Lest I forget



It had been a while since I got on one, so when I came across my cousin’s, I was excited. After nearly hitting every parked car on the road and relearning the old basics (how not to fall and make a fool of your self), I wanted to take his bicycle (which had 21 gears!!!!!) for a spin round the block. 

It was a five minute ride and when I stopped near the parking stand, I heard my pint-sized-knight-in-shinning-armour running towards me, panting and with sweat trickling down the side of his face. “The road you were riding on is dark and not very safe; so I jogged behind you to make sure nothing happened,” said my 14-year-old cousin. 
He doesn’t even reach my shoulders, so I wondered how he would have protected me if something might have happened. But I guess that’s what Thomas Jefferson, third president of USA, was trying to say, “One man with courage is a majority.” And the pint-sized knight is over-stuffed with the big C.
Four days and four nights, two cities and two families… my sister and I were thousands of miles away from home having the time of our lives. The days included waking up at 3 am and the nights, sleeping in a room where the mosquitoes were in a mood to party. Then on the flipside, I was with my cousins and aunts, whom I love to death, and I also got to travel to places where I grew up, after six or seven years. And not to mention the crazy awesome donuts that the city I live in doesn’t have.
My short-lived vacation was in one word — BEAUTIFUL. But then a beautiful harvest is usually plagued by unwanted weeds. 
In Chandigarh (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chandigarh), while we were roaming around in a mall — it’s by far the coolest mall I have come across — we crossed a lady who was crouched on the floor. Her paper bags had ripped and with her stuff scattered on the floor, she was trying to fit things in other bags. I crossed her, the others did too; but no one stopped to help. Some sniggered, others rolled their eyes. Then there was this other time, when I got extra change from the shopkeeper but I was advised by some in New Delhi (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Delhi) not to give it back. I did, phew! Score 1 for me. Another time, when we had gone to watch the movie Noah, my sister spoke to some couple who forgot their bill at the counter. But rather than thanking her, they just saw through her, took the bill and argued among themselves on how lost the other person was behaving.
What I am trying to say is — I was in an amazing city, surrounded my people who seemed to be having fun, but there was something that was horribly wrong. Everybody, including me, was wrapped in their happy little lives and nothing else mattered. Kindness was what I was trying to spot, compassion in the eyes that had it all. I had gotten so accustomed to people saying “thank you”, “please” and smiling when you spoke to them that I was taken aback by these events. Good manners are so very underrated and it made me sad to realise that the places I loved (I would any day pack my bags to go live in Chandigarh and New Delhi) are especially the ones lagging behind.
In regard to the above mentioned incidents, and many other, I was trying to sum up how I really felt after the end of the vacation, when I happened to read the words which summed them all: We travel a lot to escape life, but not for life to escape us.
My vacation was an escape from the mundane, the routine life that I was so weary of leading. But just because you are having fun doesn’t mean you are living your life to the fullest. Though I would want to be known as “happy-go-lucky”, I would not want to just live for myself, forgetting that there are lives that I can touch with a kind word or a helping hand.
Routine can be (extremely) boring, but aren’t we called to *be faithful in small things for it’s in them that are true strength lies*? Let me remind that to my self every waking moment, lest I forget… well, I hope I don’t.
*Mother Teresa

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