Thursday, May 23, 2013

A mango - Breaking invisible boundaries

Yesterday, I went to a store to buy some vegetable. Seeing beautiful mangoes, on a spur I bought a few. A gentleman before me literally looked at every mango before selecting about 6 of them. After waiting for 5 min, I decided to quickly pick up the mangoes that 'felt' right. If these were not good then I would change them. So 4 came up quickly. Then there was one, which I realised I did not want, nevertheless 'felt' like picking up. So 5 mangoes came up with me to the cashier!

This is the story of that 5th mango!

After I came out of the store, I was debating within myself whether to go after my husband shopping in another nearby store or wait in the car. As I stood there unsure of what to do next, I noticed a girl of about 13 looking at me. She was part of a small family at what seemed their old paper mart / kabadi shop. ( For those who cant figure what it is - it is about 10ft x2 ft shop stacked with old newspapers bought from ppl like us and sold for a few rupees profit to recycling orgs). In her seemed to be an old, empty jewellery box from some jeweler, no doubt discarded by somebody better off. She was caressing the velvet where a necklace would have been. Her father and younger brother around busy with other 'junk'.

Seeing me and touching the velvet, she seemed to be looking at a fantasy .. She was seeing me right in front of her. Yet I seemed to be a fantasy just like necklace she would never have. I seemed to be a metaphor for the person she could never be. Short hair, jeans, confident walk, in a car....

I was a bit uncomfortable under her gaze. At that time, I was aware only of a young girl staring at me. A thought stuck me of giving her a mango from my stash. But then the pros and cons followed. A debate raged in me ...

She will be surprised... It will seem like charity...She might be offended....Am I trying to help her or what .Really, a mango? Whats that going to do for her?... Career guidance, coaching all that is helpful, but mango? What are you going to achieve?.....Well this is what I would be doing to a friend's daughter - Share a delicious mango..... She did look a bit like a friend's daughter.....She could have been one had she been born in in diff circumstance. .... But how do I go up there and do it. .. It seems wrong..I will seem like a weirdo...What will I tell Sampath.... Oh I wish Sampath would come back soon, so I dont have to deal with this....What is he doing there for so long! .....He ought to have come by now!....

Thought cycles in which our minds run - based on Patanjali

On a normal day this conversation would have gone on with no action happening. Today, before I could debate and decide within, I found myself stepping up to the girl, picking a mango  and offering it to her.( you guessed right the 5th mango!). No words flowed in the beginning. Only eye contact! All that was there in me was a wildly beating heart! She was startled. Obviously so. She looked around at her father for direction. While he was busy, she knew she could take the mango from me. She turned around and smiled. Took the mango.

I almost ran.( I ran in my mind, on the outside, I was carefully keeping up the pretense of a strong, confident woman). I went to the shop where Sampath was still there. This time thankful that I can be somewhere other than the car for sometime. Then after a couple of min, as we walked back, we passed her again. We exchanged smiles. As we drove off  , she waved at me with a cheerful smile and I waved back.
This time it was the wave of a friend. No charity here. It was acknowledgement of being lifted to hope, wonder and something different in operating in both of us now.

Suddenly I realised that an invisible barrier between two worlds were broken. You could look at this in different ways - 2 classes, 2 patterns within both of our minds.
For both of us, it was a shift from what was to what can be. I was no longer fantasy, I was real. Somehow, it seemed to bring back her confidence as if now she knew that she could be what she wanted to be.
For me too, I was no longer a prisoner of notions I held within, I could do, I could act on what I truly 'felt'.

I do not know whether they fought over who would get how much mango, or whether she should have accepted it or ......
But I know it changed her and it changed me. Boundaries built deep into us by unknown, unseen people was broken by a mango. Boundaries so deep , that they cannot be known by us, only their impacts on our decisions understood when we are out of them.

1 comment:

  1. Very beautiful experience. I am still trying to grasp the whole thing but I think I can understand what you felt like. Sometimes strangers become friends and you know you can trust them is strange but true