Err....I don't stare; though a friend always catches me "staring" at people.
I like to observe at things happening around. I can observe a cow swatting away flies with her tail as she is walking in her own rhythm without being bothered about all those honks on the road with the same interest as I would watch a lady swirling her hair as she talks to her male friend flirtatiously.
One can watch the world go by caught up in a frenzy of activities. You could actually create a humorous situation in your head and place yourself amidst those serious ones and laugh at it. Let me admit; mind you, this is a secret I haven't revealed to anyone yet. As a student; I've often visualised my teachers breaking into a dance in front of the class whenever they would be annoyed at the class and yelling. What I would visualise was an imaginary transition from their tense mood to a jovial one and start to dance! See! this is what I am talking about; it's impossible to ever get bored.
The indulgence I get in a crowded place like waiting at the airport lounge or sipping coffee by the street watching crowds is inexplicable. I get to be myself - being shy and reserved, I can easily hide and be non-existent as I watch the world!. I love the anonymity; times when you don't have to force a small talk or smile or hide your face behind a book. At such times, there is no need to feel guilty at all. You can just sit aimlessly for minutes if not for hours without someone having to stare back at you and just let your imagination flow.
Watching people and animals - oh! it is so enriching. It has made me undergo a deluge of emotions - from feeling happy to sad, from feeling accomplished to worthless. There was this one instance where I was waiting for my connecting flight from Guadalajara, Mexico to Guatemala. There were this Central American origin American family who were enjoying their pepperoni pizza while the kids played on their respective latest iPhones. My hand involuntarily clutched my 3 year old broken and dented old iPhone and buried it deep in my handbag. I didn't want to be seen with a broken phone. It was a funny reaction of mine! Nevertheless; the after-thoughts were interesting. Why did I feel ashamed? Was it because I felt though I earned; I couldn't afford a latest iPhone? Or was it the thought of feeling thankful that I at least had a phone and was able to travel to my favourite destination? Was it the thought of how could few indulge while the vast majority had no access to basic water and food?
It's the butterfly effect; these observations invoke in me. It could start as a silly thought and end up with "what is our purpose in life?" kind of philosophical question. Like the way it happened last week. I was on my way to work when I saw a dog lying on the side of the road on a flyover. I just had two seconds of glimpse. Right after that; a volley of emotions consumed me. Was the dog alive yet? Why was it on the side lying? How long has it been there? It was hot and the road would be scorching. Did it get hit by a vehicle and put aside to die or was it left there from some other place? Why was a lone dog on the flyover? They don't generally do that! The entire morning went in brooding and a mixture of sadness and guilt for not stopping by. Even as I was commuting; I had to control the urge of asking the driver to turn around or stop. What would I do even if I turned around and went near the dog. Which auto or cab would be ready to transport an injured animal to a hospital.
I actually left office in the noon; unable to control my thoughts. I went back to check and the dog was not there anymore; perhaps corporation disposed off the body. Throughout this ordeal; I was actually contemplating whether had I not been looking around; would I have felt this guilt and agony? What was it? Does it mean these pathetic things don't happen if I didn't see them?
Well, the post turned out to be intense. That's the beauty of observing things around you. You learn a lot, you introspect, you become aware. The spirit of life, the void of lifelessness, the ray of hope and the vacuum of despair - they all co-exist.