You know how rain falls.
Stray drops at first, as if the cloud is still making up its mind. You stare at the cemented courtyard floor waiting to see if the black dots are increasing, wondering if it is indeed rain and not the first floor people hanging their washed linen. You look up at the clouds, and then down again. Seeing the smaller circles dry, already, but almost hoping there’s more where that came from. And then, it does come. Slowly at first, and soon enough much faster, taking over in sight and sound what was once just a dull broken floor with a tulsi plant in the corner thirsting for respite. Finally you breathe, ‘It’s raining!’ Instinctively, you inhale. Expectantly too, for you know the earth will smell good, for you. The leaves shine greener, for you. The breeze blow cooler, yes, for you.
Why not! If belief can move mountains, just imagine what contentment can flow from believing in a larger loom of goodness making weaves of happiness around you, just for you. And then, just half a breath is all it takes to send a quiet paper plane of ‘thank you’, sometimes with the destination marked, but often simply skywards charting its own path.
I don’t think I have said as many thank-you's ever in my life as I have in this month of July speeding by.
My son started formal schooling and best wishes for a boy who loves back as unconditionally as the love he receives came pouring in. My seventh wedding anniversary followed close on the heels of his big school milestone, and over mails and messages we were blessed with many years of togetherness. In walked some extra smiles, as someone’s ‘many happy returns of the day’ made our Facebook friends post birthday wishes on both the husband’s and the wife’s walls. We corrected them, of course, but thanked them too for their wishes, because each came with a ‘happy’ in it. And then, when a short story written by me saw itself in print, with a lovely book cover and a launch date complete, the excited flow of congratulations from those long lost in the play grounds of school or nooks and corners of college life had to be met with a barrage of equally elated thank-you’s in return.
Just when I thought it must be over for now …
… five friends - Ashima Saini, Sheetal Susan Jacob, Rekha Dhyani, Gayatri Aptekar and Vinodini Iyer - tagged me in a gratitude sharing chain game on Facebook. Those tagged were to post three things they were grateful about and tag three more people to further the kind ripples. Strange are the ways in which small gestures make you feel all warm inside, make you appreciate things as they stand. To have been on these people’s minds made me feel good. It also made me wonder, beyond all the music and noise that we call life, about what I truly am grateful for and to whom.
And when I say ‘Thank God’ it’s not Him alone I mean, or Her…
I also mean People.
Those who I call family and friends and those who like to be called family and my friends. Whether around all the time, or once in an important blue moon, they help me form a chain of support much like bars on a ladder which I climb – sometimes with feet planted firmly on the rungs, other times with my hands and arms taking the weight, with each muscle aching for a push from below. And getting it. A phone call, a text message or just a ‘Hi, long time!’
And even those people who recede from my life. Relationships once forged but only to die a natural death, as if the bond came with an expiry date, and reached it. Those friends of yore who took a few steps back, first, and then many more to go beyond what the naked eye can see (not memory, no) for not always can two different minds be ready to grow together? Those people conspicuous by absence on my most happy days, and on those which broke my back. A natural severing. Meant to be. And so, not a loss but as if making space for others, for how many can we carry as we move ahead in life?
Strangers too, who make their presence felt where even once is enough. That woman in a maroon and black suit who asked an old man to de-board a bus because he was behaving badly with the girl that I was in college. That guard at the school gate who calls my son ‘sir’, waving a goodbye through his big moustaches. Making me feel my son is safe. That auto driver who dropped me home, sans haggling sans cheating sans over-charging on a day Delhi swept off in the rains. And that lady who I shared the auto and broken Punjabi with, for there was a river on the road and she did not mind taking me along, making her two kids sit in her tiny lap. Thank God!
When I say ‘Thank God’ it’s not Him alone I mean, or Her…
I also mean Circumstances.
Some call them results of free will some pronounce them pre-destined. Some look for beautiful patterns in life and call them coincidences. I have had my share of each, even as I type. For how can I not say thank you for that moment which got me to write? And write again? And be read and read some more? The circumstances which seemed vile but were blessings in disguise, and those which remained so sweet I never need sugar in my coffee any more. Those situations which may mean nothing today, but may acquire meaning tomorrow. And decisions from days gone by withering away as irrelevant this day. Each, no matter how small, a fitting piece of this jigsaw puzzle we call life. Propelling it forward, or making it reach a break. All for good reason. For, what other reason can we need to believe in?
There is just so much to be thankful about today. Say, this auspicious day of Eid, when ‘On Gratitude’ took birth on my blog. And I sit flying that paper plane skywards and saying Thank You!