Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Strangers, Books and Morning Commutes

Source of picture: taufidius

In my various attempts to stay positive in the mornings, I've taken a shine to the ways I travel to work. So much so, that it has come to the point where the best part of my day is getting a seat on the train (if luck permits), taking out a book and reading for the next 15-20 minutes until I reach my destination. 80% of the time, I narrowly miss the crowds associated with the peak hour traffic and am left alone to enjoy my peace and personal space.

Of course, there are always downsides to catching the train to work: the feeling of being pushed up against another person's body during peak hours, the screaming kids that can be heard 2 carriages down the train, the volume of music that can be heard being blasted on a pitiful teenager's headphones... and the list goes on.

I owe it to the books I carry with me for some of the most interesting and insightful conversations that I've had with complete strangers. As I've noted in a previous post. I was happily reading One Day on a train in Singapore and struck a conversation with an older man sitting next to me. He asked me what book I was reading so I proceeded to tell him. The conversation then turned to how we could all spend our time in more economical ways. (For me, it was reading books. For him, it was the newspaper or striking up conversations with strangers!) 

It is highly likely I may never see him again, but I appreciate the curiousness and time taken to get to know me better. And before this elderly man left, he shook hands with me and mentioned what a pleasure it was to talk. I suppose, in a way, I am curious when speaking to strangers too. Curious to know what their interests are, how they think, and essentially, discovering glimpses as to who they are. There are always stories that are amazing, beautiful and interesting. And, if one has the chance to come across lovely folk, appreciate their kindness and sincerity - take the time to get to know them better as they have to you.

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