I was at the departure area at CSIA – stuffed with Hot Dogs to avoid starving on the low-cost flight. Since I can’t dose off just about anywhere, I knew that my mind would be restless & I had to keep it busy. It was a long journey followed by another leg of train travel. While looking for TTD, I spotted a book store. I don’t read books, in fact I haven’t finished anything other than the Godfather – so this was a bad bad idea! But this was my chance to walk into a book store, flaunt my (non-existent) eclectic taste of business & management books, and trade some hard-earned money for a few useless reward points. Yes, sparing those tied to retail stores, most other reward programs are useless. Moreover, StanChart charges 50 bucks to deliver what you bought out off the few hundred points you gathered after spending a fortune. I did buy Screw It, Let’s Do it & Hacking Work (feel free to borrow & make those unturned pages feel good). I hurried the transaction as my flight was boarding, and I also had to hit the loo. (No no, they don’t charge for pissing on-board, but still)
We’re digressing; so let’s skip loo details and come straight to the point. As I was walking out of the loo, I saw a family friend walk in. Roughly twice my age, I’ve known the man for years – and he’s probably known me since birth. His not being an extrovert and my being bad at small talk made it very difficult to strike a conversation. Besides, all our past interactions have been restricted to exchanging greetings. My flight was boarding and he too didn’t notice me. I moved on, boarded my flight and the rest of that is history, etched here.
I never thought about it again until a couple of days back: I was told the man is no more. He was burned to death in a serious accident – to the extent of being unidentifiable. However high the fetch time of my memory is, I couldn’t ignore the last time we had crossed each other – at the airport. That was my chance – my last chance – to talk to him & wish him well. I tried excusing myself with the ‘flight boarding’ reason & even tried remembering the (n-1)th time we had spoken, which was too far to fetch. I said sorry to myself and prayed for the man’s soul, and the family he leaves behind. That’s all that could be done now.
I’ve always believed that each day could well be the last. We should thus say good bye to loved ones, and smile when we leave our homes. I had skipped something off my own doctrine, and it could not be undone. It has started to make me edgy. So I enforced that policy (much like a network admin does): no matter who, I’m not sparing any chance to greet people or smile. I kept that when I saw a granny in the market today – I went all the way just to say Hello. I didn’t want to repeat that mistake again.
When you die, you don’t want anyone to say: he was good, but the last time he crossed me, he was too busy to notice me! Do whatever it takes to talk to people – you might never see them again. Call people again if they don’t return a call, take a train to meet someone or wait hours in the sun just to see them, or just say a hello when you see people. Kiss you spouse & children every morning, kiss them before sleeping. Take every chance to smile at people & do nice things to them, in your own little ways that affect them. Be your own super-hero. Sometimes life and people remind me of paper boats we sailed in the rains: for some time they’re in your control, but when they start drifting away – they’re gone for good. Do everything you can when you’re in control.