‘Come out in the balcony mummy, right now!’
‘What’s the matter? I am in the middle of cooking lunch.’
‘Come out in the balcony, just for two minutes. You don’t want to miss this!’
The excitement in my voice was at its peak.
Eventually, she came and found me wearing a strange pair of goggles and staring at the sun.
‘Eclipse goggles? Is it a solar eclipse today, son?’
‘Yes! Here, have a look,’ I said and helped her wear the eclipse goggles.
For the next minute, I saw my mother smile for the longest duration I’ve ever seen in my life.
As she shared what she saw through those tinted glasses, I came to know she hadn’t ever seen a solar eclipse before.
It came as a surprise to me since she had devoted 35 years of her life in service to the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO).
She shared how in her childhood, people in the village used to watch the eclipse’s reflection in a shallow puddle of cow dung, for eclipse goggles didn’t exist back then.
In that abiding minute, as I watched the sheer awe on my mother’s goggled face, I felt a sense of peace dawn in my heart.
I’ve often felt guilty about travelling far and wide on my bicycle trip, but never really taking my mother to any place for a tour. However, sometimes, you needn’t leave your home to travel.
Watching that eclipse transported us deep in a world full of wonder.
This incident left me thinking –
Exactly how far away does one find a sense of wonder?
How far does one need to go to find a silent rush take over their being?
Most likely, it is just one person away.
The distance between a sense of weariness and a whirlwind of wonder is in the breadth of our openness for a fresher perspective.
And considering the fragile state of the world within us, isn’t sharing those fleeting moments of fascination with the people around us, an act of compassion?
And, as a corollary, doesn’t opening your mind to perspectives of others offer an avenue to understand, and at some level, love the people in the world around you?
Have a friend who’s frustrated with the rising binaries of political narratives worldwide?
Share with her how a binary language helped us achieve a technological revolution.
If she’s still vexed and the discussion ends with her saying, nothing will ever change, perhaps bring her a goldfish named Nemo, or a cute bonsai to keep by her windowsill.
When she finds herself tending to those, despite proclaiming that nothing will ever change, she might find some answers in those quiet moments spent still caring.
What if you find a foreign element in your morning cup of tea? Take a deep breath, spare your maid the usual reprimand, and share with her how a little grain of impurity has its own place in the world. How a minuscule amount of cobalt helped your chai-cup gain that royal blue hue. The emerald chandelier on the roof owes its splendour to strains impurities of iron oxide. Perhaps with that joy of learning something new, the maid will be more careful with cookware and your chai might be tastier in the evening.
Want to feel truly alive? Remove your earphones, don a stethoscope, and hear the sound of your child’s heartbeat. Help her listen to her throbbing heart.
Isn’t that a picture-perfect moment?
And while you are helping people see the world differently, be generously open to the perspectives of people around you.
Maybe that story recited by a child, that’s teeming with imagination yet happens to never end, might help you be at peace with the idea of writing a story, even if you don’t have the end in mind.
Before you dismiss the devotion of a village lady as superstition, try circling a banyan tree thrice, sink in its grandeur, and see if you feel a sense of gratitude that’s worthy of worship.
The way we see anything is the way we see everything.
We often forget to realise the magic in our world, its breath-taking complexity, its delicate balance, its poetic perfection beyond our perception.
Once we begin to see the world around us with a shared sense of wonder, we begin to accept our own existence with a similar sense of awe.
Lend me your lenses and let me lend you mine.
For once we learn to do so, we will only be kinder to ourselves, each other, and the world around us. We will realise the value of the time and space we’ve been graciously leased out by dear life.
Keep your mind open to perspectives, and an eye out for the skies.
Maybe when you hold your head up high, with an eye for wonder, it will rain a thousand blazing meteors.
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