What is it that makes us human? What is it that makes us feel things that others cannot? What is it that makes us cry? When all is said and done, what is the one thing that we always remember? The passion we had or the passion we saw for ourselves in someone else’s eyes. The warmth in our mother’s hug, the care in our father’s eyes, the unsaid and everlasting bond between our friends, that smile on someone’s lips that outshone our day or the single most emotion that defines us all. Pride!!!
It was a Saturday evening with dark satanic clouds hovering over the city and I was busy searching for a tea stall. Seven months since I had attended the marriage of a girl who had promised to spend her life with an atrocious person like me. Well, that was the past now. The present was much better filled with a glass of hot tea on a hustling traffic signal that was echoing with horns and roaring engines. The future, well it was constant just like my blood sucking emotions. I was on a bridge that was pivoted between the past and the future and I was crucified in the present. Crucified with humanity and its plethora of false assumptions about living in general. Lost in these voluptuous thoughts I glanced across the street and saw a woman with a child in her hand. Unknowingly I burnt my tongue with the tea, it was freaking hot!!! I wagged my tongue like a new born pup and jumped around withholding the burning sensation. I quietly placed the tea on the vendor’s stall and looked around. The woman had crossed the street by now and was directly standing in front of me. A child in her hand and another probably on the way I assumed by observing her belly. I always had been a keen observer or so I thought. She was panting and her hair was wet, the drizzle had already commenced. She looked out of sorts. I observed her again, it was not her beauty that struck me, and it was entirely a different picture. I never had looked at a woman in that particular sense. I always scanned through her hair, tied or curly? Her eyes, big and beautiful? Lips, can she pout? Her caricature and her desirability. I never observed all these things with her. I saw a wrinkled hand that meant she worked like a horse at home, a dress starched beyond recognition that meant it was years ago that she had a new a pair of clothes, no sign of any jewelry and the child in her hand adorned in make-shift clothes. She had a sense of frustration on her face and her forehead spoke of what she was and had been through in her life. I also saw an umbrella protruding out of her big basket like handbag. With an intention to help her I reached out to her.
“Let me hold the child till you open your umbrella” She stared at me for a few seconds and then looked at her child. She walked towards the temporary stone bench adjacent to the wall and softly placed her child like a doll on it. She opened her Umbrella and smiled at me.
“No offence to you. Today you will help me because you seem like a good person but there are not many good souls around as you know. Tomorrow who will help me and my child? You will not come every day. I have raised this kid from the past two years all alone and I am sure I can take care of him and myself. I am sure you had no wrong intentions.” I smiled back at her and looked at the child. He had not stopped smiling since the moment I had seen him across the road. Perhaps he was like his mother. I started enjoying my tea again as she walked away with her child. I saw her sandals this time. The strap on the left feet was completely torn off and the sole of the right feet had ripped off partially yet she walked with pride accompanied by her child. The tea was still hot but it did not affect my tongue this time. I returned to my thoughts, those were my only possession as of now.
What is it that makes us human? All that money we run behind, all that fame we want to garner for ourselves. What is it is that makes us cry? A loved one’s loss or our inability to control our emotions. I feel it is our need for sympathy, our need for love and our inability to accept things. Those thirty seconds with the woman changed my perception. She would not give her child even for a second to anyone, she would have suffered herself but never compromised her independence. Perhaps her struggles had taught her so. Her life had imbibed pride in her, never to depend on others and never ever let people say what they had done for her. Maybe, it was time for me to move on as well, move on from a nincompoop’s lifestyle and grab time while I still had it. What really makes us humans is not the emotions that we feel, it is much more than that and to be frank very simple indeed. We have an ability to keep the emotions we want and discard what we do not. The woman chose pride above all and I had chosen regret all this time. The tea was cold by now and I decided to waste more than half of the contents. I searched for the woman again in the crowd. She was nowhere. The drizzle had transformed into a heavy shower by now and I slowly walked towards my room drenching in rain as well as some humanistic thoughts induced by a cup of tea and a stranger.