P.S.: This is a little lengthy post. Kind of a short story. Please read till the very end 🙂
At times, some things we usually do, sink deep within us, without even our realization. And then they become an integral part of our daily lives. I like listening to music and love going on shopping sprees, especially on “Deal Days” (as I call it 😉 ). Just a mile away from my office, there is a mini supermarket; I’d go at least once a week. While leaving from work, I would tune into my ear phones and put some loud music and head out shopping. I would be there, but I wouldn’t be there. Physically, I would be in a store; mentally, I would be lost in some thoughts or be pondering over the lyrics of the song, I love listening to so much. Since I stay close by, I would often walk to my office or walk back home in evening. Listening to music or talking over the phone on my way is always implied.
So today I was doing practically the same thing. Listening to some nice music and waiting in the queue at the billing counter. When it was my turn, the lady folded her hands and greeted me saying something, which hardly registered over my ears. After me there was hardly any one waiting to get their shopping billed. So it was a medium traffic day at the store.
Then something happened, which made me see everything in a different light.
I had picked up a few tetra packs of fruit juices (Oh yes ! I am too lazy to have real fruits at times 😀 ) considering they had a significant 50% discount on them (That was how I had picked up over a dozen of then a fortnight ago). My shopping cart was being billed. I hardly was paying any attention. And then the lady across the counter said something. I took off my ear phones to listen to what she was saying (I generally listen at a high volume and normally I take off my earphones only when they ask to pay for the final bill amount :p ). She smiled at me and told me that those tetra packs had no deal this week and confirmed if I still wanted to buy them. And then it hit me, I was so much lost I didn’t even bother to read the price tag on them. I immediately corrected myself and asked her to exclude them from my cart. Had she not told me, I would hardly have realised, as I never check my bills.
So then, I thanked her for informing me and she continued billing items on my cart. I had bought a block of cheese. While she was scanning it across the bar code, she asked me if I liked its taste. I was a little bewildered, and replied in affirmative. I then asked her why she asked me that question. She told me that for the first time she had bought a block of cheese last week to make pizzas at home at her son’s request. And she complained that it didn’t taste so well on them. I put on my thinking cap. Although I am not a proficient cook, I manage to cook for myself without burning the kitchen 😀 . I then realised she might have added cheese at the very end only after the pizza had baked. And yes at times, raw cheese can taste not so good. (I too personally like having cheese that is grilled). I asked her the same. She said that she did not bake it, as they didn’t have an oven. She explained to me that she had cooked the crust over a pan on the stove. I asked her, if she had covered her pizza while it was being cooked ? She said that she had just cooked it on a pan without covering it with some kind of lid.
The master chef in me patted my back and I told her how she should cover the pan with some kind of lid to make the toppings, cheese and pizza cook better. She was indeed very much happy, and I felt happy too. That is because it was the first time I had shared some tips on cooking with any one. It felt nice and proud. She thanked me and told she would give me feedback the next time she made pizza at home.
After that I was about to exit the store and at the same counter another person had come for billing. I noticed how the lady smiled and greeted him Namaste and the person was busy doing something on his mobile. I stood there for a while to observe the whole process. The lady was also updating the shopper on a few heavily discounted products kept at the counter and asked him if he wanted to buy any of them. There was also a hearing impaired & mute assistant to the lady (this store employs people with disability) who was helping in packing the purchases in a carry bag and with taking the payments through debit/credit card. I really admired the customer friendly process and made my way out.
Since my shopping load was quite light and I wanted some exercise, I decided to walk back home. My head phones were disconnected and I had no calls to make. I was thinking about this whole incident.
It then occurred to me that how we are present at places only physically. Our minds are wandering off at places. And this habit of constantly listening to music had actually made us deaf and dumb. We hardly notice things or the beauty of nature around us. We hardly listen to people talking to us. Music should be savoured when we really are at solitude; and not while crossing the road or when someone is trying to talk to us or when we take a stroll in the morning.
So, I will now walk and listen sans the music or calls. Music can wait, people and moments can’t. 🙂
Behind this small incident, there is a treasure trove of lessons for us. Let me know what all u lessons you can decode !! 😀