Home > Uncategorized > Touching lives …

Touching lives …

April 16th, 2008

It is not very often that this has happened to me in Bangalore, but that it happened, I wanted to see if I could express what I felt in words …

So it was one of those days when I had just finished some amount of Ph.D. writing and was competely smashed because of lack of sleep and food. I thought I would not be able to take the stress anymore and was beginning to feel worried about how I would manage write further. The difficulty of thinking, then putting those thoughts down in words, making it sound coherent, ensuring that you have referenced enough and checked out all the arguments that have been advanced and how you defend your own thoughts … arraaaarrrrrrggggggggghhhhhhhhhh! Just as much as it is tremendously exciting, so as much it is painful. I want to do it and I also don’t want to do it! But what the heck …

Eventually, JC said “let’s go down” and those words never sounded like “let there be light”. I walked down with a heavy weight on my head, shoulders and feet – each step a drag, the sounds around me making no sense or difference because I am feeling numb. We talked a bit, and I tried to gather some excitement. Eventually, I realized that coffee is what I most needed. So we walked to the nearest Cafe Coffee Day to grab one of their sugary-milky concoctions which pass off for coffee but actually, it is the ambience that you drink and pay for!

So here we were (or there we were!), plonked on the sofa and waiting to place orders. We were browsing through the newspapers, reading funny stories about how students prolong their Ph.D.s in order to stay in the Bangalore univ hostel and enjoy maadi the cheap food and acco. We chatted a bit about the stresses in our lives and then, he came. He was one of the waiters in Coffee Day that day. He was from the North East and was very cheerful. HIs cheerfulness and his warm smile were so unlike the rest of the Coffee Day staff. His smile felt like waiting tables was the most meaningful thing he was doing in his life at that time. He seemed so much in tune with what what was happening then, not perturbed about the future or preoccupied with the past. He took down our orders and went about his business, clearing tables, cleaning them and then occasionally chatting with the staff at the counter.

It was one of the most unusual experiences in recent times when someone else’s warmth rubbed onto me to so positively. I felt so immensely grateful to him for his smile and genuineness. Suddenly something came alive within me and I so desperately wanted to talk to him, to find out who he was, what he did, etc. I never came to do any of that.

We finally had to pay and leave and I felt like putting in a generous tip. He returned the change, but I gestured to him that this was his and he smiled one of his cheerful smiles and kept the tip. At that point, I did felt that the tip was both material and immaterial. I really hope I can see him again at Coffee Day and this time, talk to him, know his name and know who he is …

Coming from Bombay where sitting on sea fronts and walking through railway stations fetched me several friends who were originally strangers in the mass of crowds, Bangalore suddenly felt depthless. M also mentioned how he felt this city was flat. But off late, the hope that I bear in me is that there will be strange encounters and strangers will turn friends, and I will discover myself and my honesty anew each day …

This post, dedicated to him and the warmth that he bore in him, for touching my life in those brief moments of heaviness for which I will be forever grateful …

Uncategorized , , ,

  1. No comments yet.
  1. No trackbacks yet.