It was a cold winter afternoon as the captain landed the aircraft! Houston was every bit to her as any other United States airport. The last she had been in this country was several years ago and had hated her experience then….she hated it now too. The people, the weather, the smell of the air….everything reminded her of a time gone by! Years ago, in this same country she had allowed herself to be so emotionally vulnerable that she had returned home with nothing but walls around her, shattered within ….the only memento of time spent. That was fourteen years ago!As she mechanically smiled and answered the immigration officer’s questions, she couldn’t help notice the excited banter of a large Mexican family close by. God! What was there to be so excited about? Her feet ached, her head pounded, her hand was heavy with the joke of a hand bag she had on her… It was more like a truckload of dead weight! Passport stamped they walked for what seemed like miles to the next gate, they had a connecting flight to their final destination. With every step, her life seemed more like a mirage. Her home, friends, familiarity, they all seemed far behind. “Just a phone call away,” she had consoled her parents at the departure gate in Mumbai. Yet the same words couldn’t force a brave smile on her face right now. Like the one they had on theirs just yesterday, as they frantically waved until their combined eyesight of 141 years could follow her no more. They blinked; she was out of sight.
At the gate her husband asked her to be seated as he rushed off with his phone and charger. As she sat there an elderly gentleman came up to her, smiled and asked animatedly, “That’s interesting what you have on your hands, what is it?! I have never seen it before”. “Henna” she replied. “It’s beautiful, does everyone have their hands like this in your country”, he genuinely asked. “Thanks, no we have it done for festivals and important occasions”, she abruptly replied. “Where are you from?” he queered on. Oh! Leave me alone, she thought. “India”, she replied. Her monosyllable replies ended the conversation quicker than he would have intended; the gentleman politely smiled and went his way. As she sat waiting several people passed her by, as with airports you always get to see a variety of souls drifting by. Many of them smiled as they walked by.Later, as she walked over to the restroom she looked at her watch. It still showed a different time. A quick calculation led to a perturbed sigh. It had been 30 minutes, wonder where her husband had disappeared to?! Inside a woman smiled and asked, “From India?!” God, not another one! “Yes”, she replied. “I have a friend in India”, she went on to add. “Hmm”, she replied. “All the best,” she waved as she disappeared through the door. She freshened up in cold silence thereafter and stopped to stretch out her arms. “Damn, this bag is heavy”, she whispered under her breath as she stumbled out.
Seated at a distance was her husband, pleased with phone in hand. “Needed to charge it for you, so went over to where the sockets are,” he said. “Here, you wanna call your mother?!”In that moment, she couldn’t help but feel overwhelmed at his thoughtfulness. Her reservations seemed weak in comparison to his compassion. With tears brimming over she dropped her baggage and eagerly reached out to take the phone. As the phone rang miles across, a different bell went off in her head. The bell of realization. The bell of letting go. The bell of freedom. “Hello ma?!” she excitedly cried into the phone as an equally excited voice greeted her on the other side.
As the airline staff announced the departure of their onward flight, she walked over to the check in agent. The hand bag didn’t seem as heavy any more. She smiled as she handed over her boarding pass, the lady at the gate smiled back!
Notes from my desk: It takes a moment to decide and disconnect from close mindedness, rigidity or thoughts that are not working for you anymore. It takes a moment to get rid of all the pain, anguish, hurt and guilt. Instead you can learn from it and move on. Sometimes it takes just one act of kindness from a loved one or at other times it may take several smaller acts of kindness from strangers. At other times only a moment of introspection is enough. Bottom line being, this world, people in it and you deserve better. Choose to start afresh. Today I chose to drop my baggage!