The driver was absent today. He never takes an off on Sundays as he knows I have to step out. “Something urgent must have come up”, I wondered sitting in my uber. It was a hot day. I was about to tell the driver to increase the AC but I checked , it was on the maximum. I slouched back in my seat. The radio was playing a jingle on the how the maid was given a leave so that she could go and cast her vote with her family. The ad emphasized that voting was critical, after all democracy was at stake.
While the jingle was playing, we hit a traffic signal. I looked outside. A moment later, a small car came to a halt next to mine. A lady was driving the car and I could see her very clearly. Her daughter, about 5-6 years old , was playing in the back seat. The way she was jumping up and down her seat, she must be giving her mother a hard time.
My attention then went back to the mother. She was a tiny, petite woman. In a jeans and t-shirt, she could hardly see the bonnet of her own car. Short but thin, she stared blankly , almost unconsciously. “What is she looking at so intently?”, I became intrigued. As I continued looking at her, I observed she was completely oblivious to her surroundings. Forget noticing me, I think she wasn’t even listening to her daughter. She sat there staring blankly. It was almost eerie to watch. On looking closely, I noticed a layer of water in her listless eyes. ” Is she crying? I can’t see any tears”, I strained to looked at her cheeks. No, not a drop anywhere. The eyes kept on glistening with that layer of water.
“Man only likes to count his troubles; he doesn’t calculate his happiness.”
― Fyodor Dostoevsky
She must have been in her late 20s. Maybe about to hit 30 soon. Her skin was brown, her cheeks flat, her face haggardly. This tiny woman was a shadow of her true self, it seemed. I searched for a hint of hope in her eyes but all I found was hopelessness. Cheer seemed to have abandoned her. She was lost in the maze of life, possibly surrendered to the vagaries of life.
The signal turned green and she suddenly came back to life as if woken up by a harsh jolt. She drove past slowly, as if her daughter and her car were a non – negotiable burden she had to drag along.
Even thought she was gone , I was left questioning the strangeness of life. Why was it that someone was happy while the other grim? Is it not possible for all to be happy? Darkness is a part of life but does that mean that we forget the light ?
“Folks are usually about as happy as they make their minds up to be.”
― Abraham Lincoln
No, definitely not. No matter what comes to shatter us in this journey of life,happiness is a personal prerogative. My smile is my property and I can make use of it anytime I want. I am not going to give up my happiness for some event that would come and eventually get over. Things will happen, not necessarily in my favor. But I will choose my response and stand firm on my decision to be happy. Always!