The World Full of Faces…
I look outside the window from my bus and I see a sea of people. Every face is different. Everything they express is different. Yet I feel like I relate to them. Same-different; different-same! I am in awe.
I try to read their faces. I try to figure out what they might be thinking. My over-working woman brain longs to get lost in a world beyond my own. It longs to feel emotions of someone else to numb my own pain.
I see a child, being a child and asking his father for something he probably cannot afford. I feel sad for the child because today, as a kid, he doesn’t have to control his urges. Be it something as simple as wanting a toy or as complex as feeling jealous, insecure, sad or angry. I envy him for he can express everything freely.
He is yet to be enforced upon by rules, laws, morals and ethics. His superego is yet to form. And very soon, he is going to start suppressing his feelings, wants and needs. Very soon, he would understand that this world is unfair and here, survival is an art. Here, no matter what happens, you shut up, get up, dress up and head out for the struggle. Or else the natural selection rules you out from the process of evolution.
As my bus moves forward, I see a young couple on a motorbike. Their relation seems new. There is a slight hesitation in the demeanour of the woman, in the way she holds him. But her eyes are dripping of love for the man sitting in front. He, on the other hand is so peaceful in her subtle embrace. I say a small prayer in my head and wish them luck. After all, the novelty runs out after a time and the attraction becomes effort.
The traffic has evaded and now my bus takes speed. I see faces but they run so fast past me that I can’t figure out anything. They are just people, walking, talking, and thinking, lost in their own messy worlds. I wonder what their story is. Does their story match mine in any way? I keep wondering till we halt again. A man is smoking a cigarette in the car next to me. I am disgusted but I try not to judge. I don’t know what lead him to that habit. Maybe it was pain? I still don’t see it as an excuse to defile one’s body like that but I still try not to judge.
The smoke is now reaching me and I am compelled to look away. I realise an old man is sitting next to me. Holding on tightly to his stick. His face, a map of experiences. Each wrinkle, a tombstone of loss and remains of a smile that existed for years and probably still makes its way on that face from time to time. I look at him and I can’t figure out anything. Literally, I’ve got nothing about him.
Is he lost and silent just because he wants to be? Or because maybe he is sick? Or because maybe his kids don’t talk to him? Or maybe he is missing his wife? Or maybe he has everybody at home waiting for him and is loved and cared for and he is simply silent because he hates buses! I really do not know and I can’t even find out!
Funny how I could build stories around people who were on the road, far away from me. How I could related to them, think of them and I didn’t even think about the man who was sitting right next to me all this while! I probably wouldn’t even have noticed him if not for the smoke.
It’s weird but I realised it is something we all do very often. We get so lost in people and things far away from us that we do not even realise what is happening in our vicinity. When it comes to the people who are in our space, we often find ourselves bouncing back to them only if something unpleasant occurs. As if they exist only to be looked at when the disgusting smoke makes it impossible to look elsewhere.
This world is full of faces. But there are very few familiar ones. Only few which we can spot amidst a crowd of millions. And those faces are all we can earn in this life time. They are what we take along when we die. They are the ones who give us immortality. People don’t remember what we earned as individuals, people remember what we did for them. And in this world full of faces, I hope we all know the stories of those who are in our proximity. We owe this to them, don’t we?