As always, as I was travelling to work, my bus was stuck in a red-light behind a huge line of vehicles in such a way that it was doubtful if it would make it before the red again. I had the music on in my FM and was half between sleep and thoughts when suddenly it caught my eyes. Well, not exactly “caught” because I have been through this path almost daily for two whole years. But today somehow the cursory glance outside the window made me look properly as somehow the sight in front of me was exactly in sync with the thoughts in my head, at that moment.
Between two huge corporate buildings with their unnaturally clean walk-ways and windows, nestled almost in their shadow was a v-shaped dark lane. That house was the first in that lane, facing the road. It’s not much a house than a hut with dried palm and coconut leaves as roof. The bricked walls of the house were cemented with sand (or that’s the look it had) and no paint. The house simply appeared to be single roomed. Outside, near to the entrance to the house, on the floor, a small circular clearing had been made, swept deeply clean and stained with water and adored with a beautiful kolam. The beauty of the fresh wet-sand and the think white lines on it was eye-catching. To complete the picture of the house was the line of asbestos stuck continuously to form a fence kind of thing. Inside the make believe compound wall, on the left side of the house a huge plant, very pregnant with flowers was throwing few of them down when it swayed to the gentle breeze caused by the crossing of vehicles in the road. On the other side, in a make-do garage, there was a tall iron pole with assorted junk materials at its foot, towering above the house. From the pole hung a huge rope supporting a heavy tire at its free end, and a small boy of 5-6 years was swinging from it. Another child around the age of 10-11 was lying on the floor just inside the main door with books and notebooks about her. Her mother was sitting just on the other side of the tin door sieving and cleaning rice on a muram. All three of them seemed to be holding some conversation. The sound of TV from inside the house drowned their voices.
Somehow this picture is stuck in my head. I don’t know these people. I don’t know their life’s ups and downs to comment on them. But yeano I feel jealous of them. Could be my imagination, but I’m awed by their simple lifestyle. I’m tempted to compare my own with that of them. No worries about the maid coming in at time, no worries to ready the child and self in time for the pick-up buses, no worries about day-care, no worries about travel and tickets and luggage, no worrying about exercise and reduce/ maintain weight for better health and heart, no irritation at having to “decide” everything and then agonizing over the decision to work, no censure on what you do with your life, not being judged because you took a step to do the thing that you felt is right for you, no worries about too much worrying, no stress to keep you up at night, not skipping a moment of clarity to celebrate love nor mourn the loss of one, no need to plan for the weekend to actually live the life, no need to schedule romances, not a want for time-tabling and engaging every moment of the day, no pressure to be constantly available through mobile, email, social net and other headaches and finally no stressing about ‘where I’m and where I’m going and where will I be’, no constant struggle between ‘what I want and what I have’ and regretting the choices, not hating the availability of so many options to choose from, no inane thirst to prove self worth and at some point confused as to ‘whom I should prove it to anyway’, not being content with the hard earned luxury and so being unhappy because of that.
Ah! The pleasures of simple life; the contentment of having only the most basic of things! I believe I would have been happier if I were to have lived in the 50s and 60s when choices were limited and even with limited options that were there, life was fairly guided and priorities were hard set and life was accepted as it was. The picture in my head is the perfect setting. Wistful thinking, it is - a simple land to call home, two children to call me mMa, a husband to tend for me, a life to live and love, a family to love me for what I’m, friends to call on me and being all this much more to them in return. Money, success in society, name and fame and growth and what-nots can all wait for all I care.
காணி நிலம் வேண்டும் பராசக்தி காணி நிலம் வேண்டும் - அங்குத்
தூணில் அழகியதாய் நன்மாடங்கள் துய்ய நிறத்தினவாய் - அந்தக்
காணி நிலத்திடையே ஓர் மாளிகை கட்டித் தர வேண்டும் - அங்குக்
கேணியருகினிலே தென்னைமரம் கீற்றும் இளநீரும்
பத்துப் பன்னிரெண்டு தென்னைமரம் பக்கத்திலே வேணும் - நல்ல
முத்துச் சுடர் போலே நிலாவொளி முன்பு வரவேணும் - அங்குக்
கத்தும் குயிலோசை சற்றே வந்து காதிற் படவேணும் - என்றன்
சித்தம் மகிழ்ந்திடவே நன்றாய் இளந்தென்றல் வரவேணும்
பாட்டுக் கலந்திடவே அங்கே ஒரு பத்தினிப் பெண் வேணும் - எங்கள்
கூட்டுக் களியினிலே கவிதைகள் கொண்டு தர வேணும் - அந்தக்
காட்டு வெளியினிலே அம்மா நின்றன் காவலுற வேணும் - என்றன்
பாட்டுத் திறத்தாலே இவ்வையத்தைப் பாலித்திட வேணும்