I rode along on my bike in the heavily congested road. ‘Congested’ is the right word. Not only does it state the population but also has a tilting connotation to pollution. I weaved through the chaos with utmost concentration and the summer heat topped by the mandatory headgear added to the frustration and perspiration.
I neared a junction and the red traffic light commanded the overflowing traffic to an abrupt halt. We all at the forefront of the road knew it was going to be a long wait and shut the engines. The traffic light number began at 120 and slowly started trickling down to 0. Funny I said ‘slowly’. A ‘second’ is in fact SI unit of time. There is nothing slow or fast about it. Yet, the relativity of the movement of traffic on road, the urgency in everyone, the need-for-speed attitude makes one feel even the standard ‘second’ slower than the pace of life.
My gaze turned to the right and I found myself very close to a yellow mini-van. The window closest to me was completely open. I could not help looking inside the window and from the angle at which I stood, I had a clear vision of the inhabitant beside the window. She looked up and my heart did a quick somersault when I saw her face. To put in a few short words, she was just ‘simply’ beautiful. There was nothing too gaudy or made-up about her. It seemed like a simple but wonderful artwork of Mother Nature.
A nice soothing face, perfect features and neat, obedient hair tied behind her back. But the thing about her that won hands down was her eyes. She had one of the most pleasant eyes I had ever seen. It was perfectly curved and deep set which seemed to look at everyone in a calm, peaceful manner. It was a pair of eyes which seemed to melt all the violence in the world into a sea full of everlasting tranquility.
She felt my eyes on her and looked up at me. She looked at the girl beside her and they both giggled, furtively looking at me. She became shy and embarrassed at my innocent stare. She looked down at her hands and fiddled with it. Then she saw me again and I smiled. She smiled, and looked at her friend and giggled again and turned her head down once more. The same pattern continued a couple more times. I couldn’t help smiling at her childish awkwardness.
I turned towards the traffic light. The number had come down to 10. I looked back at her one last time, flashed a nice smile and waved my hands, signaling that it was time to move on. She understood, returned my gesture by flashing an enthusiastic smile and waved back at me.
It occurred to me as I moved away from the kindergarten yellow mini-van how the unspoken language of a simple smile can bridge souls.