteriorated considerably. (Not that I was a great writer before. :D) All I am saying here is please bear with me if you begin to lose interest at any point for I do not possess any story-telling talent. I am only making a humble effort to apply whatever writing skills I have learnt over the years. I just really wanted to tell you this story from last year and how it has influenced my new year resolution.
I boarded my train at New Delhi junction and sat on my seat, C-34 window side of the Shatabdi Express. As I settled down, a young and a very fair looking lady walked up to my seat and took her place beside me. Apparently, she too was going to Jaipur. She was a foreign tourist hailing from England. A child of five-years who sat in the front row, looked up and pointed at her saying, "Look Grandfather, a 'Bhootni'! (*Bhootni in Hindi language is a ghost.) The grandfather looked at me and we exchanged a courteous smile at the child's innocence. The lady asked me to translate what the child had said. I replied, "He thinks you are beautiful." I lied because I did not want to offend her. Also it was a bad reflection on how we bring up our kids, teaching them about the existence of ghosts and that they have 'white-skin'. Anyway, we started talking. Her name was Marion.
We indulged in a pleasant chatter over breakfast and out of curiosity I asked her, "Narrate an incident that changed your perspective about life." She gave me a beautiful answer.
She said- " People in England are not very comfortable in talking to a stranger. We are always very suspicious of them. Not everyone is but most of us are. Me and my husband were too. However when we travelled to Europe in May-June of 2014, we developed a whole new perspective. We took a cycle tour and cycled thousands of miles to reach Europe. That trip changed my life forever. We were strangers in a foreign land. We did not know how to speak their language and they did not either. We communicated through signs. We were pretty surprised at their behaviour. Everywhere we went, the locals received us with a warm heart, giving us food to eat and a place to sleep at night in their homes. We were truly touched and astonished to see them trusting us so easily. Our trip would not have been so memorable without the love and support of those people. It is one of the most cherished trip of ours. Only after visiting Europe and interacting with its people, me and my husband realised that not all strangers have bad intentions. Afterall, life is made possible on this planet only when people help people. It is difficult to imagine a world where each man hesitates to help. All of us are here for a purpose and the biggest one being, helping each other."
Her answer made me think if I could be nice to a stranger. At first, I might hesitate but if I knew the person needed my help, I would readily help the person. Isn't it strange how all of us have become afraid of each other? It is fear that keeps us from being helpful sometimes. Fear of being cheated, fear of some wrong-doing. I know there are some who are trying to bring about a change and I appreciate their generous heart. I just wonder if we are too late to save us. We may be separated by regions and cultures but the truth is, we are a giant family. We are mankind. Why is it so difficult to help and support each other then? We have brought this upon ourselves. We have become so fearful that we hesitate to lend out a helping hand to a stranger. Haven't we often been taught in our childhood, 'stranger is danger'? Why? Because there are people who have put humanity to shame by committing certain unspeakable acts. They are the weeds and we need to pull their roots out. I think introspection and determination can help us do that.
Charity begins at home. So in this new year let us vow to introspect even the smallest of wrong acts that we commit. Every new year we shout let us bring change. I think it's about time we decide to act upon it. I believe the greatest strength of human beings is the power to take decisions. So decide for yourself. Decide for the better future of your kids. Weren't we all strangers when this community, S-A-W started? And look how we have grown together as a family! I call myself very lucky to happen to be among great and positive people like all of you. Believe me people, your optimism is an infection. It's time that we spread that infection around and make both hearts and minds around us healthy. I am not saying to not take care of yourself while we are at it. Please do and please be safe.
I hope we all can learn something from Marion's story and work towards being a better and a bigger person ourselves.
The great Dalai Lama has said, "If you cannot help them, at least don't hurt them."
This year, be nice, be kind. :)
I have observed that we learn a lot while travelling. I am sure you have your stories too and I would love to listen to your experiences as well. I cannot offer you coffee from here but we can still have a nice discussion. Bring it on! Cheers!
P.S. And if somebody stops you from following your vow, be patient with them. If they do not listen then hug them in the face with a fist. That's comic hero style. Defeating a badass by being a good badass! :P
Just kidding, don't kill me for my lack of humour and writing skills. Haha. :D
Stay blessed and do take care. Love you. <3