Saturday, November 17, 2012

The fickle existence

It was a hot and humid afternoon. Having had a sumptuous meal of Cannon Pav Bhaaji, the best Pav Bhaaji in Mumbai, situated at VT, I boarded the suburban train to get back home. Just as the the train was about to leave the station, a lanky lad, carrying, what looked like a huge cane bucket, huffed and puffed his way inside my compartment. I was enjoying my stay near the door, feeling in all the breeze, and trying to dry my sweat soaked shirt. This guy came and stood next to me while keeping his bucket down. The bucket contained the famous Mumbai snack, Vada pao. It smelled great, but he reeked of stink. I looked at him, he was looking at my hand, curiously, I asked him.

"What is it, that you are looking at, friend?"

"I was wondering what brand of water you hold in your hand", he said referring to the mineral water bottle in my hand

"Ohh, well this is one of the local brand, not very popular" I replied, to quench his curiosity(for the time being)

"I wonder how it tastes like" He said, still looking intently at the bottle

"You are thirsty and you need water to drink, just say it" I said, trying to talk straight.

"Well... Yes.." He said, suddenly taking his eyes of my bottle

"Here you go, take it, drink as much as you want" I offered him the bottle, along with a smile.
"Thank you sir", and he gulped down the entire content of the bottle, "Thank you again" he said wiping the water off his mouth," And sorry", looking at the empty bottle.

"No Problems" I said, not bothering to take the bottle back. Then I looked back at the delicious looking Vadas and wondered about his business model. "How much money do you make out of it, and where do you sell it?" I asked him inquisitively.

"I sell these Vadas to a Sweet shop in Kurla, he pays me around Rs 3/Vada"
"Which shop?"

"The shop near Tilak nagar station, he is a nice man, treats me well, pays me on time" He smiled, this man had some honesty in his smile, I wondered.

"Well, the same guy charges me Rs 9 for the same thing you sell him for Rs 3, do you know this?" I said, trying to incite him, to break his smile, and see the other side of him.
"I very well know how popular my vadas are, but I am content with what I get, it gets me a profit enough"
He said, seeing my perplexed reaction, he added,
"I earn around Rs 600 a day for the vadas I make for this shop, which is a profit of Rs 400 to me. Besides this, I work as a house keeping staff in a MNC which gets me Rs 10000 a month. So all in all, I earn around 20000-25000 a month. And, I have a wife, she loves me a lot, I love her a lot, and make love to her a lot..." He paused for a laugh, and I joined in his laughter. He continued " I have a kid, a nice 1BHK in Mumbai(inherited though!) . I have everything I want in life. I don't aspire for bungalow  I don't aspire for an international school for my child. I just aspire to have enough to feed my family, and be happy. I do drink with friends, I have also visited dance bars. I have done everything that makes me happy." he finally finished with a sigh.

"That was nice...hmmmm" I said, while wondering in my mind, that this guy is not ostentatious, he is working only for his family, to keep them happy, for the love of them. "Come on, lets get down, its our station" I said and got down.

I got down and started moving out of the station, without looking back, lost in thoughts, of this man who gave me a view of life I never had, always whining about what I earned, or what I did. Suddenly, I heard a big commotion behind me. I turned around and saw people crowded near the place I got down from the train. I hurried down to the place to check out what is wrong. Pushing people out of the way, I reached the spot and saw a bucket and some Vadas spilled at one corner, I glanced around, and to my fear, found the same man lying in a pool of blood from an injury to his head. "He fell off the train in the melee to get down" I heard a murmur behind me.I quickly called the Ambulance helpline and checked his pulse, it wasn't there. He was dead.

My idea of seeking solace was to relinquish every thing you have, love, family, your prized possessions and lead a life of a saint. It is there everywhere, we are mortal beings, everything we own ,everything we love, is going to part with us one day, when we die. All those who claim to have seen life, say this and even go so far as to implement it. For they claim, any mortal affection only leads to desire, and desires lead to unrest within. If we give up any desire, we end up with inner peace. This is what I believed in, until I met this man.

We always see solace and inner peace as something which cannot be achieved without a sacrifice. A sacrifice too big to be made by a normal human being. This man taught me, that solace is nothing but being content and happy in your life. Even while making ends meet, a man can be happy and content. And this will be his solace, he was happy when he died. God made humans intelligent, an intelligent being only evolves when he desires for something better, to make him happy and that is how we have had inventions and discovery, the desire and the necessity  When people talk of seeking solace through relinquishment of desires, it only implies being indifferent to happiness, and life itself. If the existence is as fickle as we know, why remain indifferent to the gift of God? Accept your fate, seek happiness within you, define what is it that will make you content, and solace will follow.

I would rather die as someone, who was loved, who loved a lot, made a lot of love and had everything which made him happy, than as a saint, who remained indifferent to the feelings, and indifferent to life.

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