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Blissful Louisville evenings and flashback in childhood!!!

Summer of 2016
Summer of 2016

All those people who were born in and before the eighties or up to early nineties would relate with this article.

“The biggest gift” we got while we were young (in age) and in teenage was the lack of technology. To rephrase it in better way would be; lack of modern day applications and especially internet, which paradoxically gave us the opportunity to live in real world, rather than relying on virtual reality.

 

Television had just 2 channels, mind was prepared to be happy with what was available and offered by them. Now, with over 200 channels, it takes hours to recognize how confused we are what we intended to see in first place. Lack of mobile phones and social (or rather anti-social) applications ensured that we were connected to near and dear ones “face to face”. When words like “tag” and “poke” had literal physical meaning. When parents wanted to GPS (track) their kids, which meant “go play safe”, the only tracker was faith, which magically worked, always. “World was safer, back then”.

The most interesting feature was the evening time. The only available & limited time, which felt hours passing by as minutes. This was the most valuable time where all the practical lessons of life were learnt indeed; as if it were the playground of life… Fights, friends, conflicts, emotions – all of it existed together and were resolved at the very same place and same times, often. Neither there was scope, nor need to carry the baggage of redundant emotions while returning back home. Letting GO, was a manageable affair those days, and it came so naturally upon us.

Though the depressing time was the buzzer time, to go home, it was interesting how it existed. Cause we never had mobile phones or pagers and every watch displayed a different time as per the owners convenience which we kids conveniently ignored if left at our own will 🙂 . As ‘evening dawned’ (which can be called as dusk in easier terms) we knew the time to go home is coming nearer. The buzzer time was never really the buzzer but the street light. Yes, street lights. They could never be wrong and later than THE TIME TO GO HOME! It always felt as if they were programmed and managed by some group which must have been the association of parents who were determined to see their kids sad, since it was time to square off the play and go back home. As time went by, and years passed on, liberty to stay out for longer hours came naturally; and time-line kept getting extended. However, still, till date – every dusk, my mind tells me “it’s time to get home” and sometimes it is a good feeling. Because that means there is a home and someone might be waiting back there.

I still remember those long summer evenings, which were also the time of the year when we got the summer break from schools. It was the wonderful time to visit native place and have mangoes. My all time favorite has been the Alphonso mango, as rights called as the king of mangoes. Now that I spent my second consecutive summer in Louisville, the evening here are long and you can see the sun go down at 9:30 PM… WOW what a feeling… The child in me just elates every-time to watch the sun go down so late.. I wish this was the case when I was a kid, but the good thing is the child in me is still alive and loves this experience!!!

AND…sometimes it is worth missing what you think you are really missing!!!

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On a strange journey, where one wouldn’t really expect much of a surprise, I learnt and experienced a fantastic lesson, to be happy. Of course we all know what happiness is and how to be happy, don’t we? But also, the aspect of finding happiness in everything is a great ability indeed, which is an art to master.

The stranger, bus driver of “78X Bluegrass Express” in Louisville, was a remarkable teacher to teach a lesson or two, on how to live life, worth much beyond the trip cost. Though I traveled with him only for few days, not even weeks, I never failed to feel warmth and charisma in his attitude. It would be very difficult to figure out if it was start of his shift or the last trip for the day, such was his enthusiasm. At every stop I saw him welcoming passengers aboard with the same enthusiasm. His welcoming was as loud and positive as though every person standing outside might want to travel in this bus, at least once.

My mind was pondering about a lot of things, especially, since that I took an active break from my financial and corporate job, wherein I had spent 9 years, and they now looked quiet lesser, in terms of when I imagined the age of my bus driver. He must have been easily in his late fifties or so, there was no reason and need for him to be so welcoming and waste his energy, like the other bus drivers. They all knew, every passenger gets in- for his journey and would be out eventually, when his/her destination arrives. With most of my colleagues and sometimes even myself finding it so difficult to carry the burden of being happy with such less time spent at job and with the job. So at first my mind wondered WHY WAS HE SO HAPPY? And What is he so happy about!!!

I would recollect my colleagues and friends, back when I used to work, who were often easily dissatisfied with job, position, travel and incentives, which I never understood or failed to realize. It was a simple concept that you work for salary and for that you have to give your best. Incentives were and should have been the extra bonuses which you win for being extra-ordinary in the results achieved. How could your efforts vary depending on the incentives (including other aspects like position etc) you may earn or earned? AND here, it was this gentleman who was working relentlessly, shouting in enthusiasm often striking a conversation or two with his fellow passengers, giving his best, knowing that irrespective of 5 or 50 (passengers), the outcome (& his income) was fixed.

(It was like, we all know, how it feels when we come across a person who is truly contended in life, their aura speaks for themselves and we enjoy being around them, but they don’t have to necessarily entertain us, for contentment is their personal achievement), But here, I always found him as if it were his motto, not just to be happy but make others happy. And the best part was, it didn’t really matter how many times the passengers may have given him a cold shoulder or felt in similar way for him.

I remember, how many times we throw tantrums and pretend the sky has fallen, when things don’t go right (which may happen often) when our days at work (or other place) are not good. We often fail to show the clear enthusiasm towards work and assignment, which arrives during the last hour of the day. It is always so easy not to be happy and show lack of enthusiasm, I realized, whereas when I traveled both ways after an 8 hours shift with this new teacher of mine, never did it occur that he might have had a rough day or too much of traffic at all. Here my mind was now asking me a different question – HOW COULD HE BE SO HAPPY?!!!

(May be) We have been conditioned in a way to drain off our energy towards the end of day, or just pretend we really had a long hard day at work. We are so used to missing. Missing energy, enthusiasm, attitude, positivity and eventually missing the essence of life. I have heard this so often from people complaining about missing their town, their food, their expectations and their desires.

Well clearly, not realizing that what we all often miss is this moment. So what if, there are hurdles in your daily routine, if you don’t really end up in life where you wanted to be? Is this not success or the ability to be in the moment, and being happy- with yourself and with everyone around is the joy of happiness…. When your dreams are real, you may work for them relentlessly, so is the case with “want to be happy”, you will make everything it takes to make yourself happy, which starts with enjoying every moment in hand, and not just acquiring those materialistic joys and fulfilling your mental desires.

We all have made so many goals and expectations in our life that we fail to give happiness any room in this grand plan or make happiness our real ambition. If only, we knew what we really want in the end, we all would know, what we are craving and missing today – sometimes it is worth missing it. Lets learn to enjoy this moment in hand, it is never too late to learn the joy of happiness.

Shri

August 5th 2016, Louisville