Little things matter

Ever since we shifted to this house almost six years ago, the road outside our apartment complex had been in a terrible state.

It’s an uphill climb and the way is littered with loose rubble from the empty plot bordering it on one side. On the other side, is a mall with three parking outlets opening onto the road. Each time a vehicle drives out we have a mini jam. The monsoon adds to the chaos.

I drive up and down this road four times every day and I have nicknamed the road DWTH – disaster-waiting-to-happen.

Then, a month ago repair work began. Before we could celebrate, with a few meters of road remaining to be done, the rain gods decided to open up the sluice gates and everything came to a halt. For a month it just lay there half done.

Finally, today when I stepped out, I found a freshly tarred road glistening at me in all its shiny black glory. I cannot tell you what an instant mood-uplifter it was.

I believed I had gone over the road so many times I had stopped thinking about how terrible it was. But to my surprise, it mattered. It mattered a lot. I drove to work in a happy frame of mind – the best way to begin a work day.

It’s strange how many tiny seemingly inconsequential things our daily happinesses are made of. And, in their absence, how many daily frustrations we are bombarded by without being aware.

Dug up roads, no streetlights, people cutting you off in traffic, constant loud honking — each small encounter adds to our stress and shows up in unexpected ways in unexpected places.

City travel leaves us irritated, impatient, ready to fly off the handle and that’s why we have so many cases of road rage. These routine irritations often build up into something big.

An attitude of gratitude helps. Each day I am grateful I have a short commute, that I get to work in a cool and comfortable environment, that I have people I can talk to.

Also, daily acts of kindness become ever more important. While we might not be able to fix roads, there are a million small ways in which we can help strangers and make their day a little bit better as they negotiate these routine annoyances.

For now, I’m going to focus on that smooth-like-butter road and wish for it, a long and uneventful life.

Tell me, what are the small things that made your day happy today.

Was it the barista who remembered your usual order? Or perhaps a stranger who held the door open for you? Maybe it was the unexpected text from an old friend that brought a smile to your face.

2 Replies to “Little things matter”

  1. Having good roads to drive on is a blessing. One can perform extensive Pooja paath for their long life to appease the deities.
    The rain began for Bangalore around mid-May and the monsoon hit us on June 1st with heavy rainfall. We waited for the rain for 5 months to rescue us from drought and heat. Now that the rain is here, the roads are gone. We have returned to meandering through craters.

    What made me smile this morning was your previous post. I am so glad I could make time today (in a long time) to come visit your blog today

    1. It’s raining here too and though the road outside our complex is holding on, much of the rest of it is all dug up. I wonder why all road repairs begin right before the monsoon. Sigh! Imagine trying to drive on a wet half dug-up road with no streetlights. It’s a nightmare.

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