We live in a world where hope seems dry; where the dreams of our lives flutter like dusty rags; where we flounder in the decay of our putrid emotions. And then…you see this.
I had just gone to the hospital to get my monthly injections when my Dad told me to stop by at a snack shop because he wanted to buy chips. This being a narrow road, I told him to go on ahead, I would sit in the car in case I had to move. I sit there, thinking of all the negative swirl of the past few days. I sit there thinking of the changes I have been trying to process in myself since the Camino walk. And then, I decide to try one of the things I teach those who come asking me – reframing or rewiring our brain every time we get caught in our negative spiral. “Stop SM,” I tell myself. “Take a deep breath. Think of all the things you can be grateful for at this moment. Savor it.” So, I think of how gorgeous my Bangalore is today; how I am so happy to be out with my Dad; how lucky I am there are injections to treat you. Well, you get the drift.
Then, I glance at where my Dad is and notice two people crouched on the pavement in front of the shop. Curious, I peer at them from the car. They seem to be examining something intently on the ground. The older of them is gesturing to the younger one, guiding him. Then, the younger man gets up, holding something in his fingers. As I watch, he walks over to the house next to the shop and gently keeps whatever is in his hand at the gate. A few moments later, he gets on the bike and rides away with the older man. My Dad comes back, and I start Toopi. But I can’t drive away. I get out and walk over to the gate, trying to spot what the man had kept.
There moving ever so slowly is a baby snail. The sweetest baby snail. Rescued from being squashed on the pavement. It is slowly moving toward the house. Toward safety. Did I just see this? I want to cry. I want to jump up and down and tell everyone – that here, here is a miracle.
This is what I would like to believe we are – at heart, we are deeply compassionate beings. The sort of people who will stop whatever we are doing because we have to rescue a snail and escort it to safety.
Amid all the rancor, pettiness, egoism that swirls and fades in our life, we have so much space for kindness. That baby snail made me smile today. Made me want to hug the Universe. Those two men may never know, but their actions did more than save the snail. They saved me.
Whenever possible, try to be compassionate. And it is always possible. Always.