I was on a bus, which I managed to catch after waiting for the better part of an hour. I’d been glad to find a seat for myself, as the previous day, long and tiring, didn’t seem very promising. And I sat there, ear plugs glued to my ears, lost in my thoughts.
At a particular stop, an aged lady boarded the bus. I did see her get in but didn’t pay much attention since then. She came and stood by the seats while I was still lost in la la land.
Moments later, I was rudely interrupted from my stupor and by a hard tap on my shoulder. I turned around to find a girl, around my age, standing next to me with a look of disgust. She made a gesture telling me to get up to give the old lady the seat. I didn’t need any second telling. I quickly got out of the seat and helped the old lady settle in. And that was about it.
Only, did I realize later that it wasn’t.
I was extremely disturbed by the fact that I did not get up by myself and offer her the seat. Why didn’t I notice her get on the bus instead of just seeing her? Why didn’t I notice her standing there? This gave rise to a different set of questions. Does this mean I’m selfish? Am I so very self-centered to not notice the people around me? Am I that mean, ugly description of a person who is considered so very anti-social?
I’d been very unsettled and disturbed by this entire incident and my line of thought was not really helping my cause. I decided I needed someone else to judge what happened and decide if I am as selfish as I’m making out to be. So I spoke to my friend, told her the entire incident and ended with the one question that had been haunting me ever since. Does this make me a bad person?
She smiled at the worried look on my face. She simply said the following unforgettable words, “You’re not bad. You’re not selfish. At least, not in the way you’re thinking. In the end, all of us are selfish one or another. You’re just self-absorbed or a better way to put in would be; indifferent. And you’re not alone. Look at her. (She pointed to one of my other friend) she’s just like you. And there are many more out there just like you. People who are so engrossed in their own lives that they fail to take a look around. That doesn’t make you bad. It just makes you different.”
My friend’s words have stayed with me forever. I haven’t found solace in her saying that I’m different. I mean, what is that? Another way of saying I’m weird? Strange, maybe? If you ask me, it’s just a euphemism for weird and I don’t like it very much. I’d very much rather be like everybody else, thank you very much. But it’s that part of her saying that I’m not alone that caught my attention. It got me thinking, are there really a lot of people like this who are so lost in their own thoughts that they forget to observe things around? That they forget to do a good deed not because of a lack of desire for doing it but rather because of a failure to notice the opportunity to do it?
People who do things keeping themselves in mind and who have been called selfish by others for their actions. This article is for you. Anyone out there who can relate to this, anyone who has gone through a similar incident, anyone who thinks they fall under this category, please do comment and let me know I’m not alone.
– Lekha Kamat
do share your opinions! we’re waiting to hear you out kind reader! 🙂