I am one of those people who love to gaze outside the window during drives; especially the long drives. I like watching people, places and streets that come by; it really interests me. My university is an hour drive from my place so I usually spend all this time enjoying the morning atmosphere which is very calm, beautiful and peaceful (okay! I know the last one is often not true because of the traffic). Every day the van driver follows the same route; picking boys and girls from different streets and then we head to our university. Today I am going to share an incident of my life which evolves around “the Bus Stop”
Everyday my van picks a girl from a bungalow and just at its opposite is a bus stop. We usually wait there for 5-6 minutes so I always glance towards that bus stop at the bunch of people standing there and waiting for their ride. Mostly, there used to be girls and boys of around my age standing there. One day I saw a lady standing there. Since it was the first time I saw her there so I was observing every detail about her. She seemed to be in her late forties. She was tall but a bit fat. She was dressed in a light pink cotton saari with a white blouse and she wore a pearl necklace. Her hair was done in a nice bun. She had a brown paper bag in one hand and a smart white hand bag in the other. I must say, she looked very graceful and I wondered what she was by profession. She seemed to be a teacher. From that day onwards she used to be there every day. Sometimes I saw her talking on the cell-phone and sometimes chatting or laughing with girls at the bus stop. The way I had seen her, she was a pleasant and friendly person.
So days passed and it became a usual thing to watch her every day at the bus stop. She always dressed herself in beautiful colors of saari and a matching hand bag. I realized that I was getting fond of her dressing style. We sometimes exchanged friendly looks and smiles as well. There used to be new faces too at the bus stop. Every time I saw someone new I tend to observe him/her (told you I enjoy watching people during drives). So, often I would be too busy to give her a proper look. But whenever I did I always sensed a feeling of warmness; I really didn’t know why.
One day after we left the bus stop I realized that I had not seen that lady there. Thinking that I might not have paid attention, I took my head out a little from the window and looked back at the bus stop…she wasn’t really there. It was the first time in three months that she didn’t show up at the bus stop. “Maybe she over slept”, I made a quick guess to myself. Satisfied with my own reckoning, I continued gazing outside the window. Next day I was somehow looking forward to reach the bus stop so that I can see the lady there (I was not liking the change in my usual routine you see). But I didn’t know disappointment was waiting for me at the bus stop because she was not there again. “Maybe she is on a leave”, my quick assumption again. I didn’t give it a second thought and continued to look out for the remaining drive to university.
For the next four days that lady remained to be not-present at the bus stop. On the seventh day, I was seriously wondering that what happened to her. Is she sick? Very sick? Did she change her route? Changed her job? Did she leave this city or country? And then almost at the same time I said to myself “Why do I care? Whether she is sick or she changed her route or whatever… who am I to worry about it?” I know nothing about that woman; nothing besides the assumptions or conclusions I have drawn on my own just by observing her. After all, she was just a stranger from the bus stop! I didn’t even know her name. Then why was I so bothered about her not being there at the bus stop? She was “nobody” to me. Okay, maybe it was normal for me to wonder why she was not there at the bus stop but worrying about her was definitely not normal. Then why can’t I just be…normal about it? WHY!!! By the time I reached university I was really upset and it was very much evident on my face (as few of my friends asked me if I was OK).
Later in my Philosophy class, we were discussing “What is a Human Being?” We were looking this question from different perspectives given by different philosophers. While discussing all this, we also talked about an important aspect of human nature i.e. “We don’t love someone in their absolute singularity, we always love something about someone”. I realized it was so true and obvious. We love or like someone for some of their traits like sincerity, daring, caring, intelligent etc or features like tall, fair, good-looking etc. Similarly you dislike someone for something. A person in its absolute singularity is nothing but just a body of flesh and bones. There I got all my answers for what I felt for that lady at the bus stop.
By seeing her every day at the bus stop I had developed a sense of familiarity with her so, how can she be a complete stranger to me (so you see, she was not some stranger from the bus stop)? Although, I didn’t know anything about her or her life but I knew few things about her personality. Whether those assumptions were right or wrong, that doesn’t really matter. After all people, whom we know very well (or at least we claim to know well), often turn out to be a completely different person. Therefore, it wasn’t really a matter of how authentic my assumptions were.
To me she was a friendly, pleasant and graceful looking woman who gave me a feeling of warmness and that is why I liked her. The truth was that she had become a tiny part of my life; meeting (as in seeing) her everyday as a lively and graceful woman at the bus stop and then saying an unspoken (unconscious) goodbye. Moreover, we did have a very important relation; the relation that we all often don’t give much importance in fact we don’t really consider it a relation. It is the relation of humanity. Is it really important to have some well-defined relation with someone? Can’t we care about someone just because he/she is a human? Can’t we care about people because they seem to be a good human being even if we know nothing about them? At this point maybe most of you will say “Of course we can!” but in reality most of us don’t really do so. We adore the celebrities of the entertainment or fashion world; we pray for their well-being and love them like crazy. Celebrities who “look” stunning on television. Celebrities who often “act” to be a good human being in front of media. Then why liking or caring for an ordinary human being becomes so hard for us?
I realized that it was wrong of me to think of her as “nobody” to me. She was not just any person I see during drives. I mean, I see hundreds of people every day when I am out on drive; whether its day time or night-time. But of all those people, she became somewhat special. So, she wasn’t “nobody” to me, She was a good human being to me.
Till today whenever we reach that bus stop my eyes tend to search that lady there but I never saw her again. I don’t know what happened to her but wherever she is I truly pray that she is safe, healthy and happy.
Think about it. I am sure most of you can relate to it. Someone you don’t know but you see him/her everyday; maybe at work, at college or at grocery store. It could be anyone and be anywhere (he can even be your building’s watchman, no seriously). Anyone who gives you a feeling of warmness. Anyone whom you admire or are fond of for any reason (their appearance, good nature etc). You feel like knowing them more, you feel like being friends with them. Every person, about whom you don’t know much, is not a STRANGER.