A rat, some tea and a butterfly

It’s an odd year. Never before has anyone felt an urge to appreciate the mundane and the normal. Every single family trip to a crowded temple or a beach, all the train journeys with passengers cramming up compartments- they seem more welcome now than ever. More days are now being spent looking at the mobile, hoping for it to ring more often. The time spent talking to family has increased. Cooking from scratch has been an absolute delight!

It’s also now, I find myself reminiscing the past. I look back at my life and suddenly realise- I have left no imprint at all! However did I reach the present!? Sure, I’ve spent all these years living, breathing. But I suddenly find myself without purpose…

It was at this moment, I remembered my days in Calcutta. There was this man near the museum in Esplanade, who sold small rat toys. These toys had a small spring and once you press them to the ground, they jump up. I was, for some unfathomable reason, obsessed with these toys as a child. I would get one, every time I was in Esplanade. As I grew older, I started wondering about how he was able to afford a life selling those toys? That’s when I realised, that I was no longer a child. I still bought the toy. But somehow, the purpose seemed different.

This was also the moment, I remembered my spontaneous solo trip to Munnar and Thekkady in Kerala. The trip was an excuse to “go off-track”. I spent a few days of absolute bliss by myself in Kerala, watching Kalari shows, talking to strangers and just experiencing being with myself! I met a tea-stall owner who was from my place and spoke my language during my travels. As I was enjoying the drizzle of rain and beautiful tea plantations around me, he remarked, “We live with nature here. We don’t disturb nature to suit our needs. There is no plastic or pollution here. But over at your place, you have all converted agricultural lands into multi storey buildings. What are you leaving behind for your children”!? I was moved by his passion towards nature and his anguish. I realised, I was an “OK person” to be with, I liked experiencing new things, meeting new people. But most of all, I thrived when I am introduced to new perspectives and ideas. I began respecting myself as a friend…

And finally, I remembered my trip to Dhanushkoti with my family. The sea. The never ending, mighty sea. As far as my eyes went, there was only water. There were many shoes that were washed to the shore. I imagined- may be this was the final resting place for all lost shoes, stolen by the sea from everywhere! As I stood there, admiring the abundance of sky and sea, my Amma (mother) pointed towards a butterfly, fluttering towards the sea and said, “Oh poor little creature! Where will it rest”?! I realised how petty my thoughts were! In limiting myself to watching the sea and sky, I had restricted myself to just the apparent. I learnt the beauty of being a human from my Amma, feel the things we feel, think what we think…

We often lose ourselves to the apparent and close ourselves to new ideas and perspectives. We give into compulsive thoughts which gives us no scope to grow and learn. But we also have what we need to get away from our self-made prison and fly free towards endless possibilities. All we need, is to pause and listen to ourselves…

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