I was visiting a Holy Place in Sri Lanka, named Kataragama. It is known for Lord Kataragama, who is said to have Dwelled in the areas Kataragama, Mt. Wadasity, and Sella-Kataragama according to history and cultural tales.
Upon worshipping the Holy Places in Sella-Kataragama, my mother and I got into a SLTB (Sri Lanka Transport Board) bus, to come back to Kataragama.
The sequence of events that happened in that blessed bus ride took me back the memory lane, to the Sri Lanka I knew, once upon a long time ago.
The bus already had some school boys, whose white shirts were, now brown, throwing a little party. They were ringing the bell, and joking with the driver and conductor. The driver and conductor were adult enough to let go of the jokes, and smile to themselves.
Once the bus started moving, the bus was loaded with school girls and boys. They’ve just finished school. All seem very excited about life, talking at their loudest voice possible. Of course they were drenched in sweat, and the bus now smelled of them. Fortunately, it started moving fast enough for the breeze to bring in some fresh air.
That’s when I overheard some of the girls screaming:
Oh, look! There’s Madam. She also would like to catch the bus. Someone stop the bus. Uncle, stop the bus, teacher is on the way!”
Of course the driver stopped, and waited. It brought back the smell of the sweaty kids, but I was so happy that the bus was waiting.
Then I saw, a couple of teenage boys. I’m sure they were trying to impress the teenage girls with their behaviour and what they were talking. They didn’t really catch my attention until they screamed:
ohhh ohh stop!
The driver stopped immediately, and the conductor screamed:
To which, they replied casually:
There is someone running for the bus
The bus waited and picked them up.
At our stop, my mother and I got off. Right behind us was an older lady. Behind her was the two loud teenage boys, carrying huge bags of something. They climbed off the bus, left the bags on the ground and got back into the bus. Then I realized the bags were belonging to the old lady. The lady was thanking them, but they didn’t even wait to see that. They were back in their seat giggling, and showing their full smile. They appeared to be proud of their act, in a humble way. I’m sure they also got attention of some of the school girls or whoever they’re attracted to.
I felt really blessed to see this. I wanted to thank them personally, but the bus moved, leaving their smile in my memory.
I know this kind of behaviour is rather difficult in the fast paced city life.
But, then I ask:
Why is there a fast pace?
What are we rushing to reach?
How much do we miss in this big marathon?
Only to die in the middle of a race!”
These village people, care for each other. They notice every little thing, every person who is walking in a distant street, running for the bus, the older ladies with heavy bags.
What does this say about them?
They are right here, right now, being present, being aware of the most invaluable moment in life; The Now!
– Nim –