In response to the Daily Post’s prompt “Everything Changes“.
I couldn’t have cared less about the world around me as I walked around on the streets in a haze, all sense of time and place lost.
“What do people who have lost their jobs and homes usually do to kill time?” I used to wonder. I wish someone had warned me that God answers certain rhetorical questions by blessing upon us real-time experiences.
I had all the time in the world to find answers now. My company (a well-known publishing house) had fired me along with several others without notice.
When some of us approached the management the explanation offered was “Recession comes uninvited”. And as the recession raged like an epidemic in the country, there was nowhere to go and no place to be.
I walked on without a clue about where to go or what to do; certificates in one hand and a lunch bag in the other. I had attended atleast a dozen interviews over the last week. I had been to one today morning already.
“We shall let you know soon. Have a good day, Ma’am.” The lady at the reception had smiled that same impassive smile (which I had come to recognize over the past week) as she informed me. At first I was annoyed. Why couldn’t she just tell me that I had screwed it up again and that I wouldn’t land myself in the job? But on second thoughts I realized she was only doing her job.
As I sat down on the wooden bench by the sidewalk, I realized I was famished. I hadn’t eaten since morning and I really needed a bite. I opened my lunch bag and devoured all of its contents quickly. Nothing much really, just a lettuce and tomato sandwich and a carton of juice. Meals were a luxury because I was living off my bank balance which pretty much made no difference to my existence.
Besides, I had another interview to attend in an hour and given I had decided to travel by foot to save money, I had to eat fast.
Just as I finished up my meal, a pleasant breeze blew my hair across my face. I made an effort to brush my hair off my face and knocked my certificate folder onto the sidewalk in the process. When I bent down to pick it up I saw a folded piece of paper lying on the ground. Now usually I wouldn’t bother with such things. But today, something made me pick it up.
On opening the piece of paper, I saw a message scrawled across it in a small and petite handwriting. It said..
Consider this a message from an age-old wise ass to you. I am not going to tell you things which you and I don’t care about. I am going to help you help someone we both know and care about – You.
As is the case of every other human being out there, you are fighting a battle of your own in this world – however big or small it may be and whatever maybe the odds. Just remember, nothing in life ever happens without a reason. What happens to the world, you cannot control. But what happens in your life is the outcome of your discretion. So decide now, whether you wish to write your own destiny or you wish to succumb to a fate that is nothing but the result of your inaction. For now, just remember that this time too shall pass.
Do me a favor and leave this paper back where you found it. It may or may not have helped you, but it might help someone else. Good luck and God bless.”
After I read the note, I just sat there feeling amused. I mean who would write such a note in the first place? It would have to be some fool trying to spread love and light in this hopeless recession-hit world. Besides, he/she could have framed the message a little better.
While I folded back the piece of paper, I realized what a pathetic hypocrite I was. Here was a man or woman trying to make a difference in somebody else’s life while I couldn’t even soak up some warmth from a stranger.
Maybe he was right. Maybe he was wrong. I had lost my job for no fault of mine. But had I lost out on the jobs over the last week because of my fault? Well maybe I could have worn the better jacket (I had saved to wear on Christmas Eve) to the interview. Maybe I could have answered a few questions more intelligently. Would it have a made a difference? Maybe.
I realized the stranger was right somewhere along the line. I couldn’t complain about God being unfair or anything as of that matter when my outlook in itself was flawed. I had to do something about it, today. I had to change.
I closed my eyes for a good five minutes and sat there till my mind became clear. I took a deep breath and exhaled. Then I opened my eyes and smiled. For now, I saw the world differently. Only because I had chosen to.
I stood up from the wooden bench. As I picked up my folder again, I carefully placed the folded piece of paper on the bench with a stone on top. And then, I watched myself walk away.