Saturday, November 22, 2014

Week Forty-seven – Parallel Worlds!

Somewhere, somehow, someone is doing exactly the same thing as you are right now!

St Petersburg!
Without getting too much into science fiction, have you ever stop and think that as you were scratching your nose right now, somewhere, somehow, someone would have also been scratching his or her nose? Or as you take a bite of your cheese and ham sandwich someone has also just taken a bite of an exactly the same sandwich? With millions of people in this world it is very likely that we live parallel lives with other people in other places, doing the same activities we do at the same time. I would like to think that there is someone out there who is your double, have you ever heard of that? Someone out there, looks, acts and even speaks the same as you… that is freaky!

I was visiting the very cold and crowded city of Moscow this week where I had the opportunity to take the metro to go to the train station to catch my train to St Petersburg. For those of you who know or have heard about the underground in Moscow, their main line called the ring line (because is a loop that surrounds central Moscow) is not just an ordinary metro line with ordinary underground stations. This main line was built as an incredible work of art. The stations themselves are like museums with marble walls and impressive chandeliers, mosaic works of art and monumental archways. Before getting into the underground I was warn about the hundreds of commuters we would encounter because of the rush hour and to stay close to ensure I didn’t get lost.

But as we went down the escalator and the artistic architecture of the station appeared I forgot all about the rush hour and the large commuter crowds around me. I couldn’t stop looking around and out of the window as we pass each station towards our destination. I had to be doubly alert, to make sure I didn’t get lost and to appreciate the settings in the very short window of time I had in each station.

We finally arrived at the train station, which was equally impressive, and I boarded the train for my four-hour journey to another impressive and beautiful city, St Petersburg. When I arrived at my destination, the fully packed train of business commuters descended upon the platform and marched towards the main station to exit to the streets. And at this moment, as I marched along the platform with my black coat and grey cap, dragging my suitcase, shoulder to shoulder with my fellow Russian travelling companions, I notice music playing over the speakers. I don’t know what the tune was but it was a very patriotic Russian hymn that somehow transported me to think what it would have been like 30 years ago during the Soviet era as people commuted from one city to the next. There was something about being surrounded by Russians, with the beautifully patriotic hymn paying in the background and me looking like an Armenian (someone had said I did with my coat and cap earlier on) arriving in a minus 10 degrees St. Petersburg that got me that Dejavou feeling without being Dejavou!

I began to reflected on this experience on my way to the hotel and I couldn’t help thinking that, although extraordinary and fascinating for me, this journey was just a routine to all those around me. The commuters in Moscow did not once raise their eyes to look at the impressive stations; they’ve probably seen them thousands of times! No one paid attention to the beautiful patriotic hymn that plays to welcome you to St Petersburg (I found out later on that they always play it when a train arrives); they probably finding it annoying or have been come deaf to it as they’ve heard it thousands of times! And my driver kept his eyes on the road (good thing, trust me) whilst I marbled at the astonishing building of this amazing city: he’s probably seen these building thousands of times and is not marbled by them any more!

How many times have you travelled around your city during your day-to-day commuting looking at the buildings and surroundings saying “what an amazing place!”?; probably never. I used to work by the sea and after awhile the novelty of seeing the see wears out! We are all the same as the commuters in Moscow who no longer look at their surroundings, no matter how beautiful or impressive they are. We are all the same as the train passengers arriving at St Petersburg when you arrive at your railway station. Somehow, somewhere someone is doing the same thing, as you are this very same moment, whether it is on the Circle line in London or the Ring Line in Moscow, and we all have stopped looking at our surroundings, but somehow, somewhere someone is taking the same train at the same time as you!

We all live in our own little world but that world is somehow connected to the universe around us. When you cry, there are probably thousands of people also crying at the same time. When you laugh with joy, others are also bursting out with laughter, the same time as you. When it hurts, someone somewhere has also been hurt.

We are not alone and we are all connected. This crazy and wild thought could help you get through things in life; when you sit there feeling angry at someone or sad at the lose of someone special, take comfort knowing someone else is also going though these emotions. When you are proud of someone or your own achievements, feel exhilarated that others have also achieved extraordinary things, just like you, making this world a little bit better. And when you fall in love with someone take a moment to know that at the same time, somewhere, somehow someone has also fallen in love!

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