MISSED YOUR BUS? BE GRATEFUL!

One can either be grateful or ungrateful, but is it possible to have a cocktail of both?

Well, there are instances when one can be gratefully ungrateful or ungratefully grateful. It depends on how one wishes to interpret such episodes.

Have you ever felt thankful for that heavy downpour because of which you could have a day off from work? There you go – you have at least once instance of being ungratefully grateful!! That rain which clogged roads and may well have been a barrier for some others, was indeed welcomed by you!

In my Post Graduation years, I had to take the intercity bus for a 30 km ride each day to the University and the same distance back again. Classes would invariably be over by 5 P.M. every day. I had four other friends for company (which made the travel a little less difficult). Bus-hunting was a daily routine. Buses did stop by the bus stop at intervals. But, we looked for less crowded buses to board (crowded buses are nightmares for all – but a lot more for females). Also, there were buses which had conductors who were reluctant to give the student fare concession. In this way we had certain criteria.

One fine evening, we had been waiting at the bus stop for more than 40 minutes without any of our familiar buses stopping by. Eventually, when one did come, it was jam-packed. My friends decided to board it anyway as there was no surety of another one coming by anytime soon. I was too reluctant – to the point that I asked them to leave if they wished to and that I would wait for some more time for a less crowded bus. One of them already had a foot on the bus and another had a had on the door railing ready to board. But, seeing my stubborn reluctance, they returned (wonderful companions) and so all five of us waited desperately for another bus to come by soon.

It was another 15-minute wait before we boarded a bus, much to our relief! The long frustrating wait of a humid summer day finally came to an end. We had hardly been seated for 20 minutes, that people began curiously looking out of the windows. I could hear the word ‘accident’ from the many voices that were commenting animatedly on the view outside. Just then, a passenger seated behind me gestured outside and said, “the bus which you were reluctant to board, but your friends were insisting, has met with an accident.” I was stunned as the information sank in! There was no loss of lives, though. The driver had lost control and the bus had skidded off the road and had rammed into a building nearby.

The passenger who gave me this piece of information had also been waiting for a bus at the bus stop and had been overhearing and watching the little drama that had unfolded among the five of us (you are being watched without your knowledge – beware!) much to his amusement, and had later got on the same bus as I and my friends did. “Had you all got into that bus, you would have met with an accident today”, he added.

I was so grateful to God that day! I had been ungratefully grumbling within myself as to why the bus that came after a long time had to be so crowded that we couldn’t board it. I also felt a bit guilty when my friends let the bus go only to stay back for me. But now, I was grateful beyond words!

I was grateful for the delay. I was grateful for the crowded bus. I was grateful that my friends got delayed because of me. I was grateful for all those events of that hour and a half, for which I had felt so ungrateful, minutes before.

Truly, there are events that come by unplanned, unasked for and entirely undesirable. But, when we put two and two together, the picture becomes quite understandable.

Since I firmly believe that each and every event in our lives happens under God’s sovereign control, I also believe that those people or events in our lives for whom/ which we are most ungrateful are the ones for whom/ which we will be grateful in the long run (only if we perceive our lives in their entirety and not in fragments).

HOPE IS ALL WE CAN

Going to the bed,
With the hope of a brand new day,
Promising to start afresh,
Without knowing what the life has to say.

Building castles, booking travels,
With the hope of reaping the benefits,
With the hope of rejoicing the places,
Savouring without bothering,
A U-turn life may be offering.

Holding the egg for 9 months whole,
With the hope of getting nature’s dole,
The Baya weaves its nest,
with the hope that the wind will rest.

Life doesn’t stop,
It doesn’t stand still.
Hope anchors our souls,
It strengthens our will.

Tomorrow may bring dark,
It may bring light.
Hope for the best because,
The sun will always shine.
For the best because,
Hope is all we can.

BEYOND THE DOORPOST

There is danger out there, my love
You’re safe in here.

 

Numerous times a day did I hear,
These lines from my mother dear.


Unaware what she meant exactly,
I often sulked dejectedly.

 

The house and the square courtyard,
Was all that I had to myself under everyone’s surveillant guard.

I loved my family,
So dared not march towards anomaly.


But their fears unspoken deep within,
And tears unshed bothered me day out and day in.


Courage had I none,
To venture out and have some fun.


The open skies beckoned with their serenity untold
The lush green orchards how I wished to behold!

There is danger out there, my love
You’re safe in here.

 

Leaving behind the years of tender childhood,
As a young man I one day stood.


Shaking my fist and bellowing loud,
I threatened to go past the ominous doorpost.


Quiet silence surrounded me,
Sad lowered eyes refused to look up at me.

A sudden gust of wind,
Brought traces of noise from outside.


In no time was a flurry of stones pelted on the windows freshly painted,
Gun shots and fire – hearing which my mother fainted.


Hours went by as we stayed securely in,
Hoping it would stop and we would save our skin.

 

The night brought with it a silence so eerie,
I heard my father step into my room with eyes bleary.

The night was long with stories of attacks ghastly,
Of lives lost and families ruined.


Of women violated,
Kids killed and mutilated.


The reason for years of safeguarding,
Now clearly stood at my face staring.

 

Clutching my blanket close to myself,
I looked at my father’s retreating poor self.

Blood seemed to gush from my veins,
And the brain threatened to hold the reins.

 

Sleep eluded . . .
Thoughts crowded . . .


As the clock struck six,
I tip-toed down the staircase.

 

Looking back at my loved ones,
Would weaken my resolution.

I looked ahead and opened the latch above my head,
Taking a deep breath I slipped out . . .

 

Beyond the doorpost . . .
Into the darkness that my mother had guarded me against, the most.

There is danger out there, my love
You’re safe in here!

 

 

(P.S. Written from the viewpoint of a youngster in a violent conflict zone of war and extremism)