Yesterday evening while returning back to IITB, I found that even after like 5 bus stops(or more) had passed, the seat besides me was vacant. I looked around and the bus was pretty much filled. Not that, I wanted someone seated besides me but still the thought was stacked in somewhere in my mental stack as to why wouldn’t someone consider sitting besides me(also I was seated halfway from the start.) while I continued reading(a book called – “Philosophy of Mathematics”). “Maybe it’s my beard or my mustache”, I said to myself.
After a while(yeah obviously, not sitting besides me is a worse option than standing) an old (probably Maharashtrian) lady sat besides me with a very small kid (wondering how small? – yeah he still had 270 bones and “cried” to convey what he wanted) The kid was very energetic and keenly observing everything around, trying to grab things, put them in his mouth, be extremely unstable, fussy, unsatisfied, searching, learning and most importantly watching. Learning entirely through what they see. Just purely interested in watching and learning. The amazement on seeing something new and eyes wide open or perfectly shut. No double standards. Pure.
After sometime, the baby started crying and moving randomly as if it was searching for freedom, wanting something. The old lady didn’t know. Some woman standing behind tried to make faces and made the baby smile for exactly 12 seconds. After that, it started crying again. Extremely irritated by something, not known. Then after sometime it faced me for the first time. I looked at him and smiled. He at once smiled back. He stopped crying at once and it lasted more than 12 seconds! “Maybe it’s my beard or my mustache”, I said to myself. Well, then I asked myself, where was I? I had 3 women, an old lady carrying the kid and the kid itself all staring at me at the same time, all waiting for me to do something, something magical which will keep the kid smiling(or at least not cry). I clapped and waved my hand to the kid and he continued smiling. This kid was a keen observer and unlike most, his view didn’t change, I was clapping and making sound with my fingers, but after some time, he stopped following my weird sound-making attempts. He concentrated way too much on things. As I was sitting on the “window-seat” the kid started looking at the fast moving vehicles outside the window. Ohh, he was very amazed! His eyes wide open and unmoving. Then he started making attempts to catch the cars by actually jumping out on me and trying to grab the cars as they pass by! This act was magical. He did for a long time and finally paid attention to me, and I at once smiled. He noticed, I was reading something and then he looked at me, then looked at the book and then again looked at me; as if he was trying to ask me what I was reading. Again, that stare. After that, he got a bit naughty and started pulling my kurta. The old lady by then had some smile on her face (after the initial trouble) and she was trying her best to keep the kid away from pulling my kurta!