At the end of a rainbow

Lucy found her diamond sky

Jhal muri philosophy

on January 24, 2012

The other day, I found myself standing next to a group of what seemed like slum dwellers at a prominent metro station. Since it is not the cheapest mode of travel, I was rather curious if they had actually bought travel coupons or had sneaked in to get shelter. Other travelers seemed visibly annoyed at the anomaly and were borderline horrified when the entire bunch climbed into the train. The ragamuffins quickly scrambled onto some seats and other travelers preferred to to give up their seats rather than brush their dress against the rags of our amused friends. They seemed to have been planning the metro trip for a while as they had come well prepared with chocolate pieces and bottles of coke much to the disdain of other travelers. They didn’t seem perturbed in the least though; they were having the ride of a lifetime after all! The kids rolled under the seats, the older ones tried playing hide and seek in the crowd, mothers breastfed the youngest ones and basically this was almost a carnival for them. What a change of scene it was! After days of observing stoic, blank faces and plugged ears suddenly myriad shades of humanity were being painted in front my eyes. These poor people were in all possibility going to spend the cold night on roads. Yet they preferred to dwell in the happiness of present rather than drown in the miseries of an uncertain future. I wondered if I saw a trace of jealousy behind the contemptuous eyes of the passer byes or a small smile of empathy even as they covered their face to block the stench of dirty clothes.  I guess they were searching for the elusive iota happiness that had somehow escaped their grasp as they became better at catching other things in life. Now they saw it in a group of beggars and were perhaps left wondering where could they have gone wrong …

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3 responses to “Jhal muri philosophy

  1. sid says:

    I am speechless… 🙂

  2. Bharath Hariharan says:

    On a slightly unrelated note, it is kind of sad though that many people (including me of course, by a wide margin) would stare in ill-disguised contempt or disgust, whenever a group of people like that climb into the Metro train. As if the Metro train is some bastion of the privileged!

  3. Well, it’s just symbolic of the fact that the mental divide needs to be addressed rather than an economic one. Real equality can never be achieved by superficial policies and schemes. A Buddhist parable wisely urges people to strive to accumulate the ‘treasures of heart’. It happens to be a rare commodity nowadays…! 🙂

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