I don’t know when or how but slowly and slowly I have learnt to “let go”. I wasn’t sure if letting go would be as easy as it seemed when I read in number of books. And I waited to apply it practically… but things like “let go”, “live and let live” doesn’t happen in a particular day or a time… it happens gradually and its only when you have time for yourself to look back into the days gone by that you realize it. And it never did seem tough at all. I said to myself, “… its time… its age… its maturity… letting go things is easy… not that dangerous…” Dangerous would be an overstatement… but a little pep-talk to oneself do no harm? Does it?
An incident however did override my much “let go” philosophy … momentarily … if not for eternity.
It dates back to the year 2006. My job meant I had to travel extensively. And the two constant companions I had with me always were – 1) my portable music player & 2) my hip flask. Being assaulted by jaundice once I vowed to carry water from home only.
I am not at all a morning person. And as much as I loved my job I hated to wake up early to catch a flight or rush to the cab waiting outside my home in the morning with the same integrity.
It was the month of June and even at five in the morning it looked as if half the day had already passed. I was on my way to Tezpur for a training session. I reached the bus stop and waited for about thirty minutes. It was such a mad rush waking up and getting all my bearings in places that there was no time for a cup of tea. As I enquired I was told the bus would be late. So I walked down to a nearby tea stall and had a cup of tea. It rejuvenated me instantly. By the time I was done with my tea, the bus reached and I hopped on it and soon was on my way to work. I put my earphones, pressed the “play” button on my mp3 player and soon I went off to sleep. After covering a distance roughly 180 kms and two and half hours later we reached Nogaon. The busses usually halted here for about 20 minutes. I was still not fully awake but I knew this route, the stoppages and my bag so well that i really didn’t have to open my eyes to put my hands inside my bag and take out the hip flask. But alas! There was something wrong this time. I couldn’t find it. By now I was fully awoke and I looked inside my bag yet I couldn’t find it… I took out all the things, yet the flask was nowhere in sight. I felt lost. I felt alone. I knew it was just a flask, but this same flask had been a great companion to me and now when it went missing I was almost devastated. I couldn’t recall where I left it. And I had to “let go”. Wasn’t that easy? No… not really… because I was so attached to it. But then I thought maybe it had served its purpose and it was time to let go the flask.
Days passed by and like a love story gone sour and eventually tasteless; memories of the hip flask too faded away.
Almost a year later, I was in the same bus stand, but this time I wasn’t going anywhere. I was there to receive somebody and it was late in the evening. The waiting game is surely a tough one especially when you have mosquitoes swarming all over you and you are surrounded with strange faces mostly gazing blankly into their cell phones.
I am a big time caffeine addict if you permit me to say. So I walked down to the same tea stall and ordered a cup of coffee. I sipped my coffee as slowly as I could because once this activity would be over I didn’t have anything interesting to do except wait for someone’s arrival. As I finished the last drop of coffee and settled the bill, the guy over the counter looked into me for a while and then asked, “Madam, I remember you. You have come to my tea stall earlier also.” I felt so important that moment! At least somebody so unknown too recognized me! I said I did. As he was handing me the change he asked me to wait for a while. “Is this yours?”, he continued saying as he took out a hip flask that looked like my long lost and almost forgotten buddy. I couldn’t believe my eyes… and I didn’t have to examine it like a pathologist in a lab. I recognized it as much I’d recognize my new born baby amidst hundreds of new-borns in a nursery. I said, “Yes, this is mine!”
The shopkeeper took out a cloth and wiped it proper and handed over to me. He told me, “I wanted to call you back to hand you the flask but you already had boarded the bus. I kept waiting and thought one day you’d come and looking for it. But it’s been a year or so now. But still I thought I’ll keep this and hand it over to its rightful owner no matter how long I’d have to wait. But today when I saw you walking down towards my shop, I wasn’t sure whether it was you. You look different. But then something in me said this must be you…”
I could not thank him enough. He just made my day. It was like finding back one’s lost love. The happiness and joy at that moment was far more than what would I have felt if I were gifted diamonds.
As I thanked him I bowed my head down slightly, a small gesture to let him know how much this meant to me.
As I write down this I must tell you, I haven’t been to that tea stall again. There hasn’t been a reason. But yes, I’ll still recognize the nice guy who kept my flask with such care for so long.
And if you are wondering what happened to the flask… well… something more interesting will follow soon…