“Be the reason someone smiles. Be the reason someone feels loved and believes in the goodness in people.”
― Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart
It stands off to a side such that it’s visible from both ends of the endless road. I pass by it at 8:45 am or so but the atmosphere it exudes and the stark, beautiful organisation of all the articles hints at the fact that it’s set up early in the morning.
And then there’s her. The guardian of the curve.
She’s a frail old woman, visibly somewhere in her seventies, always dressed in the sort of clothes that blend into the world and her hair tucked high into a bun with a dazzling smile plastered on her face. I don’t know her name, where she’s from or how long she’s been running that little roadside stall, situated just a few metres before the road curves into another street.
The shop itself is a cute old thing, its built almost tailored to fit into that little spot by the roadside. There’s an aluminium roof over it, a blue metal sheet that sparkles blindingly in the sun. On a little wooden box that stretches across half the width of the shop is where she exhibits all the treasures her shop has to offer. There are jars of candy; all sorts; white, green or blue and further down the wooden aisle, you can see clear plastic packets of clean, shiny new pencils, pens and erasers. The clear rulers; big and small are hung on the wall behind her because they’re too lanky, to look at home, among the other paraphernalia she houses. From the roof hangs a bunch of canes for the teachers, they’re made from good quality bamboo and while their main purpose is to maintain discipline, they’re bought for games and building childhood fantasies too.
While the shop itself is a fantasy house of wonder, she’s the one who gives it a soul, painting a picture of kindness sending pangs of affirmation across all who pass her and her trusty shop. Every time I pass that shop, she’s there behind the wooden box; partially hidden by a cloth hanging from the roof and the canes; beaming at her young customers as they purchase one candy after the next.
The word around is that there’s nothing you couldn’t find in that shop. Opposite her humble store is a collective bunch of three shops that tempt people with all their pretty coloured merchandise and the availability of a printer and sports attire. But even though I don’t know any student or person on that road, I have a feeling, everyone would choose the guardian over the other three on any given day.
A few years of passing by and not talking to her or thanking her, I can see the charm she exudes. Her trusty stall provides a safe and secure space for all lost wanderers, she has the best pens and on days when schools hold finals, I see lines of children stretching along the length of their school in the background awaiting their chance to get their hands on a pen from the beloved guardian.
Without realising what she does, this woman continues to watch over those who pass by her shop and those who stop by and keep them safe. A glimpse at her little, old store seems to whisper,
“Here, you’ll find your heart’s desire wrapped and ready for you. Dear, stay a moment or two, for you are welcome – always.”
“How far that little candle throws his beams! So shines a good deed in a weary world.”
― William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice
Introverted Thoughts aka D
The above is heavily inspired by an old shopkeeper whom I pass by daily on my school commute. Her shop is situated to the edge of a road with a school in the background. I know next to nothing about her except that she’s always there for the students, all set and ready to go by the time they’re there. She’s an absolute wonder and I’m grateful to her, for her relentless presence, at times of need.