Aug 28, 2011

That smile from her!

I am an avid reader of books by a few authors like Cecilia Ahern, Stephenie Meyer, John Grisam etc. During this India visit I had to go for a small surgery and for passing the time during my recovery my husband bought me another book by Cecilia Ahern. The book is named 'The Gift'. 

Its the story of a man named Lou Suffern who is engrossed in his work to the extent of ignoring everything & everybody else. One day, all of a sudden he spares a glance to a homeless man who sits & begs near his office building. Lou everyday passes by the same street but never ever he has paid any attention to this man, named Gabriel (Gabe). That day, one of the chilly snowy winter morning near Christmas in NewYork, Lou gives Gabe a cup of coffee and talks something with him. Don't know why and don't know he feels Gabe is 'him'. He sees himself in this homeless man. No comparisons could be drawn by anybody else by looking at the two men but he sees himself in this shabby creature. He later on ends up giving him the job in his office as a mail delivery man. He is amazed by Gabe's quickness to do things, and how he smiles intriguely at him. 

Without going in further details of this story between Lou and Gabe, I just want to convey the message that it is a story of two different persons at two different positions and situations in their life and how one day they get related to each other influencing and impacting each other's life in an unsurpassing and unimaginable way. The story I have read till now gives me one clear picture.... TWO DIFFERENT MEN, SITTING DIAGONALLY TO EACH OTHER.

From, here I want to commence my post (well, it was not about Cecilia's book review or story details)---

Two days ago, a bit recovered from my surgery I went with my husband to a very famous temple in our town- 'Annapurna Mandir' which is architecturally based on South-Indian temples. Its a beautiful one and I don't remember when I last visited any temples! It was the time of the afternoon, the temple was relatively empty and also wet after the heavy rain in the morning and last few days. After visiting one of the dieties, my husband and daughter started playing inside a big hall, and I came outside & sat on the entrance of that small temple hall. On my other side, just in front of my face, was sitting a women with a mobile in her hand. When we were entering the temple, I noticed her and I also noticed the sign board 'beware of the shoe-thieves'. I noticed these two facets  together and suddenly I was apprehensive of leaving my footwear (which I bought back in France and is one of my favourites) but I thought ok, may be if it was to go away, it will be taken otherwise it will stay with me :) ....I went inside, after the 'darshan' I came back & found both the women and my footwear...nobody and nothing was gone. I sat at the stairs.
   After a few minutes this women, nearly 38 (I think) gives me a smile (oh my was one of the most softest smiles I had ever seen). She was wearing a faded pink and grey salwar-suit, ragged, her hair was unkempt and she looked talking to herself. I was amazed ...'everybody had mobiles' as I saw her constantly busy with her red handset. Well, I smiled back at her. After a few more minutes, she asked me, 'madam, do you work in a office', I nodded and then she asked me 'where do I work'? I was very calm that day and so calmly told her I live outside India and I work in the field of computers. She made a face like 'Wow!'. OK...then after she again became bus with her mobile. I asked her then, 'what do you do?'..Anyone could have taken as a house maid..but I dont know why I wanted to ask her this. Well...I was not given any answer. She pretended she didn't hear or I knew she don't want to answer. After 5 more minutes, she asked me if I like in Indore (my hometown)..then I told her its my birth place and its only a few years I have been living outside India.I saw her interested in this conversation, so I asked her again where she works. To my amazement, she didn't answer. Now, some passersby of that small temple, looked to me in bewilderment like whom I am talking to. Then she spoke....यह कैसा जीवन है, सुबह शाम काम करने के बाद भी वो नहीं कर पाते जो करना चाहते है. She told..सुबह उठो, खाना बनाते बनाते ही दिन के १-२ बज जाते है, फिर कुछ और काम, फिर शाम का खाना और सो जाओ. वक्त और दिन दोनों खत्म. जीवन यू ही निकल रहा है, कब करे जो जीवन मे करना चाहते है!!!!

I was tempted to give this so true words an instant thought and also because it came from a very ordinary looking women who looked poor, needy, distressed and self-engrossed in her own world of problems and harshness of this world. I dont know why the two characters of 'the Gift', Lou and Gabe came to my mind. They were two different persons, sitting at opposite ends of life....I dont know why I also felt sitting at opposite ends to her. It was ironic as we sat at opposite sides of the stairs at the entrance of the temple yet i think we impacted each other's life in some way. I liked talking to this unknown lady where people looked at me with strange glares as if I was talking to no one. It wont be too much to say if I said this small talk comforted me and left me behind with a contentment of conversing with somebody. Finally, it was time to go and I said my farewell words to her- 'अच्छा, अपना ध्यान रखना' and once again she gave me that smile which I can't forget even now while writing this post.


  1. :) you are so sensitive and insightful.. hope you recover completely from your surgery :) take care

  2. hey that's something i've gone through. It's strange how the book comes alive when something similar happens in reality. That's one reason why i don't treat fiction only as fiction. Sometimes fiction is so true and other times truth is stranger than fiction.
    i remember how i got into a conversation with a guy at Shankar Netralaya perceiving him to be a gentleman as he was in his army uniform and the next thing i realized was that i was dealing with was one nasty, creepy telephone stalker who wanted to have dinner with me. i learnt my lesson well and just to share and warn anyone who could stumble into the same precarious situation unwittingly, i have the entire experience in one of my blogs.Don't exactly remember which one but just in case u r interested i could rummage through and pass you the link.
    Glad that u met a good and kind stranger who connected with you and offered her warmth.
    Wish you speedy recovery.TC :)

  3. @Shivani...Can you direct me that post of yours? Thanks.