Simple Delight…

I am spending the summer of 2012 getting roasted in the Delhi heat. There seems to be no respite but since I spend most of my time locked up inside my airconditioned office, I haven’t really had a chance to crib yet. Today, as I stepped out of the office after a long day at work, I tried to find a shaded corner where I could stand and hopefully flag down an auto and meet mother. I waited and waited but without any luck. I now had a very good reason to start my mental whining about how hot it was and how I couldn’t find an auto and how my shoe-bite was troubling me blah blah blah. As I rambled on in my mind, I saw a group of old men walking on the road in front of my office. Before I talk about them, let me give you a brief idea about my office building. It is a government office building but the kind that has been replacing the old cubbyhole offices of the past. At least in the national capital. It’s a giant structure close to some of the most magnificent sights of Lutyen’s Delhi. A mammoth structure of concrete and metal with a unique shape. I have often seen the occupants of passing cars, buses and autos crane their necks to catch its grand height. It’s no Empire State, but the power and strength that seems to emanate out of it definitely attracts attention. Armed CISF guards man the various entrances at all times. And I happen to be working here for the time being. Thought I should flaunt that.

So well, as I stood under a tree waiting for the never appearing autos, I saw a group of old men walking on the main road. They were clad in dhotis, kurtas, turbans, carrying jholas, wearing sandals. I couldn’t really place them, but I could make out that they were as alien to Delhi as I am to Somalia. Or maybe not, but they were definitely wide-eyed. One gentleman in particular caught my eye. He was wearing a simple white kurta and dhoti. His face bore the marks of his long life which must have seen everything there is to see in the circus of life. He walked along with the group at a leisurely pace, not in any hurry to get anywhere. Just living in the moment. As he crossed my office building (pardon my possessiveness about the building), he arched his head back to take in the full view. His steps didn’t falter, nor did his gaze waver. He took the view in as a fiery sun seemed to create a halo behind the concrete elephant. And just for those few instants, his face broke into a content, gentle smile. Even from a distance, I could see the expression in his eyes. An expression of simple joy, of contentment, of..nothing really in particular…just a natural expression. Which, by far, is the most priceluntitledess of all. He walked on, and as he crossed, he didn’t hang back or stop or even turn around to look at it again.

He just walked on, like this was just another insignificant milestone of his twilight, worthy of a glance but nothing more. His happiness at seeing it, maybe just simple wonder, was captured in that one look when he had looked at the building for the first time. And that was all there was to it… That is all there is to any moment truly enjoyed, perhaps, just in passing. Such is Life.


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