Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Perceptions ...

It was during a train journey that I met that family. I was travelling back from Delhi to my native and the only thought when I boarded the train early in the morning, with my kids in tow, was to settle into the berths and catch up on the sleep. So, it was with a certain degree of irritation that I looked at the girl and her mother who had already taken up the seat near the window, which was 'ours'. The mother asked if my son could sleep in the middle berth as they would like to have the lower berth. I agreed, as it was early in the morning, and as I was a person who loved quiet mornings, I decided to let it be. Soon, I arranged the berths and put the kids to sleep and happily got lost in the rhythm of the train and slept fitfully, never giving second thoughts to the family again...

Some time later, as I woke up into the bright sunshine, my perspective also brightened - so I believe on hindsight. First thing I noticed was the same family of three - a daughter and her parents. It is my experience that co-travellers usually tend to be more friendly and accommodating during train journeys, especially during long journeys. So, I forgot all about my irritation of the morning (which I blamed on the lack of proper sleep and rest during the past few days of travelling) and smiled at them. I got a rather reserved smile back- perhaps I put them on guard by being grumpy in the morning!!!

Anyways, I had a few urgent mails to cater to and a couple of other pending works to do. I finished them off and as the time for breakfast approached, we warmed up to each other a little bit more. Not a person who like to intrude in others' life I inquired only about some basic details of them. I learned that they are travelling up to Thiruvananthapuram and that the man is working in Delhi Police. The lady was a house wife and they were travelling with their daughter. It was only then that I gave the girl a detailed look.

At the first glance itself, I felt something is wrong. Unlike the girls of her age, she sat quiet, head down and unenthusiastic. Saliva was drooping out from her mouth and she seemed to be oblivious of it... As I observed her closely, I found that something is wrong. I wanted to know what is wrong with her, but I respected the family's privacy and didn't ask anything more.

Over the breakfast, the mother told me that the child suffers from epileptic attacks. Seems that she was fit and fine till she was five. After that she had a fall and the fits had started subsequently. Now the girl is thirteen and though her body has acquired the growth of a thirteen year old, sadly, her brain has not! Her IQ level is low and she is attending a special school these days. I tried to be as sensitive as I can and didn't want to look over-sympathetic or intruding. (Now I realized why the mother asked for the lower berth)

The girl could not speak properly - her words came out in slur and only her people could understand what she was telling; at times, even they couldn't! She loved music and her mother had got her a music player to play her favourite songs. For once, I didn't feel offended that someone is playing loud (though not too loud) music. During the day, she found me harmless and started smiling at me. I also tried to include her in our conversations and offered a share of sweets when my kids had them. I was happy when she started to accept every food items that I offered her without any inhibitions...

Though they had three tickets, one was in another bogey. They were hopeful that someone will exchange the places, so that the father can get a berth in the same coupe. But, that didn't happen as the others who travelled in the same coupe were a part of group and refused to exchange places. So, at night, the mother had to spread the mattress on the floor and sleep there as the child needed the care of both parents. All night, I was aware that she could barely sleep as the girl kept on poking her for something or the other and even without any reason. The father had sat at the feet of the girl and gave her company till she slept...

The entire journey was passed like this - the parents caring for their girl, even when she was unreasonable... I was moved by the way they cared for the girl, especially the delicate way by which the father handled her. The mother had lost her patience a couple of times, but never the father. He sat near his daughter almost through the night and made sure she was comfortable. He was gentle, loving and caring, which I have not seen in many people. Moreover, I was surprised to see that he even arranged the blanket of my son when it slipped away from him at night!!! I have not seen many such caring individuals in my life...

It got me thinking - I realized that even in the face of adversity we can be good individuals. Now, I will think twice before I get impatient with my kids... When I get angry at their small mistakes, I will try to remember the loving parents from the journey and their everyday trials and tribulations. Then, perhaps, I will realize that love is the most powerful of the emotions and that what the children need from parents is unconditional love... I also realize that there are people who are less privileged than me, but more happier than their situation could demand!!!!

