Saw an uncle with a head of white hair standing quite far away from me, perhaps around 3 metres away, while I sat on the plastic, unfeeling MRT seat. I could not rest easy, not while someone else was in greater need of the seat I was resting. Squirming a little, I thought of how I could give up my seat to the aged uncle.
Many people were standing in front of me, each absorbed in themselves, in their own worlds. Was quite reluctant to shout to grab the uncle's attention. Embarrassed about disturbing the egocentric reverie of the people around me, all oblivious - deliberately or otherwise? - to the people around them.
I squirmed on the chair, guilty about being so self-conscious that I dared not do what was right. What if the uncle rejected me? Won't I feel disconcerted? Could still remember the time when I graciously gave up my seat to a granny, only to have her reject it most vigorously. That time, the carriage worth of people was roused from their worlds and stared most curiously at the two of us.
Just thinking about this incident caused my face to flush. Perhaps, the past has been limiting my present. Perhaps, if so, I shouldn't let it limit me any more.
For no rhyme or reason, I thought of a quote and drew strength from it. 'When you're 18, you're only too conscious of what the world is thinking of you. When you're 40, you no longer care for what the world is thinking of you. And when you're 60, you realise that the world had never been looking at you.'
So I stood up, blocked the way to my seat and boomed, 'Uncle.'
No, not really, I merely squeaked. The uncle didn't manage to catch my voice. Ended up getting a rather curt stranger to get the uncle on to my seat. The sombre coolness of the strangers around me, surprisingly, didn't affect me much.
Felt a sense of serenity that was profoundly beautiful.