Why are we so lost in our busy lifestyle, that we overlook little things that give us happiness? Have we grown too mature to appreciate pretty moments of life?
Smita is a working lady, very well-off. All she wants is a really long sleep on her holiday, but she is woken up by some fuss in the garden. She has to still survive the day now and finish her assignment too. Indolently she steps into the garden and ends up being their whole evening. But why? Why does she take out so much time out of her busy routine?
“What’s that noise?” Smita woke up from her sleep. The shrill wailing noise grew even louder.
“Ramya Bai! Who’s crying like a child, this fine morning?”, Smita, clearly annoyed by now asked her maid. After all she had worked all night and it was one of those once in a blue moon days on which she got a leave from her work.
“It’s a fine ‘afternoon’ Madam.” smirked Ramya. “….and it is indeed a child who is crying” and then she went off with her ever cheerful mood. Smita, still dazed by her inadequate sleep, but stirred by agitation, she got up and went up to the window overlooking the garden.
The culprit stood in the shade of the tree. A little girl nearly 7. The wailing had stopped, the noise had reduced to the sulking sounds of the girl and the loud voice of the gardener, who was scolding and bashing the girl.
“It is the gardener’s granddaughter, Madam. She was playing in the newly prepared soil. Mali kaka apparently doesn’t like anybody messing with his work.” Ramya, who was back in the room dusting all over, reported the matter dutifully, giggling in her usual tone. “…. Crying as if kaka broke her masterpiece…much ado about nothing… adamant kid…… grumpy old man… just a little girl…. Beating no good….” Ramya was still chattering away, explaining what the fuss was all about. To all her talk, Smita wasn’t even paying half a heed by now.
Cranky about her sleep getting disturbed, her mind was blaming the girl with the regard of a criminal. “Why are children so stupid!? Crying over silly little things!” Smita was thinking aloud by now. “It is us grown-ups who ought to cry. With piles of work hovering over and fighting hard every day for survival is the real struggle, the real issues to cry over!” “ True that, Madam.” Ramya chortled understandingly. Feeling that she has said a lot by now, she yawned, brought her rational senses back and began her routine.
It hadn’t been a good start for the day. Moreover, her holiday had not even begun yet and the vicious worries about the office work for the next day were drilling up her mind already.
It was now 4 in the afternoon, Ramya and the other servants were done with their work and retired to their respective quarters. Smita sat by her workstation, staring blankly at her laptop screen. She was bending her mind hard, trying to resolve the problem she was having in her project. But, it seemed like her brain has gone sterile, no ideas were coming up. Two hours since she begin her work and now halfway through it, her progress was saturated. It was a dull afternoon and a break was much needed. She stretched and cursed her bosses under her breath though no one was listening. She then tried to cheer herself up by the thinking about the evening party she was about to attend, but all in vain. “Same old people, same old talk, same old sneering vanity.”Smita dismissed such thoughts and begin to ponder over her wardrobe and the dilemma she would face in deciding to wear. She began dawdling around the house, searching for snacks. She looked outside, the weather was beautiful. A cloud had covered the sun, and light breeze was flowing.
Her mind still occupied with futile thoughts about her dresses, she involuntarily stepped into the garden.
After the morning mayhem that the garden had caused in her sleep, it appeared like a peaceful after-war zone. The gardener had left the tap a little open mistakenly. A little puddle formed near the hose called her attention towards it.
She closed the tap tightly. She picked up the hose and while doing it, dirtied her hand accidently. She sat down there; broken remains of some clay houses were gaping at her like memoirs of some lost civilization. She tried picking them up, but they succumbed by her touch. Smita looked around guiltily as if she had destroyed some monument. The clay yielded under her hands. She loved the cold feel of it. She began mixing the soil and water slowly. The clay began to take different shapes, that of a hut, that of a ball, rings and figures, pots and pans. Her fingers were working meticulously; failing at times but not giving up. The clay was giving way, molding up to her desires.
And there she was for hours! A 24-year old child sitting on her haunches lost in the child-like bliss. The time had trickled drop by drop and she was entirely occupied by what she was doing. Plunged deep into the present, she had no worries of the future, no regrets of the past. Little did she realize that she was experiencing the happiness and tranquility that meditation and a myriad of expensive therapies promise to provide!
Then, the ringing of her phone broke her trance. It was already little darker by now. Smita got up hurriedly. As she was rushing back to house, she found a pair of eyes staring at her. It was the little girl from the morning. Something made her feel that the girl has been there for a while. The girl smiled shyly which made Smita stop right in her tracks. In that meeting of gaze, a feeling of camaraderie rose and an oath of secrecy was sworn mutually. Smita smiled back at her. The girl coyly withdrew and ran back to her quarters.
The next day:
Alarm was buzzing loudly. The clock displayed the time: 7 a.m. Smita woke up from the most sound sleep she had in ages. With a sudden urge, she went to the window. Looking down, she saw the old gardener bent over with his spade. In his usual grumpy mood, he was tilling the soil and continuously mumbling. “Spoilt little brat! How often do I need to shout on her!?” One blow of the spade and the clay huts collapsed. “How many times have I told her not to play her games in my prepared soil!?” Another blow and then another and all the pieces of art were back to ground zero.
Their maker stood looking by the window. Before she knew, her lips quivered and two tears silently rolled down her cheeks.
“Silly little things to cry upon…..” her own voice echoed in her mind.