It had been a warm morning. I stood under the shade of a lone tree that had miraculously escaped the axe at a busy intersection at one of the many popular commercial hubs in Bengaluru just days after my arrival into the bustling city in southern India, from the UAE, for a friend’s marriage.
I stood waiting for my friend, who was stuck in one of the many traffic jams that clogged the roads at the peak hours of the day, to pick me up. I took advantage of this nonchalant and impromptu moment of solitude to soak up the experience of just being there.
A treasured moment of blissful leisure in a world ruled by the unyielding hands of the clock as poet W.H Davies in his poem Leisure explains — No time to stand beneath the boughs and stand and stare like sheep or cows.
I watched the world around me move at a restless pace. There felt a sense of impatience about me amid the cacophony of honking vehicles mingled with dust, pollution and heat.
Amid the chaos, my gaze caught and lingered upon a sight on the pavement beside me. A little brother tended to his baby sister who lay on a tattered mat cushioned with rags. The boy wore an oversized shirt that had seen better days and his sister had not a shred of clothing on her. The brother had his eyes only for his sister, who gurgled happily, as they played with sticks and stones.
Thoughts strayed into the lengths that I had gone into to provide a safe and protected environment for the upbringing of my children as I inadvertently said a prayer of thanks lingering on the thought of not taking anything for granted.
But even as my heart went out to the pair, my eyes drank on to the scene that was unfolding before me. The mother, who apparently worked at a construction site on the opposite side of the road, joined them. The delight on their faces upon her arrival was priceless.
As she sat down, the boy snuggled about her neck as the baby on the rags cooed delightfully basking in the warmth of her attention. She lovingly handed the boy a bun before she gently picked up the baby and began nursing her. She rocked her body gently, humming a tune and swaying her son fondly as he snuggled about her neck munching delightfully.
Together they appeared content in their little world on the pavement.
What really counts
There is tremendous beauty in strength and resilience. This mother and her children were deprived of a home, but she was blessed with enough endurance to give her children the best of whatever she possibly could and even find happiness in doing so.
It is wonderful to own a beautiful home and all the opulence and glitter that the world has to offer. Yet, it is what you choose to be under the roof of your home or anywhere under the sun that really counts.
For each of us, our problems, however small, feel like a titanic struggle swallowing us whole and it often takes witnessing a person drowning in greater agony, pain and suffering holding on to the ropes of faith and resilience to inch through every day in his or her life, to choose to see the wisdom through ours.
That morning, in that mother and her children, I did not see suffering — only love and contentment in their eyes and the beauty of strength and resilience in their actions.
Pranitha Menon is a freelance writer based in Dubai. Twitter: @MenonPranitha