All over the places you inhabited, in all the nooks and crannies that you could be contained, I looked for you, haunted, exploring all your haunts till I was fuzzy-brained. Ready to give up, readier than I had been for being given up, I glanced up and realised that I had looked right through, That searching beneath, beside, between, beyond, I had failed to look at you. First published inLabyrinth, September 2010.
The expression of gratitude brings immense happiness to both the giver and the recipient. Yet we are shy of expressing it because we find it awkward or ‘soppy’ or, worse, because it never strikes us. But no excuse is good enough for not saying something as simple as ‘thank you’, and here is a list of people one can begin thanking right away. If they are still a part of our everyday lives, that’s great. If not, we owe our thanks to them even if we have to seek them out. There are also those people we meet and lose within a few seconds, whom we should learn to recognize and acknowledge better and more quickly next time.
Thanking people for these ‘unremembered acts of kindness and of love’ makes one feel humbled and fulfilled; we realize it was a good life because it was enriched by the goodness of so many others. The humility that gratitude brings about enables us to give more, opens us up to receiving more.
*The boss who never looked askance at the delayed assignment that was the chief ingredient of your nightmares for weeks.
*The silent lover who was always quietly and dignifiedly (without becoming a stalker) there for you, all the time knowing his feelings couldn’t be reciprocated the same way.
*The friend who always ends up doing things for you much more frequently than you do for her.
*The partner who gently points out your mistakes in specific situations and talks about ‘what you did’ rather than ‘who you are’, thus avoiding the use of labels you could be stuck with for life though you may have shrugged them off at the time.
*The street vendor who, potentially making the fanciest restaurants partake of humble pie, would always give you an extra portion of the side dish, though his profit margins make you wonder if he manages to take home anything at all.
*The stranger who takes the trouble to find you and return the phone you had forgotten at a public place.
*The family member who supported you through an unconventional life choice you made.
*The sibling whose unflinching loyalty never wavered in the face of your occasional, callous meanness.
*The grandparent whose indulgence made you wonder for some time if you might be worth more than you think you are.
*The mentor who neither pampered your mediocrity nor dismissed you for it but clearly saw how much more you’re capable of, and made you believe in it yourself.
*The teacher who treated you like an adult for the first time and talked to you like an equal, making you feel like your opinion matters, who took you seriously and therefore made you take yourself seriously.