Saturday was a travel day for me. In some respects, it was quite unusual, beginning with the news of sad demise of my friend, ending with my small accident in Pune. In one other way, however, it was utterly typical: I was surrounded by people every step along the way. Almost every time I travel by bus — meaning the auto-rickshaw / Taxi or city bus from home, standing in line at the Bus Stand, the bus travel to another city, and again the auto-rickshaw / Taxi or city bus to the place of visit or residence — I am reminded of this fact: People are Stories!
You meet a lot of people with different backgrounds and stories, especially in a Bus Travel, every time. Yesterday I heard stories about lost airplane tickets, a family reunion, an illicit affair, getting fired from a job, the birth of a baby, the death of a family dog and the impact on the owners, my friend’s chaotic trip to Japan. And those are just the ones I can dredge up from my memories, plenty more I heard in passing.
As writers, we search for stories…or at least should be doing so. I plead with my college students, “Please, when you are out in public, at least once a day, turn off all your social media, and pay attention to the people around you. Every single person who passes your way could be the story you were meant to write, the story that could become the basis of a Script or a Novel that could Change Your Life.”
So the next time you’re travelling or standing in the line at the grocery store…riding the bus or local train…attending a concert or sporting event…going for a walk in the park… anything that causes you to intersect with people, instead of seeking refuge in iTunes or flipping through tweets or liking & commenting on Facebook on your cellphone…
Stop. Look. Listen.
Because People Are Stories..!
[P.S.: They are also dialogue.]
On his deathbed Alexander the Great summoned his generals and told them his three ultimate wishes:
1. The best doctors should carry his coffin.
2. The wealth he had accumulated (money, gold, precious stones) should be scattered along the way to his burial.
3. His hands should be left hanging outside the coffin for all to see.
Surprised by these unusual requests, one of his generals asked Alexander to explain. Here is what he said: “I want the best doctors to carry my coffin to demonstrate that in the face of death, even the best doctors in the world have no power to heal. I want the road to be covered with my treasure so that everybody sees that the wealth acquired on earth, stays on earth. I want my hands to swing in the wind so that people understand that we come to this world empty-handed and we leave empty-handed after the most precious treasure of all is exhausted — TIME.”
Time is our most precious treasure because it is limited. We can produce more wealth, but we cannot produce more time. The ultimate mystery: None of us knows how much time we really have.
When we give someone our time, we actually give a portion of our life that we will never get back.
Our TIME is Our LIFE!
Our TIME is our LIFE!