I was walking back home this evening with my friends, Hari and Ashwin. We had some good vegetarian food in a newly opened vegan restaurant on Tiensestraat. As we walked towards the centre from the restaurant, I was telling them about the movie “Social Network”. I had seen it last weekend in Brussels.
I was interrupted by Ashwin’s sudden squeak, “My ring!”. Hari and I, walking on either sides of Ashwin, had gotten a few steps ahead. On hearing Ashwin, we turned back. We saw him bent towards the road and staring hard. “My ring! It slipped out of my finger and fell somewhere here”, said Ashwin nervously and pointed to where he stood. That was his engagement ring.
It had been snowing continuously since 4pm this evening. We came out of the restaurant around 10:20pm. There was already a thick layer of fresh snow on the road, since 8pm when we had entered the restaurant. All three of us started looking around the place with a hope to spot a shinning yellow gold ring in the whiteness of the snow. I thought, “We are lucky. Thankfully it’s not a white gold or silver ring. It would have been impossible then.”
A young lady got curios on seeing three of us in the middle of the road. She stopped and inquired, “Are you looking for something?” “My friend lost his ring. We are searching the ring”, I replied to her. “It’s his engagement ring”, added Hari. The lady felt sorry and she too joined us in the search. A few moments later, a group of four girls crossed us. They too got curious on seeing us. They struck a conversation, in Dutch, with the lady. She pointed towards Ashwin and told them that we were looking for his engagement ring.
These four girls too joined us in the search. One of them started scrubbing & shifting the snow with her hands. We had been doing this with our shoes only. A minute or so later, we heard a cry from one of the girls, “I found it! I found it”. All of us turned towards her. We saw her scrubbing the snow. She pulled out the ring and gave it to Ashwin. For a moment, everything else seemed oblivious and we couldn’t believe that the ring has been found. A few seconds later, we realised that the ring has been found indeed. A sense of joy overtook us and we screamed out of happiness. Ashwin was particularly clueless for a longer time; he still didn’t know how to react. He was so overwhelmed to get his ring back. He simply hugged the girl who found the ring.
We thanked the ladies for their gesture. It was so nice of them to have stopped and helped us. We could have never found the ring. The girl had pulled it out from beneath at least an inch of snow. They wished Ashwin good luck for his marriage. Ashwin walked back a happy man, probably lost in the thoughts of his fiancee.
This incident reminded me the words of one of my friends, “If somethings are meant to be together, all the forces in the universe works to bring them together”. Probably, these girls were sent by the universe to bring Ashwin and his ring together.
Had I the heavens’ embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half-light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.
I heard this poem of William Butler Yeats in a TED talk of Sir Ken Robinson. In this talk, he expresses his concerns about the current education system. He calls it a manufacturing-based model which is not only killing the creativity of kids but also making them uninterested in education. He suggests for a more personalized form of education where kids have freedom to choose what they wish to learn. He concludes his talk by reading out the above poem and with the following lines –
And everyday, everywhere, our children spread their dreams beneath our feet.
And we should tread softly.
I lay on the bed reading Paulo Coelho’s ‘The Zahir’. My eyes were tired from reading for a while now. I finished the current page, lay the book on my chest and closed my eyes. I might have dozed off for couple of minutes. When my eyes opened, I turned my head towards the table clock to check the time. Before my head could turn completely towards the clock, it stopped halfway and my eyes tried looking hard through the windows. The curtains of my windows were drawn. I felt that I saw something. I wanted to be sure of what I thought I saw. I smiled when I was sure. I thought, “I must tell Anand”.
I tried getting out of the bed. It was difficult and painful. I was not supposed to get out of my bed. I was confined to complete bed rest after my surgery, a couple of days back. But now I must get out. Slowly I got up, walked to window. I stood there for sometime. I could sense an excitement inside me. I slowly crossed my room, opened my door and knocked the door opposite to mine. This was Anand’s studio. I knew he kept his curtains drawn, always. I was sure he wouldn’t have noticed yet. He had been waiting for it and had been talking to me since last couple of weeks.
“Hey Anand… it’s snowing man!”, I said when Anand opened his door. “Really!”, exclaimed Anand. I was right. He had no idea of it. “Open your curtains and see”, I suggested. He opened his curtains and looked outside. He stood there for couple of minutes and turned towards me. “Man it is really snowing! At last! I hope, I get to see a white Christmas at least this year”, said Anand. It was nice to see his childlike happiness. White Christmas has been eluding him in all these years in Belgium.
Anand suggested, “Let’s go to the top floor and see from there”. “Yups that would be nice but I don’t think I can make it”, I slowly said, feeling already tired by standing for sometime now. “You go ahead, I shall wait for you here”, I proposed. “I will help you. We will go slowly. If you start feeling uncomfortable, we will return”, said Anand. “Hmm… okay. Let’s try”, I replied. Yups, even I didn’t want to miss this. It would have been even better if I could go out but pity that I can’t :(.
With help from Anand, I slowly walked towards the lift. We waited for the lift to come down. Frank walked out of it. “Too early to snow and too much for the first day”, remarked Frank when he saw us. Frank is the caretaker of our building. He was right. It was snowing quite heavily and for quite sometime now.
We reached the sixth floor of our building. The view from there was so beautiful. I thanked Anand for bringing me up there. I was seeing snow in reality for the first time in my life. I was used to see Heverlee in green. Now seeing it getting painted in white was sort of unbelievable. Both of us stood there in silence, savoring the first snowfall of the season. I then pulled out my mobile phone and took some pictures from there. I stretched my hand out, hoping to catch some snow flakes. I wanted to feel them. Some snow flakes fell on my hand. Before I could bring my hand closer and look at them, they melted away. Anand smiled on seeing the disappointed look on my face.
“Let’s go now, Anand”, I suggested, “I am feeling tired and a little cold too”. “Ok”, said he.
Now almost a year later, it has snowed again. I was lucky this time to go out into the first snowfall. I recalled the above incident of last year’s first snowfall as I biked back home. It seemed so fresh in my memory. May be, it is difficult to forget one’s first snow fall, like it is difficult to forget one’s first love…