April 2015

Heart of the matter

We are sitting in the darkened movie hall and viewing a completely forgettable movie. Its mediocrity of story line, banal acting and vulgar dialogues make us cringe and seem like an affront to the intelligence of a common man. We decide to leave the hall and salvage whatever is left of the evening when my daughter urges us to “Look for the heart.”

Amidst all the criticism and negativity she asks us to seek some redeeming feature in the film. It is there, it is always there, she says. From focussing on all that was wrong with the movie, we try and search for some positives. Surprisingly, we do come up with a few, albeit grudgingly.

That movie has been long forgotten but her simple statement has stayed close to my heart. I do find myself looking for the “heart” in most situations around which life revolves. This change in observation has led me to some interesting discoveries in everyday living. There is always something that makes it to the top of list as the heart of the day.

I ask friends to talk about that one incident that made their day special and the responses are as varied as they themselves are, but the common denominator in all of them is the simplicity of the incident that they observed and that touched them.

Someone speaks about a line of a poem, another of the way a certain person was standing with his child at the bus stop. They all speak about it like a snapshot clicked in full clarity amidst the blur that life tends to become. With the process of looking back more incidents pop up that were hitherto unnoticed and had fallen like ephemeral snowflakes to the ground, disappearing instantly, never to be resurrected again.

It is these small observations that form the richness in one’s life. In consciously observing and focusing on the small sunlit spots of loveliness amidst the dreary, we ensure that our whole landscape is lifted from mediocrity to one of great beauty.

Calm in a teacup

Amita stood outside the beautiful bookshop. She peered inside and instantly realised that all was not well. The normally calm and collected, ever-smiling lady at the counter was having an argument with her staff. Upon entering the shop, it was soon clear that some missing papers were the cause of the turmoil in this otherwise peaceful haven of the written word.

Amita looked around to see if she could be useful in any manner but to no avail. She turned around and left the shop silently.

She had looked forward to an interesting chat with the lady, as she always did, but today it seemed out of the question. Amita remembered the many ways in which she had been made to feel welcome while she browsed around. Those were the times that she remembered with great fondness. It was one of the reasons she preferred to make the long journey to this quaint shop instead of ordering books online.

As she walked out of the shop she wondered about how she could help the situation. Suddenly the perfect solution struck her and she walked to the café adjoining the bookshop.

She ordered a steaming hot cup of tea and taking it from the waiter, she proceeded to the front desk and placed the tea cup in front of the gentle lady… ‘Take a break Aunty,’ she smiled.

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