Compassion in India

I went to Palika Baazaar in Connaught Place, Delhi to do some shopping. Leaving in a hurry I forgot to tie my hair and also forgot to carry a hairband (the elastic band used to tie hair up- the fancy types) with me. Normally I wear one as a bracelet to pull out whenever necessary. The heat in Delhi was already excruciating. As I walked through the streets and then into the market area, I thought it was a good idea to buy a bunch of cheap bands as well, in addition to things I intended to buy.

I looked for an iphone cover, a summer cap and hair bands at every shop. Everyone had smartphone covers, loads of clothes, caps and cheap ladies jewelry. None of them kept hair bands. I was losing patience with my hair falling all over my face while unknowingly repeating gestures of pulling up my hair with my hands and then letting them down with an unintentional frown on my face.

Then I walked onto the side of a street and saw a guy selling cheap jewellery. Finding such things a rarity in US, I stopped to check out some stuff. As I sat and picked a few ear rings to try I randomly asked the guy if he also sold hair bands. He shook his head. Already expecting that reply I spent some time on the jewellery and then decided to move on. As I stood up to walk away he called me back with a sense of urgency. He pulled out an old rubber band used to tie bags and other stuff from beneath his pile and held it out to me and very innocently and altruistically said- "I don't have those bands but I have this if you need to tie your hair".

That instantly brought a smile on my face. I was so touched by his sweet innocence and willingness to help me with such a small thing. As if my trivial need was so important. To me he was my hero of the day- the hero of helping. I wanted to take a pic but was hesitant that he would be shy. I couldn't stop smiling the whole day. :)

Small things make us happy. In fact there are no small things. I find connections with complete strangers so easy in India. The loose sense of  'I' and strong sense of 'We' seemingly originating from a constant focus on "connection" instead of "self-protection" is easy adaptable and imbibe-able. The inherent spirituality emerging from suffering is evident in the elevated sense of acceptance of the other. I love this sense of connectedness and compassion- 'happiness' in India.

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