Wednesday, December 16, 2009

appreciation 101

Have you read this sentence:"I was sad because I had no shoes until I saw a man who had no feet'? I have always hated it. It has seemed to me to be more about gloating about someone else having less than we do than about a true gratitude for the riches given us. And that is why I want to emphasize that this post is not in that spirit.

I was returning to Dun after a walks-, conversation-, and food-filled weekend with The One. I was travelling by sleeper class, and feeling grumpy. To be fair to myself, I am not always a snob, but goodbyes take it out of me and it had been a rough week. And so I was finding the dark side of everything.

The train was late, the platform was crowded and spattered with sputum. When the train finally arrived, it overshot the platform and everyone had to rush huffing and puffing to their carriages. The aisle was muddy, the seats were grimy. An AC seat would have been comfier, but I was financially challenged while booking. I wouldn't be able to sleep on the train, and then had to immediately rush off to work- to the same job that didn’t guarantee me the ability to buy an AC ticket. Sulk, sulk. Gripe, gripe. Smoulder.

But then I climbed up to my berth and lay down eavesdropping on the people in the next compartment. They were exulting. "So we needed to pay more for this, but isn't it worth it? It is so easy and comfortable now!" Theirs was a large group, and made even more cumbersome by being multi-generational, multi-family. To make this travel easier, they had splurged on sleeper travel for the family. Because the children outnumbered the adults, everyone was sleeping with one or more child with him or her. The counting of suitcases and children was done several times before they totalled up right. And they were still marveling at the ease and comfort. Throughout the hassle of settling everyone down, they were all excited and joyous at the luxury they found themselves in.

I looked at myself, lying in my berth all cosseted in my much-loved 16th-birthday-gift sleeping bag and doubly warm in the cardigan my mum had knitted and the shawl The One had bought. A rush of embarrassment for my previous thoughts was followed up with true gratitude for my riches. And that night I slept very well indeed.

Sometimes we need a refresher course in appreciating pleasure, na?


fellow traveller said...

Bilkul theek..bahut sahi kaha apne! Have been experiencing the same on the Delhi Metro on a l-o-o-o-n-g visit to this city..just as you're all but squashed/squished/stampeded upon you notice a family from the interiors of Punjab(returnung from the Sis Ganj gurudwara in Chandni Chowk?) all starry eyed and full of wonderment at this amazing transport. Kya chamatkar hai!

Anonymous said...

also remember that what you do in that job- the communities that benefit from it

what you write- people who read it

the person you are-

is the brighter side of things in many lives.