I had a work-related meeting to attend to this afternoon. I had to reach the venue at 1 o’clock sharp but I reached there about 40 minutes before the scheduled time. So I was just waiting on the roadside few steps away from the venue to kill some extra time I had. Punctuality is not what it used to be a few decades ago anymore. Being late and early are considered equally bad because being somewhere early is considered a sign that you have nothing good to do with your time. In order to not create a bad first impression, I decided to reach the venue at the exact time.
As I was watching people passing by, I got lost in thoughts of some of the earlier meetings of this kind which didn’t turn out to be as fruitful as expected. Needless to say, such thoughts always seem to consume a part of positivity in you. After just 10 minutes of thinking, I was left with the notion that today’s meeting was not going to yield anything. I started to feel less and less confident with every moment that passed.
Instinctively I looked to my right and noticed that a small schoolgirl of about 7-8 years of age was standing by my side, probably waiting for the bus or something. She looked worried and puzzled but I ignored her and started to look at the building I was to enter in about 25 minutes. Suddenly I felt somebody touch my hand. I turned to find that the girl was looking at me. I gestured with my eyebrows “What?”. She said, “Do you see anything here?” and she pointed to her left. I could only see the side of her school bag and found that a water bottle was stuffed into the side pocket.
I thought she wanted me to give her the water bottle as she didn’t want to take the bag off of her shoulders. I pulled that bottle out and tried to give it to her. She said, “No, not this. Look here.” pointing towards her left shoulder. I looked carefully and couldn’t help smiling after I saw that some bird had apparently pooped on her shoulder. A little embarrassed to see me smiling, she said, “OK, put some water on it from my bottle.” I opened the lid of the bottle and did exactly as I was told.
It obviously didn’t clean her shirt. Her expression became more serious and she said, “How would I clean it?” I asked if she had a piece of paper to which she responded in negative. I said, “Why don’t you tear one from one of your notebooks?” She changed her expression to even more worried, if that was possible and said, “The teacher will get angry and shout at me if I’d do anything like that.” I quickly looked away because I was literally laughing by that point.
Then I saw an empty box of some medicine lying on the ground in front of a medical store. I picked it up and tore a piece of hard paper from it. She looked at the piece with hope and turned her side to me so that I could clean her shoulder. I cleaned the droppings on her shoulder with it and when I was satisfied that it couldn’t be cleaned more, I threw the piece away. She took a look at her shoulder and turned to go into an alley. She walked a few steps and almost ran back towards me, stopped and said, “Thank you”. I nodded to welcome her expression of gratitude. She faintly smiled at me and started walking back into the alley. I kept looking at her until she met a woman on her way, likely her mother, held her hand and started to walk again. For a minute, I reminisced about a similar incident that happened to me when I was in school. I checked the time – I still had 15 minutes to go.
Suddenly I felt so graceful and carefree that without further thinking, I went ahead and entered the building. The meeting went pretty well and I felt myself in control of every moment while I was in there. After the meeting, I took the bus back home. It took me 90 minutes to reach home and every moment during that time, I had nothing but happy thoughts in my mind.
I realized today that no matter how much negativity one feels inside him, just a pinch of innocence can make it all go away. In fact, the reason for all kinds of complications and worries in our lives is that we lack that innocence and truthfulness. Only if we can find a way to keep the innocence alive in ourselves and the people around us, we will never be unhappy. I still don’t know if I will get anything good out of today’s meeting but I still can’t care about it. I will never forget how a little girl unknowingly affected my perspective forever.