Stranger in a Big City

I was heading home on the tube yesterday. As I was walking in at St Paul’s station, I found myself slow down at the soulful voice of the girl singing a beautiful song on the guitar. I have a new found appreciation for tube performers (thanks to having realized how difficult it is to play the guitar, and sing) and as I put in my tip and walked by, I stopped again for a few seconds, leant a wall and soaked it in.

I noticed a young woman, probably in her late 20’s, right opposite, doing the same.

We were both on board the next train a couple of minutes later.

“That music took me back home.” She said with a smile.

I learnt that the song was a song that was from Michigan, where she came from. She spoke of how the soulful song transported her home for a moment. I noticed a tear in her eye as she spoke of home where everyone knew everyone. “Very different from scary London” she said. I nodded. I could relate.

We spent barely 5 minutes conversing about a whole bunch of topics. She was upset about the economy back home and was hopeful the US would bounce back. And we bade goodbye to each other as she got off. “Well, it was nice meeting you. Good luck with.. everything” she said, as she walked away. I wished her the same. I could still make that tear out in her eye.

I don’t know her name but I do know that conversation touched a chord. For a brief moment, I could relate to her even if we had barely spoken. We were both strangers in a big city after all, far far away from home.

Experiences like this remind me about how connected we all are. It’s a connection we take for granted when we are at home. But, miles away in distant lands, these occasional connections remind us that we are all human beings with similar wants, needs, dreams and aspirations. And yet, we often have all these artificial boundaries – caste, creed, colour and race that mess this wonderful natural equation up.

What is life if it is not to feel this connection to humanity?

As I walked out of the tube, I thought of the song “Home” that I’ve been listening to as I’ve typed this. It is a song about love.

“Home is wherever I’m with you.”

Home is where the heart is, where love is. And if there is love, home can be everywhere.

So much to discover, learn and experience. Don’t let a bad day at the office fool you.

It’s a wonderful life.