A window seat on a train ride.
Feels like such a luxury doesn’t it?
Why wouldn’t it,
For it offers a unique cinematic experience after all.
The landscape is neither static nor moving too fast like in a motion picture.
It breezes at a pace that’s easy on the eye, offering enough mind space to dwell on worlds within and without.
Recently, I had the fortune of having a window seat on a train ride from Kolkata to Pune. Much to my disappointment, it had air conditioning in all of its coaches.
An air conditioned coach doesn’t offer the same experience as a sleeper class open window. No gush of wind messing up your hair, no influence of outside weather on the inside, no hawkers, certainly not as much fun.
It is quite a sterile environment, an AC coach.
But I still had a window seat.
I couldn’t complain !
Sometime in the afternoon, I found myself looking at the landscape of central India through the tinted window.
The train chugged by a little agrarian hamlet.
Amid the vedant rice fields, I saw a mud house where a group of little girls were playing.
As they saw the train passing by, they all took a break from their play and started waving at the train in sheer jubilance.
The buoyancy in their being lifted my spirits. I couldn’t help but smile and wave back.
But then, I realised,
‘These are tinted windows ! I can see the girls but the girls can surely not see me wave back at them !’
But did it make a difference to their enthusiasm?
The girls would never know who they are waving goodbye to, or if they were waved back at.
They smiled and greeted strangers nevertheless.
And did I not smile? Sure I did,
As many other passengers must have, at the sight of their effervescent energy.
That’s a child’s karma.
A child’s mind has a primeval consciousness.
It willingly gives energy to people and places around it. At some level, it understands that the energy will come back in much bigger a bulk.
It is unsullied by the transactional, quid pro quo paradigm adults dwell in.
For an adult, it is easy to feel lost, isolated and self centered in his being.
‘Why should I even do something if I don’t see a benefit on the horizon, a profit of some sort?’ one wonders.
Growing up, we become used to doing something for something in return.
Our mindset about work is best reflected in our conversations. The most common questions we ask one another as adults are,
‘What do you do?’
‘How much do you make?’
The answer to the latter is much based on the judgement of the answer to the former question.
Usually, the reply is in terms of one’s occupation and income respectively.
But maybe we need to do the asking a bit differently.
Maybe should ask each other and our self,
‘What do you love to do?’
‘How much do you give?’
You would wonder,
‘How does this relate to the little girls waving a train goodbye?’
At that moment, when the girls are waving, they are doing what they love to do, in accordance to their natural instinct.
And what are they giving?
Many smiles to people who they would never know.
However little, however fleeting it may be,
They add value.
What can we learn from them?
To involve our self in the most natural extension of our being,
By doing things we love to do.
To give unconditionally, with utmost joy,
It they can, deep in their hearts, find such happiness in giving,
It is not easy to shift our perspective as an adult and start to give our energy without knowing what result it would yield, or what benefit we will get as a result.
Well, we can all start simple.
How about starting with waving goodbye to a train we will never see again?
Yes, you will feel awkward,
And to lift that hand would need overcoming inertia we didn’t know to exist.
But after the train has passed,
If we find our self smiling,
We would have learnt a lesson.