Journey with a song in your heart and all will be well with your world!!
For several months now, along our daily walking route, we have found a man, a chaiwallah, who is always singing aloud as he goes about serving tea to security staff, who watch over buildings, in the neighborhood. He isn’t a good singer at all – in fact, he sings horribly! Yet the man sings loudly, bindaas, with gay abandon, unmindful of the early morning quiet on the streets, not in the least sensitive that he could actually be waking up people – and rather rudely at that! In a way, over time, I began to admire the man’s nonchalance. He seemed to be thoroughly enjoying who he was and was forever immersed in his singing!
This morning Vaani and I interrupted his blissful singing reverie. We asked him what makes him sing so deliriously? He didn’t even think as he replied: “I enjoy singing, it makes me happy!”
His name, we soon found out, is Laxman Sahu. He’s 50 – though he doesn’t look that! He’s from Jharkhand; he loves Dhoni, he loves his work as a chaiwallah and he loves to sing. He sings “any song” that comes “out of his mobile”. His favorite Hindi songs are from the 1995-classic Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge. He has 3 sons, the oldest of them is employed as a driver in Nashik, Maharashtra. He lives alone in Chennai, sells 1000 cups of tea in a day and is able to send Rs.20,000 back home for his family each month after covering all his costs and expenses here. His says he loves the hours he puts in at work – he walks all over to sell the tea he makes, he doesn’t have a tea-stall or a pushcart or even a bicycle – and says he keeps singing because it makes “everything so easy”: “Mujhe gaane mein bahut anand milta hai – Singing makes me happy!”
Laxman’s simple, rustic, real world philosophy appealed immensely to Vaani and me. He’s truly Zen.
Have we ever considered why we work so hard? Why are we constantly putting up with pressure-cooker situations in Life? Why are we on the ‘earning a living’ treadmill most of the time? When do we think we are going to quit this rat race? I think if we pause to ask ourselves these questions, we will all end up saying we are doing whatever we are doing to be happy some day, hopefully, in the future. So, subconsciously, we are postponing our happiness thinking we can soon catch up with the Life we always wanted to live. That, sadly, may never happen. You can never regain the Life you have not lived!
Now, Laxman is neither educated nor is he intellectual. Yet he inspires – by simply being who he is. He told us that he only wanted to serve his customers the best tea that money can buy, but beyond that, all he wanted to do was to sing. For, he said, “all was well with his world – no complaints!” Interestingly, as you can see in this video here, he’s living his Life fully, he’s not waiting for “things to fall in place”, he’s not waiting for the “right time”, he’s just being happy doing what he loves doing. They say Zen is to “chop wood, carry water”. Laxman’s Zen, it appears, is to “serve tea and carry on singing”! What’s your Zen?