The paragon of light,
Stood there smiling bright,
There was an unusual twinkle in her eyes,
Making you question,
‘Whether she was high? ‘
She had the laughter which lingered in the air,
A little too longer to not care.
In darkness too, she would shine.
Making you wonder,
‘ Whether she was high? ‘
Many went and questioned her the same,
She laughed it off, but couldn’t help feeling a little disdained.
Those poor souls didn’t have it in them,
The euphoric feeling of life without being high.
She sadly sighed with a frown,
Which no sooner got replaced by a huge happiness crown.
My dad once said, “Life always gives you something, but only if you are receptive enough to take it”
And few days ago, in my third slum visit, I was for once receptive enough to take something from probably nothing.
It was the fourth crammed house in the row; I knocked the door with a smile. The dangling door opened with a creak showcasing a withered woman probably in her 40’s. She was wearing an old ragged sari and a brilliant smile. Her welcoming nature and her twinkling eyes suddenly made me feel at ease. With a lot comfort, I asked her questions, some were borderline uncomfortable as we were surveying their cost of living. She kept on answering them animatedly.
The situation to me looked very grim, with their monthly income just being Rs.10-15k in a family of six. It was even worsened with the loan that they had to repay. I was waiting for her to crib just like other households before, but nothing came. Her answers were surprisingly very genuine and crisp.
When I asked her about the expenditure on food, she laughed and said, “It just happens, who counts.” I requested for an estimate, and she confidently said, “Just how much a middle class household spends.”
I looked up at her in an instant, the look on her face confirmed that she thought herself to be in the middleclass category. My curiosity took hold of me, so I asked, “What about the poor households?”
“They live right across the street on the pavements, they don’t even have shelter can you imagine?”
“Hmm” I replied, guiltily peeping inside her house. There were few kids lying around, with hardly any furniture or appliances on display. There wasn’t even a gas stove, rather a kerosene chullah, responsible for painting the walls pitch black.
Inwardly I smiled; this woman was surely an inspiration to me. She was the real life example of somebody who looks at the better side of life rather than cribbing about the harsh reality. The outlook might not do anything to improve their situation but it would at least make life much more tolerable.
I couldn’t help but feel overly grateful. That day when I stepped in my home, I felt like I stepped into a palace.
You can see that one way, shining brightly while everything else is dipped in darkness. Your body takes you there and you go with it. You are strolling by your own self admiring the beauty of the lights; you believe that there is something here, something deep. Something that can get you to the answers that you need, something that can solve your mysteries. You keep strolling ahead, looking in all directions. You are mesmerized by the beauty, you cannot decipher what it actually is but you are finding yourself being so deeply attracted to it. You wait for a while, just to take all of it in and then it all starts getting dark, and that’s when your conscience pokes you out of nowhere and asks you the questions you fear the most, It questions your motives, your rationale and your sanity.
You float inside your own self in search of some answers but no, you find nothing, you are just lost. You are losing the battle with your conscience. It’s laughing on you, loud and clear. You can hear it but you cannot bear it. You hold on both of your ears tight just to avoid the cacophony, but you are failing miserably. You get on your knees shouting out to yourself begging for answers, you need to know what made you come here, what is this place and how will go back. You keep shouting louder and louder but the laughter still lingers inside your ear drums. You are trying your best to get a laconic reply; your mind is fully occupied thinking various possibilities in amid of the song possibilities. You shout at your thoughts for recalling the song lyrics at this point of time, but they are involuntary.
You try to calm your senses, you breathe in and out. Calming sensation eases you a bit; you loosen your hold from your ears. The laughter is still there but the intensity is quite low, you can bear it. You smile at this thought faintly and get up, you look around. It is dark; the lights are so dim now! Your perspicacity pushes you forward just to knows what’s this place and beyond. You keep walking; all your senses are highly enlightened, highly circumspect. You are panting, blood is rushing through your veins, and you can feel its warmth. You close your eyes and try to soothe yourself, making yourself believe that you won’t let anything wrong happen to you and you move ahead. Your legs are moving in a sync, you can hear the click clack of your shoes forming a musical rhythm. Your mind is processing so many things at a time, so many questions are erupting. Your conscience is making you realize your mistake, you are understanding it but not regretting it because you know, that you will find a way out. Everything has a way out; there is no full stop to life until and unless you put it there. You fuel up the faith that you have in yourself and then, you feel a sense of pleasure.
You raise your head and hold it up high and you start walking fast, you start looking around in all directions. Your adrenaline is rushing, you can feel it. You can even see yourself coming out of this mess successfully, you keep moving ahead even if your body is giving up and then, really far-off of somewhere you see a light twinkling. You can feel your lips twitching upwards at that moment, all your energy is restored. You know that you can achieve this milestone. You can and you will, you keep walking. You have your eyes glued there, it is getting closer, and you can see it getting bigger and bigger after your each step.
No sooner, you are there, you can see your world. You can see where you belong right in front of your eyes and that’s when you know that EVERYTHING WAS WORTH IT.