March 2020 (India): Tired and exhausted after a week of exhaustion at work, commute, deadlines, meetings, finally it was Friday. I stopped at the barista to join my spouse whom I had kept waiting for more than an hour as I was stuck up in heavy traffic which was of course a usual scenario every Friday evening.
As I walked into the café, all drained and exhausted, I saw him sitting there at our favorite corner table enjoying the beauty of the mighty serene Brahmaputra River, through the glass pane.
I reached the table and patted his back while muttering about the traffic to myself. He turned towards me, stood up, pulled the chair, and smiled widely from ear to ear.
His face resembled the excitement and zeal of a ‘teenager on his first date’. He looked at me as if we had met after several months. And this was his usual behavior ever since I met him first a decade back.
Well, this was his usual behavior. Whether I returned back from work or from shopping, or he returned from office; at a restaurant or a movie, every time he met me after a certain interval, he would greet me, smile, and just be joyful. Yes, he too had his low times but I have never heard him complaining or blaming people and situations.
He: “I have already ordered Cappuccino and oatmeal cookies… your favorite!”
Me:Yeah…with long sigh!
Me: What makes you so excited? This is the same place where we come every Friday. We stay together and anyways we are heading home after an hour. It’s just another Friday evening! What’s so special?
He kept quiet and said nothing.
I kept on browsing through Instagram and twitter feeds aimlessly as I sat there while he discussed and planned about our upcoming trip in June. He watched as I kept on constantly complaining and getting irritated. After a while, we drove back home
Suddenly in a deep calm voice, he said….
“Do you know what’s so special about sitting at the barista on a Friday evening with you, or a usual dinner at home…Why am I eternally excited to come back home and meet you after the long day at work….or what is so exciting being able to return home earlier just to wait and open the door for you when you come back?….”
I looked at him expecting some deep life philosophy; but to my surprise, he just uttered one sentence.
“I am grateful for everything in life and I never take anything for granted”, he said smilingly as he changed the gear with the childlike smile on his face.
Fast forward, August 2020: Life has changed dramatically ever since that Friday evening. More than 100 days since then. With the dozens of news updates every single hour, the end of COVID-19 doesn’t seem near. And when it ends, will we be able to return back to the so-called normalcy. Lockdowns, face masks, work-from-home has become the new normal. The usual Friday evenings at Barista seems like a distant dream.
An invisible Virus has made me realize one of the most profound lessons of life. The words of my spouse on that Friday evening still rings in my ears,
“I am grateful for everything in life and I never take anything for granted”
Today as I sit back and reflect, I feel grateful for all the care and affection I received from my spouse. From packing my lunch box to picking me up from work, from dealing with my tantrums during my chums to nursing me during viral fevers, from waiting at the Barista to opening the door for me at home…he has been like the sole foot soldier working relentlessly to offer his care and affection to me…He has been an untitled, undemanding, and unconditional caregiver to me under all circumstances. And now more than ever, I feel grateful and blessed to share this journey of life and marriage with him.
The extent to which life will change post-COVID-19 is uncertain. But, the way I look at life now has definitely changed.
- Have you also taken your closest one for granted?
- Have you also gone through some real transformation during this pandemic?
- Are you grateful for the person who cares for you?
Let’s pause for a while! Offer your heartfelt thanks & gratitude to all such persons in our life and be grateful for the beautiful things life has to offer!