Crossing paths

People that go by
Spread a smile

We are all passersby in someone’s life as others are in ours and we are meant to part ways at the end of the day.

We may have crossed paths on the same road for a nanosecond, waited on the same stopover for a few minutes. Or might have sat next to each other, shared the same class for a couple of years, otherwise, various life circumstances and randomness of life could have allowed us to cross paths.

But there is a beauty in meeting everyone, acquaintances, lovers, seasonal friends and even the ones you don’t wish to cross paths once again, for each of them has conferred some sort of insights that later led the way through the enigma called life. All the laughter, smiles, tears and the roundabout experiences you once shared, contributed to the pieces that made you into a wholesome person. As Russian psychologist Vygotsky observed, we become ourselves through others.

Brief commune with the worries and hopes of others revealed how their lives are in many respects radically at odds with one’s own.

People are more mysterious, complex and interesting than we have imagined, so are their interactions with others. A few folks leave a lasting impression on others, despite their fleeting association. When one plays the violin they may fondly remember the music teacher who taught them how to hold the instrument properly. Or at times you might recall the kind gesture of someone who helped you during a period of crisis. 

On the same note, some interactions rub many people the wrong way. It is not unusual to find people carrying bitterness or grudges throughout their lives against someone for their meanness, or for the harm they have inflicted. Few associations are similar to those thunderstorms with lightning bolts, and one might learn to survive from the scars caused by them.

So it’s quite common for people to hastily categorize another person either as good or evil, without evaluating the possibilities or context of their circumstances.

Often a person who is recognized as a saviour by a section of the society could be labelled as evil by yet another. However, people are inherently different versions of themselves to different people. Maybe there are no good or evil persons per se, but only individuals, who are capable of committing good and evil acts from time to time. People surprise you, in ways one can never expect.

Human beings are great storytellers, and they relish narrating their own life stories every now and then. No narration sits by itself, sometimes stories meet at unexpected corners and often our narrative gets covered by another’s. Surprisingly your story becomes part of theirs, and theirs yours. In short, personal narratives are forever altered by crossed paths.

The significance of people we chance to meet in our lives is well illustrated by the author Mitch Albom in his bestselling novel, The five people you meet in heaven.

Eddy, the protagonist in the novel, after his death meets five people in heaven and through each one of them gets to acquire a different viewpoint about his life spent on the world.

The book goes on to say that each one of them that you have encountered, was in your life for a reason. You may not have known the reason at that time, and that is what heaven is for. For understanding your life on earth.

Are we doomed to fathom the essence of life until we are not a part of it anymore? As narrated by the author, does one have to wait until he gets to heaven to make sense of the world he already left? Obviously not, one can always strive to make sense of their yesterdays and make an effort to see things in a new light.

Can we think about having a moment amidst the busy life and mentally run through a list of people we are grateful to and recall the good they have done for you. In the same manner, can one try to be more forgiving and more accommodating towards those who might have harmed you? It may be one of those ideologies that are easier said than done. But one can not disagree with what Frank Ocean once quoted, We met for a reason, either you’re a blessing or a lesson.
Remember, both are indispensable for living.

Sayeeda Pearl

Doctor by profession, Trivandrum medical college alumni, a passionate reader first, writing tidbits here and there on this and that. Sharing bits of life’s fascinating teachings that everyone encounters.

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