A week ago, I was on my way home from college and I had to make a minor detour to grab a few medicines for my grandfather. It was a Saturday, and the shop hadn’t opened yet. The tailor in the adjacent shop told me I should wait for another fifteen to twenty minutes; the medicine store owner should be here any time now, he said. So I stood on the pavement outside the store and I waited.
I was just looking around, observing things (my phone was precariously low on battery). I noticed a few students from my college walk by, people who I’d seen at college but didn’t consciously remember doing so. They looked quite different from the last time I met them. One had a distinctly different hairstyle now. It was only 10:30 and people were already lining up at the liquor store that had not opened.
A bird almost pooped on me. I was lucky. For now.
Among all this, two connected incidents stuck out to me. Not that they were dramatic paradigm-shifters or eye opening or anything, but they stimulated a thought process to which I have kept returning over the last few months.
The tailor I told you about has had a shop there for many years now, and he’s quite old himself. His son now works with him too. There’s a tea and snack store a few doors down and from all the people I see there, their tea must be good. The store owner brewed what looked like his first pot of tea for the day, and apparently before having any himself, poured some into a glass, walked over to the tailor’s shop, and handed the glass to him. This may have been their usual agreement, but it was the first time I had chanced upon it.
Later, a street sweeper came by and he was just sweeping the pavement to the left of me when the tailor saw him and called him over. He offered the sweeper his cup of tea and insisted he take it. He hadn’t had even a sip from it.
Again, this may or may not have been happening on a regular or semi-regular basis, but I am seeing this incident as it was on that day: seemingly isolated and wholly inspiring.
It has been my belief that people are good; that they are not inherently inclined to do something ‘bad’.
The mind is extremely powerful, more than any of us can imagine (ironic, no?), and I’ve been studying about this in Psychology and Philosophy at college. We all do actions in a constant pursuit of happiness and none of us ever wants to experience sadness or pain, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Despite what we like to call our ‘best efforts’, pain does find its way to us, and the point of that is to learn from it and try to not fall into that trap again. Therefore, if you told me that a person does something wrong, or ‘bad’, however you may define those words, and if you told me he/she did it with 100% of their will in that direction, I wouldn’t believe you, because I do not believe a mind, any mind, would ever do something that it knows will cause it pain. And I believe that a mind always, always knows what causes it pain, and what doesn’t. Yes, that knowledge may be deeply buried, but that doesn’t mean it’s not there.
Before this philosophy gets out of hand, let me steer this back to the thing I want to talk about in this blog. It’s about the fact that people are all around us, and we’re all the same. We all want the same things out of life, and it is up to us to get it in whatever way we want, but I know I can only do it with help from others and that is only possible when I take the others for what they are and not what I deem them to be.
I’ll freely admit that until a few months back, I wasn’t the best with people. That’s not to say I am now, but I think I’m much better, and I can feel the improvement. In the words of The Ancient One,
“It’s not about you.”
When I think about it, I’m kinda fortunate to have even met the people who I spend most of my time at college (& outside) with. Call it destiny, fate, or math, because statistically the number of assholes outnumber the sane people at my college, and the fact that my friends unequivocally fall into a third category (which goes by #AMAZEBALLS), is a huge deal to me. So, I’d just like to, in total acceptance speech-style, thank my friends for being my friends. I may be slightly weird, like, almost every day, but then that’s why you keep me around, right?
At least I hope so.
I was pretty much surrounded by the same people two years back, and yesterday, but I’m now much more comfortable around them than I was then. It took me some time to actually, really settle into college life as everybody knows it but it’s better to get that slowly than not get it at all, I guess. Some may call it cheap consolation, but I don’t care.
For me now, it’s all about the way I perceive everything that makes a difference to what I think, and what I think, can change everything.