Friday, March 15, 2013

Those little rituals

The first time I saw them, their interaction was friendly, social. They looked happy, and it made me smile. The second time I saw them, it was exactly like the first time. It seemed odd.  The same loud laugh, the same handshake, and the same excitement. When I saw them yet again, a third time, I realized that the interaction was a daily ritual. Maybe a weekly ritual, I don't really know.

The train sounded its annoyingly loud horn as it came to a halt. People queued up by the doors, careful not to push, and climbed down the stairs one by one. The passengers getting on and off the train were quite a crowd - most rushing to their cars or their pick-ups, others hurriedly boarding. Some, who had the extra few seconds, noticed them. The short and stout man wearing a hat and sunglasses stood by the bench at the end of the platform.  He yelled in excitement, and waved to the stationary train. From the very front of the train, from a very high compartment, a second taller man, probably the engineer on-board, opened a door. He descended two steps and with one arm holding onto the door, he flung the other out, to share a strong boyish handshake with the man who waved. They both shared a loud laugh. The second taller man then climbed back in, the train announced its departure with the blaring horn again, and left. The man on the platform, childishly ecstatic, watched as the train pulled out, still waving.

They could be old friends. They could be related. For all I know, they could have known each other all their lives. But in my head, they are perfect strangers. Perfect strangers who by some inexplicable way  have gotten into the habit of greeting each other, and sharing a few seconds of loud and obvious happiness. Maybe that right there, is a perfect relationship.

Of course that was a fleeting thought, and once I walked past them, I quickly got distracted by the lovely cherry blossoms, and the traffic view on my phone. However, today, while I drove back home, almost gliding on the highway at a single pace, the sunset on one side, the new spring flowers on the other, I thought about little rituals - the ones you keep, and the ones you miss. Like sending post-cards from across the world. Like buttered toast with honey and cinnamon on Saturday mornings. Like leaving a co-worker a 'happy Friday' note every single Friday. Like greeting each other every evening with a fresh shortbread cookie :)

 My family and friends have embraced my obsession for the colour green for long, and gifts in green have sort of become a little ritual. Thanks Niv for the wonderful handmade green bookmark! And of course, the book - I flipped through it, and it looks like a dream. I can't wait to read it, but at the same time, I never want to be done with it :)

Yours "sprezzatura"ly
signing off...