What you see when you care to really SEE.

Sandhya Nagaraj
Published on: 4th Anniversary (20 Nov '15)
As I was traveling in the bus this morning, I decided to be more present in the present, and since it was just the morning, it was a fairly easy thing to do. The bus stopped at every stop, I looked out at everything that was going on in the everyday life of the city that I have lived for almost all of my life: Bengaluru. People hopped in, people hopped out, some people inconsiderately took the conductor’s seat in the Volvo when they found it empty, and some others were already on phone chattering, discussing their life story early in the morning with a well meaning friend or someone suchlike, oblivious that their fellow passengers would be privy to information they probably shouldn’t reveal to public.

And I continued watching.

The bus stopped at a signal, and there was a shop that sold chicken to my left. A boy of about 12-14 years old was stacking the empty trays in which chicken were previously kept one over the other. He did it with no distraction, without caring about the moving traffic (or the one that had stopped for the signal), totally involved with just the stacking, making sure they were arranged in an organized way. He was involved in it. Completely. Then we got a green, and the bus moved. And suddenly, the bus driver started to honk continuously, and I was curious to see why. I looked ahead to see a school bus blocking the left lane (in which our bus was moving), and a child was boarding the bus at the point. (Which I’m pretty sure would have been visible to our smart driver as well, but well). I then looked into the bus to see kids, all no more than 7-8 years of age in it, with an adult who was holding a kid that had fallen asleep. The driver of the school bus was least perturbed by the honking of the bus behind.  He patiently waited for the kid at that stop to get in, then closed the door and drove at a pace that wasn’t in sync with the vehicles around him.
What you see when you care to really SEE
He let the vehicles at breakneck speed to overtake him, without getting affected. In the midst of a fast world which life in Bangalore has become (on the weekdays and in the IT areas at least), this bus driver chose a pace that was both permitted on the roads and safe for the kids. He was only concerned about the kids he had to drop at school, and he wasn’t being conscious about it. He was sub-consciously acting in a way that would ensure as much safety as possible for the kids in the bus on a road that was also being traveled by hundreds of other folks who were heading to destinations far different to where he was. It seemed like an entirely different world, a world which all of us have lived in and forgotten it exists, a world where we as kids were completely dependent on those around us and the countless number of people who played a part in our growing up process, aiding our parents when and where they could, to the best of their ability – the neighbors who made sure we ate food, the caretakers who were with us until parents came to pick us up in the evenings without making it seem like a big deal, the teachers, the grandparents, the relatives, and last but definitely not the least, the bus/van/auto drivers who took us to the schools we went to everyday. It seemed like a world where light shone through, oblivious of the darkness that existed before it came and after it passed.

I particularly remember the various vans and the one auto I’ve gone to school by, and the care each of those people who dropped us and picked us back showed to ensure our safety, the one incident when one of the kids fell down while getting off the vehicle, and how the uncle who drove our van was continuously reminding us kids to get down slowly, without rushing (how excited kids get when they reach their gate, you all know!)
We more often than not believe that there are a certain set of people who care for us and will strive to keep us happy- which includes family, friends and to an extent a second social circle. But today, it struck me that if not for random acts of kindness from people you probably didn’t give enough credit for at various stages of life, most of us wouldn’t be where we are today. It could be the neighbor who stands talking to your kid just so that she finds it entertaining and eats food without a fuss; it could be the caretaker who bought your kid an ice cream on a day she probably fell down at school. It could be the hotel reception folks who let you keep your baggage after you check out till the end of the day, it could be a teacher who goes over and beyond to help you cope with a particular subject you’re weak at. It could be a doctor fresh in profession who calls the senior just in the nick of time; it could be the everyday bus driver who takes your kid safely to school, not minding the persisting honks on a road where adults who are on their own want to go as fast as they can.

These are the everyday people who affect your lives (and the lives of those you care about) in ways you don’t appreciate enough, simply because you’re too focused on the so-called big things in life. About time you paid attention to the small things, for if you really did, the number of loving and responsible people in the world would leave you amazed. I saw magic in a mad world by how a school bus driver took a bunch of kids to school, who knows what you’d see if you truly looked around you as well? Give it a try. You’ll witness the miracles of daily life every day.
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