I have a penchant for sonder. Everytime I’m in a crowd, I try to observe the people my eye gets a hold of and try to weave my own version of them. A few months ago, I was sitting near the entrance of a train and listening to my favourite song during the night, and the scenery, only revealing houses with orange hued lights. At that point, I was absorbed into this canopy of houses embedded with warm lights. I wondered what these people were eating now. Would they be sitting together under the light and having their meal as a family? Or was it the abode of a lonely old man who was reminiscing over his bygone days? Questions like these have always aroused in me a certain love to know more people,sit with them and listen to the anecdotes and stories they have to tell. 

When Margaret Atwood said “In the end we all become stories”, I partially agree with her adding that we are living, breathing stories in motion. I vividly remember one such incident which is still fresh in me despite not encountering that person even since then.

It is not everyday that you come across a face that stays with you for a long time. But it was one such face. My subconscious has preserved this face so safely that I go back to the archives just to have a glimpse at this beauty during times of distress.

That day looked like a muted blue palette. I got into the bus and finished my usual business of getting the ticket and fumbling for headphones to make this mundane journey more magical. That is when my ears sensed something that made me look beyond my phone screen.It wasn’t a laugh. It wasn’t a cry. It was a series of incomprehensible sounds coming from a baby. A toddler, to be precise. I didn’t see the baby. I don’t know if it was a boy or a girl. I just saw the reflection of the baby on the window pane and my gaze fixed at the scene. That one hour journey didn’t seem tedious at all. I was staring at that tender human and I don’t know. I tried to bring back my memories of being a toddler. I can vaguely see myself waiting for youngworld in the mornings, watching cartoon network in the afternoons, and playing with my friends in the evenings. I wondered how this child’s typical day would be. I have this habit of boasting about what a beautiful childhood our generation had and how this generation is missing out on so many little things. At that moment, I didn’t even feel that pride. That dainty face evoked in me a sense of calm. I kept looking at the reflection while the baby cluelessly looked around trying to make sense of this frenzied world.

Einstein’s theory of relativity was right! Ugh. The halt of the bus stopped my train of thoughts.It was one of the very few times I regretted arriving at my stop so promptly. Amidst the crowd, I couldn’t even catch a glimpse of the child while getting down. I didn’t see the child. Rather, I saw a reflection of that tiny human and kept that memory safely sealed in me. Even after I alighted from the bus, I found the baby’s face etched into my existence like sand on the shore which gets into your clothes desperately not wanting to leave.

Two days ago, this same baby showed up in my dreams and was staring at me from the corner of the bus. Maybe that’s why I wrote this? I’m not sure. 

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