It surely was a special journey - as I reached home, I think I turned a bit more wiser and a bit more understanding than ever. My efforts to perfect the art of unconditional love and patience would also continue... And if I falter in that, all I have to do is bring to my memory the picture of that loving family and then, I am sure, my perception will take a change for the better!!! 

20 comments:

  1. So nicely written Nisha....I am sorry for not being able to keep pace with your blogging due to many other pre-occupations. But I am really happy to see your style of writing getting better and better...congratulations & best wishes.

    I have travelled a lot on rail (mostly long distance) and have encountered all sorts of people...and one thing is sure: train journey teaches you a lot...you need to do nothing; but just observe the people around!

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    1. Ajoy Sir! Thrilled to have you back here... and yes, we all lead busy lives. It is but natural that we will not get as much time as we wish to devote to some activities. I can totally understand the situation. I am Glad to let you know that despite your busy schedules you are providing a lot of encouragement and motivation to me.

      And yes, we can learn a lot from just observing the people around. These days, I travel in AC; but I feel that it is in the sleeper class that one can see a piece of the real world. And I too have always enjoyed my journeys...

      Thanks once again for the wishes and good words!

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    1. Thank you very much! Happy to know that you liked it!

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  3. Beautifully written Nisha. During the train journeys usually the longer ones we can observe a range of reactions amongst the co-passengers some quite grumpy and quite while some friendly and caring too. I used to travel a lot by train while my father used to work at Delhi and each journey had a tale.

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    1. Thanks Engram!!! Yeah, trains are representations of life itself - we are all meet in this journey and some become our friends who stay with us till the end of the journey.

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  4. really gud nisha ,nicely written....go ahead..

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    1. Thank you! Wish I could know at least your name!!! Anyways, thanks a lot for your wishes!!!

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  5. I have many experiences in train as I was in the forces-
    It is the best teacher- It reminds me the days in Allahabad to pay the coolie Rs/ 5 to shove you in head first in an unreserved compartment,when the train reaches there at midnight, with its window shutters closed, to check another entry. The insiders as a group physically push the new comer out while the coolies make a way with our luggage,and put you inside! Strangely, we will the number one among the inside group, when the train arrives in the next station !! well written

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    1. Yes Raghu, the train journey teaches us much... And the way we easily put ourselves in the first category as you described, is applicable to other situations in life as well...

      Thanks for sharing your experience!!!

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  6. Beautifully narrated... Every journey is a lesson. Thnx for sharing.

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  7. Good lesson for me. Next time when i get impatient with my daughter, i too will remember this family. Thank you for sharing.

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    1. Rose, it is a good lesson for all of us... I am happy to know that my narration have inspired someone else to be more sensitive and caring to others. These are the moments when one feel truly happy that one is a writer!!!
      very humbled by your words...Thanks a lot!

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  8. My eyes were moist by the time I finished reading your blog. The lives like these lived around us enriches us and let us know the strength of unconditional love and makes the earth a better place to live in.

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    1. GeeKay,

      Thanks! As a writer, if I am able to touch the hearts of my readers, my writing becomes meaningful.
      And as you said it is often from the lives of others that we would learn some simple yet profound meanings of life! Once we realize that the earth becomes a heaven!!!

      Thanks for dropping in here and sharing your thoughts...

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  9. We are creating a blog with few good writers. You are good at your work. If you are interested. Add a reply @ iampurplepen@gmail.com

    or visit us @ http://iampurplepen.co.cc/

    Regards: Himanshu Chhabra (Purple Pen)

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    1. Thanks a lot Himanshu! Would love to join the Purple Pen. And thanks for the good words!!!!

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  10. Nisha, this was a touching account and each time it reminds that we are fortunate and need to thank almighty every time for the kindness bestowed on us!

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  11. This is not just a lesson to be more sensitive and caring to others, but also to realize its time to count our small blessings

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