Disclaimer: An account of a “red balloon” day that I had yesterday!

Sometimes, some ordinary days turn out to be like a red balloon amongst a room full of white ones—they stand out. There’s nothing really exceptional about a red balloon compared to a gang of white ones. They’re all just…well…balloons. However, a little colour that makes all the difference.

I was on my way to work one day and as usual, it was a tussle all the way; fighting through hordes of people, sometimes for a space in the train, sometimes for an auto, sometimes for a moment in the traffic and sometimes for fresh air. It made me wonder, “There are so many people in the world. So many.” It’s not exactly an intelligent observation; I mean it’s pretty obvious, duh! But no, wait! There ARE so many people in the world. Just imagine so many people that you’ve not met, people that have stories of their own and challenges that may be similar to yours. You may look at a sea of people but you may never know what they are all about. There are just so many of us out there. It can be over-whelming. An easy way to be over-whelmed is to stand at Kurla/Dadar station or maybe just watch an Iron Maiden concert! The sheer magnitude of people is worthy of acknowledgement. A sea of faces that you will never know and paths that you may never cross! But then again, maybe you’d meet someone arbitrarily and that person changes you in a miniscule way by either giving you a smile or teaching you a lesson that you never intended to learn. We don’t just cross people on our way to work/home, we cross each others’ paths. I’ve always believed that we don’t just meet people, spend time with them, and if destiny wills, leave. I believe that all of us play with each other a game of tag. We give each other something that either belongs to us or something we picked up along the way. We tag each other with certain events/habits/experiences and they pass it on to someone else, and this goes all around the world. I know it sounds ridiculous, but I’ve always believed that we play tag with each other all the time. Maybe that’s why they also say, “What goes around comes around.”

Recently, I met someone who said something very beautiful to me. I was told, “You’re a part of my destiny and I’m a part of yours.” It reminded me of my game of tag. I don’t really know if that’s how this new game is going to be but I’m hoping it’s going to be a good one. Sometimes some people walk into your life co-incidentally and they become a part of your being as easily as water finds its way into soil. Even though there may be no space, water knows where it has to fit in. Just like that. It’s that easy! And after the water had sunk in, I woke up one morning to find a red balloon in my room of white ones.

Honestly, there has been much less “action” today than what I am accustomed to. It has been as smooth as melting butter on a hot sada dosa and as interrupted as the call of a cuckoo. It was an easy day—effortless. It was also one with a lot of affirmations from people who care. It is funny how being unwell gets you pampered silly. It’s sweet. Silly sweet.

…And then there is a bed of light green grass on a crayon brown earth. And when the bed of grass ends you reach a well in an unlikely spot with a canopy of trees acting as shade from the golden sun. You sit on the rim of the well with your best mate by your side and look into the water. The level of water is higher than it was last—symbolic of the heightened sense of security? A solitary golden fish is silently swimming through water and as we look at it in awe I say,
“What is it doing down there alone?”
“How did it get there in the first place?”
…and the conversation veers to that of a fort, us, a movie, us, weekend

The Well!

escapades, us, a dragonfly nearby, us, a white flower in the distance, us.
I bend to pick up a stone to toss into the well,
“I want to see the ripples!” I exclaim.
“Toss a twig instead, don’t disturb the fish.”
Small thoughts count. They do.
I toss a twig to see the glass-green ripples inside a well. They begin with a small wish and encompass the surface of a large well.
A small wish is all it takes.
“Make a wish.”
“Why?”
“Just make.”
“Okay.”
*Silence*
A wish is made, and I drop the twig into the water to release it into the universe. I’m sure the wishes will resonate someday. I hope my best aide made a good wish. I hope I did too.
White flowers spell untouched beauty. I was handed one while we were leaving; and the beauty transcends into your being. What did I say about playing tag?

Arguments—with loved ones—work as reinforcements. More often than not, for me, they work as a therapy and a reminder that they still love you. Tell them the truth—they probably don’t like to hear it, but they want to hear it. Yet, they listen. They’re in your lives for a reason, they say. You don’t know the reason yet, but maybe, someday, you will. Or you won’t. You wonder why you even met them in the first place. You have no answers, nor do they. You heed no answers, and maybe this time you’re not even playing tag. Or maybe you are. Who knows? No one. This time silence doesn’t hurt. Unanswered questions don’t sting anymore.

I saw a candy floss cloud in the sky today. I swear to God I did. A tuft of pink cotton in the sky surrounding a half moon just as the sun was about to set. It reminded me of the school fair, and just like someone was listening above I saw a riot of colours in the distance. A congregation of clouds like children dressed at a school fair—in white, blue, pink and orange with a fiery sun dipping into the sea. And as the waves crashed on to the shore ten feet away from me I sat in silence—a busy day drooping its eyes behind me, a school fair in the sky, and one of the most genuine people I’ve met in my life, beside me. A sunset in Mumbai has never been so apt. Perfect endings have never been so perfect.

And as I sit down and relive my day it stands out clearly in front of my eyes. At this moment, out of the SO MANY people in the world I know some who define wonderful. I didn’t know I would be so fortunate. However, I always knew that the sea has exquisite treasures in it. I’m glad I’ve loved the sea so much since I can remember. And it seems like the sea also plays tag.

The day has ended and I am still in a room full of balloons. As I look, I can see a

Red Balloon!

bright red balloon jutting out and smiling at me. I smile back. I have a red balloon in my room, and that red balloon is mine!

– Sameen