Light a Candle
A story I read today
One late evening a few weeks ago, we were returning for a wedding reception of a friend. We got into a crowded bus as there were no empty cabs, it was already late and the next bus was almost half an hour later. We could hardly move past a few steps from the entrance and had to stand there holding the posts. Our five year old daughter fell asleep standing, so my husband lifted her up. I looped my hand around him for support.
Now, people with kids would know the trouble of carrying a sleeping five year old in a moving vehicle. For the others, it’s like carrying a giant floppy jelly that either threatens to slide right off your shoulder or slide down from your arms or both at the same time with every twist and turn and every break or sudden acceleration. I looked around to see if someone would offer a seat.
There were many young people sitting on reserved seats. Seats designated for senior citizens, the disabled, pregnant women or people with children. Occasionally one of them would glance up from their stupor of mindlessly playing on their mobile phones and glance down as if they had seen nothing. The people around us were also not very considerate. Few more surrounding were also displaying body language that conveyed a range of emotions but none of it was kindness. We cribbed for a while on how people could be a little more considerate.
After what seemed like eternity, the bus reached the next stop when a middle-aged Malay lady happened to look up and spot us struggling. She immediately got up and offered her seat. Though she did not speak any English and we her language, I am sure she understood our heartfelt thanks.
The next day, I read a post by one of our ILites in the News Forum about Railway Complaint Number. What I struck me most is the fact that he had taken the effort to register a complaint when he was faced with inconvenience and not just cursed and criticised the whole system and the officials. Also this very powerful quote hit me like a bucket of cold water,
“There is no use in cursing the darkness around you, do light a candle however small it be, it gives an inspiration and ten more candles will be lit . The process continues reducing the darkness.”
Yes, I had cursed and criticised the inconsiderateness of my co-passengers but had done nothing to change it.
On the way back from office, I was engrossed in my book, but at every stop I looked up to see if someone boarding needed a seat, and when one did, I quickly got up and offered my seat. On the consecutive stop, I saw an old man get in and scan the bus for empty seats. I was standing near a college kid’s seat who was totally absorbed in some loud music that was spilling out of his headset. I gently tapped him on the shoulder and suggested that he should offer his seat to the old man. For a minute I was scared that he was going to give me a nasty retort, but he just shrugged and got up. When the old man thanked him, the kid sneaked a shy smile in my direction.
Yes, it is worth lighting the candle!!