She was choosing the chicken pieces from the chicken and basil tomato salad bowl quietly at a slow pace. Every little thing she served herself was then served in another plate, in either the same or more quantity. Her partner and she were occupying the smallest and the quietest corner table they could have found at the spacious buffet restaurant at Marriot. The place was bubbling with energy, people sharing conversations over food, children running around the dessert servings, waiters serving portions of mixed Indian breads.
As my friends and myself carried on with our conversations, gorging on food and desserts, laughing over silliness of random people, I would, catch a glimpse of her every now and then. It would surprise me that she would spend so much energy in serving two portions every single time from each laid table. Her face had a calmness that is difficult to explain. She had small brown eyes and every single time she looked up, she would smile back instantly. It was like she was answering all my questions. I was at that point just unable to read them. Her grey hair was witness to all these years of experiences she had gathered.
I was curious about her and her partner. Each time I tried looking in the direction of her table, I only saw the face of a man, smiling at her warmly. They were enjoying a nice, personal dinner on Saturday night. It warmed me that people their age, had decided to come in, have a nice dinner on a Saturday night rather than sit and watch television at home over a meal of porridge cooked by the wife. I did wonder several times as to why the man wouldn’t serve himself. And in between my conversations with my friends, and of course tons of activity around food, I did try and take a peek at him, but for some reason my vision of him was obstructed by the soup and salad bar.
We continued having dinner and stuffed ourselves with a million types of desserts and fruits and decided it was time to head home. My friends wanted to have a smoke outside and so we were standing in the smoking zone, observing people, a favourite activity Indians have inherited in their genes. We love observing people, we are also unfortunately pretty loud about our opinions of them in social settings. We gave in to our genes and continued talking about people, their cars, their behavior and such. Then as we waited for the car, we saw an auto-rickshaw in the hotel drive-through.
The auto-rickshaw had come to pick up the brown-eyed lady and her husband. They had finished their evening meal and supposedly were now heading home. It took the old man a while before he could get into the rickshaw. Moving your entire body-weight from a wheel chair to an auto-rickshaw is going to be a tedious task. I found my answer. I was humbled by them. By their sheer will to survive, to come to a dinner on Saturday night and not choose the easy option of sitting at home because of his inability to move around comfortably.
Each of us, we fall in love easily. Unfortunately, we fall out of it even more easily. I asked myself a million times since I saw them there. What could have motivated them to go through that evening but sheer love and the want to enjoy an evening together. Just by themselves. She was committed to serve him every single thing and make sure he enjoyed his meal. He was committed to taking the pain of coming to a hotel, that is not handicap- friendly, unfortunately. (of course this topic deserves another note)
That is what I wish for each one of us. Pure dedication and commitment in our relationships. For me this was an enlightening experience to go through it all, to witness mere strangers change my life and realize that if the world were falling apart right now, each one of us should have someone looking out for them, no matter what.