Every weekday morning, walking to catch the metro to office, inside the long Metro station corridor I pass by people hurrying on.
But certain scenes stand out.
A kindergarten toddler, hardly 5 years old, in her school uniform frock, wearing a backpack, holding onto her father’s hand toddling along trying to keep pace with his longer strides. I could hear her asking him in Hindi, “Daddy, when will we go to the beach again?”.
I don’t know about you but this broke my heart. The picture of that little girl running trying to keep pace with her dad who was obviously in a hurry to reach her to school and then get to work, and that little girl’s thoughts were elsewhere, she wanted to be free, at the beach. Maybe the beach would have made a better institution of learning than the walled ones we go to.
This gives me an idea, a moving school where classes happen in natural environments like parks, zoos, beaches, gardens. What schools were like in a previous age, before we lost ourselves wrapped in this complex sophistication of our modern age.
The other scene that plays out regularly. The same long metro station corridor. Same morning time going to work. People passing me by, I pass by people and these two pass by me. A man in his thirties, probably an elder brother, dragging along a boy with special needs, maybe in his teens, wearing a backpack, uncomfortably trying to keep pace, not looking too happy. Probably getting dropped at a daycare. The same rush. The world is turning non-stop and we have to keep running to stay in the same place.
This third scene, a more recent one. Same morning time. A middle-aged middle-eastern woman in a black abaya with her head covered, pushing with one hand a wheel-chair carrying a 12-year old differently-abled kid and with the other hand pulling a trolley-schoolbag. The kid is in uniform and asleep. The lady pulls along with a grim determination and will.
One day, when barely managing to get a place at the entrance in the crowded carriage, found myself face to face with a father standing with a pram (baby-stroller) in which a 8 month old baby was sitting and looking up in wonder at all the faces crowded around and looking down at it. My hand holding my mobile phone and bag was at its reach. It tried tugging at my mobile and the father tried to distract it with his mobile. Early morning at the metro, I have seen parents carrying babies and toddlers, some half asleep to affordable day cares in my area.
And today, a heart-warming one, in the long metro corridor leading to the ticket booth and turnstiles. A middle-aged couple, both obviously going to work, but walking at a more leisurely pace. The man, was carrying his kindergarten kid in school uniform on his shoulders – a joy ride for the kid.
Somewhere at the back of my mind, Paul Young’s version of “Love of the Common People” plays. The human experience, love it or hate it but you can’t escape it.