October 19, 2016
When was the last time you danced like no one was watching?
When was the last time you stepped out of your house without that all-important glance at the mirror?
When was the last time you were oblivious to this judgmental world and were completely absorbed in the work you were doing?
So, it must have been 2 weeks back or so.
I was walking down the street. I was on my way to the bus stop. There was nothing out of the ordinary on that day. The same milkman cycled down the street. The same schoolboy was on his way to the school.
In short, there was nothing there that swept me off my feet, and plunged me into deep thought.
There is this huge empty plot of land by the side of that street. There is nothing special about that plot too.
It was just like any other day.
It was then that I noticed something. A little girl and and a little boy were playing on that empty ground. They were dressed in a tattered frock and a pair of torn shorts respectively. You could tell from a single glance, that they were not from a very good financial background. It was clear that they didn’t attend school also, because they were playing right at the peak of school time. They were playing with a punctured and old basketball. They were running barefoot on sand and stones and were playing among overgrown weeds.
But, all of these things were nothing compared to the fact that they were having the time of their lives. No torn frock was comparable to the huge smiles on their faces. No amount of education could bring such spontaneous musical laughter. No punctured, non-bouncy basketball could dampen their happy spirit.
Most importantly, their enjoyment was not reduced by the fact that they were being watched by every random person on the road. They were oblivious to the judgmental world and its opinionated eyes. They were oblivious, even, to their own appearance and surroundings.
They were ignorant of every stone and weed that threatened to end their enjoyment.
Their bare feet escaped every hardship there was, on that plot of land. Their bare feet were unafraid of becoming dusty or callous. Their bare feet ran like the wind on a path of stones as easily as the unstoppable brook that knows no obstacle.
And so, on that non-happening day, on that never-changing street, in the middle of the mundane routine of everyday, I understood something.
Our education has taught us so much about the world, but it has also shackled us to society and its opinions. We bow down to the rules that we have made, and lack the courage to tweak them even slightly. We lack the nerve to ignore our appearance or status or position for the sake of our satisfaction and curiosity.
We are constantly worried about the world.
We never walk barefoot for the fear that some wholly unconcerned third party might watch us.
We need to change this about ourselves and soon. Or we risk losing ourselves permanently on the way.
Let’s dare to dance like no one is watching. Let’s dare to step out of the house without glancing at the mirror. Let’s dare to be unapologetically committed to our work.
Let’s dare to run barefoot!
Mysuru, Karnataka, India