​​Sawubona

I wake up early, check my phone, then sleep again! So, I am NOT really an early riser but a hopelessly late starter. In fact, according to my research, it looks like I am evolving, but slowly! As a practice, before I leave for the office, I try to finish my morning rituals and ensure that my house looks neat. Oh! and I also respond to the ‘raised eyebrow look’ that my husband gives me a couple of times before a final boarding call that says, “Can we please leave? Else, I am leaving!” which I conveniently manage to dodge like a pro!
Anyway, after all the hustle and the tussle, I reach my office building at around 10:30 AM daily. 
Since the last few days, I am reaching either early or much later than my scheduled time. Today, I was in at 9 A.M. and while taking the lift, I had a chance encounter with the same young woman who I meet every day during my usual time. She looks at me and smiles. No conversation at all, just an acknowledgment of each other’s presence. Today, for the first time, she asked me, “Hi, how are you? It’s been a while!”. I responded in surprise because we happen to meet every day. She noticed and said, “I did not see you in the lift since quite some time. That’s why!” 
I felt really good. Compassion is such a thing! She has curly hair too, but her curls are bigger and heavier than mine. They are salt and peppery, unlike my rigid black. And, she has the warmest smile which I don’t. My smile is conditional to temperamental fluctuations. Hers is unbelievably consistent. Every time we meet, she would greet me like somebody known, since ages.
In South Africa, we say ‘Sawubona’ which is a Zulu word for ‘Hello’. When you translate it, it means ‘I see you, and by seeing you, I bring you into being’. I heard it the first time from a Harvard Medical School psychologist, Susan David. When I meet her, I love the feeling of ‘being there’. 
– Manvi

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