The best thing about life is that it is unpredictable. Sometimes it brings sorrow when you expect happiness and sometimes when you are all teared up, you find a reason to smile just around the corner. Three years back when I was about to shift from Delhi after spending six golden years of my life, I was more than sad. Love for the city where one is born or where one spends his growing years is a special one. I got my freedom in this city- lived independently away from home, graduated, started my career and fell in love for the first time. And now I was leaving everything behind to pursue higher studies.
It was 9th Feb, a day young couples and retailers call “Chocolate Day” when people gift their partners chocolate. I was roaming around the local market looking for a courier company to send my books home. The market was crowded with love birds buying goodies. I could not help but feel envious of people spending quality time with loved ones. Every moment, I was asking the same question, “When will I visit these places next?” My trance-like state was interrupted by a shop keeper who promised a heavy discount on a box of assorted chocolate. I made an excuse and left the place.
As my auto left the market place, my sadness sedimented to the bottom of my eyes. The autowala who was driving very slowly tried to compensate his slow speed with some amount of chatting. He asked me about family and hometown and soon we realize that we belonged to the same hometown. He was an old man-about 50 years old. He told me how he was working for 15 hours a day just to finance his son’s education. He wanted me to guide his son in making his career decisions. Although we were strangers, we shared a kinship- the solace one obtains from narrating a story to a stranger.
The autowala gave me his number I could call in case I got stuck anywhere in the city. He also gave me a lot of ashirwaad to be successful in my future endeavors. The moment I got down from the auto, I saw a gang of children came running down the street. These kids were children of servants, maids, masons and laundry people who lived in makeshift chambers made up of tin behind the gaudy bungalows of rich people. Every day they saw me going to office, doing grocery shopping and reading a novel sitting on the bench in the park but never did they acknowledge my presence in this way.
They came from two sides and surrounded me like a swarm of bee around a honey comb. The two who were smallest held my fingers and asked for chocolates. I had met many strangers in my life but this was perhaps the cutest one. One hour back, I was feeling sad because of loneliness and suddenly I saw so many new friends. I took them to the nearest grocery and asked the shop-keeper to allow the kids to have whatever they wanted. The shop-keeper gave a despised and obligated look. Everyday hundreds of beggars came to him and he would just shoo them away. That day I realized what it means to spread happiness and thus make oneself happy. The children enjoyed the chocolates and snacks to the last bite and the expressions on their face were serene.
That was my moment of unexpected celebration.