After a long time, I went for a stroll in the park. There weren’t many people there, just one couple jogging ahead of me. It was 5:45 a.m. and I was wearing a blue colored Track suit with my headphones on listening to “Stressed Out” track from Twenty One Pilots. I had been there barely for 15 mins and I was already thinking of returning back home. What was I thinking getting out this early only to inhale the polluted air of New Delhi? But, then I remembered my sister’s statement from last night. She had already challenged me that I would be back within 30 minutes, and if I lost I will have to cook breakfast for her. So, in order to keep up with the challenge I decided to stay there a little longer and started walking again.
A while later an old couple showed up with their grand-kids. The couple was in their late 60’s, the little girl around 6 and the boy around 3. As they entered, the silence of the park broke and there was giggling, shouting and fighting over who will get to ride the bicycle first. I got annoyed with all the shouting, frowned at them and increased the volume of the music. I started walking again, when suddenly I got pushed by a bicycle from behind. It was that little girl. She started giggling again and left. I was expecting an apology but it is too much to expect from a 6 year old. I just gave a dirty look to her grandparents and moved ahead. I was just about to lose my control when she hit me a second time but then I recalled my mom saying to me, “It is not good to shout at kids.” Not sure if the voice was of mom but every time I am angry I think she is the one who keeps me under control. That’s how I remember her, always doing the errands for others, listening to everyone, never complaining but holding grudges. Anyway, I just moved out of the track and sat at a nearby bench.
The nearby temple had opened up for morning prayers. I could hear the prayer bells ringing. More kids had come to the park now adding to the noise and my phone’s volume couldn’t go any louder, so I had to turn off the music and remove my earphones. As I removed the earphones, the loud soothing sound of the conch from the temple sounded clearer. Apparently, it wasn’t the right time to put on the earphones when the nature itself is singing. The chirping of the birds, gentle hustle of the wind and the giggles of the children didn’t sound that bad. As I started observing, I saw that little girl on the bike. I saw that she was ringing her cycle’s bell to enable others to give her the way and I wouldn’t have been hit if I hadn’t got the music on. I observed how her grandparents have tricked her brother into thinking “why ride the bicycle, when you can fly the plane?” There he was, flying across the park with his arms open. Two other kids were standing on the bricks, with their arms open telling their mother that they were skating. She said to her husband, “See how their imagination flies.” He laughed and replied, “You fool, they are telling you that they need skates.” I laughed too. I opened my phone’s camera to capture this moment but this wasn’t a hashtag moment, it was just a regular morning. So, I kept my phone inside my pocket and just witnessed the life around me.
At 6:30 a.m., my phone beeped. It was a message from my sister, “Come home now. You won.” It was time to return back. As I was returning, I saw the temple on my way. I am not a very religious person and I haven’t been to any temple in the past year. However, that morning I couldn’t stop myself. I walked the stairs of the temple, rang the bell and got a chandan tika on my forehead. The priest in the temple asked me to say my prayers and then get the Prasad. I didn’t know any prayers and I didn’t know if there is really a God but that morning I bowed down and said my thanks for this beautiful morning.
As I was returning home, it got me thinking that how we keep on accumulating materialistic things thinking they would make us happy. We never leave our mobile phones at home, instead we keep on getting additional gadgets with it to look cooler. How we plan stupid parties and trips to escape life and then how we complain that someone ruined that for us? Maybe, we don’t need that. Maybe it just takes a regular boring morning to make us happy. Maybe we need to get rid of our gadgets for a while to actually get to know someone who is living in the neighborhood. Maybe we just need to have a little faith in us to stop stressing over every little thing. Maybe we need to be thankful for what we have now rather than always pushing for more and ending up unsatisfied.
I ringed my doorbell. My sister opened up the door. I hugged her and she said, “I know, you won. You don’t need to rub it in my face now. I will make the breakfast.” I smiled and said, “That’s right, but tell me what you want to eat, I will cook.”