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Navigating The Grays, 2015

The Commonality of Duality

Hari Prasada Das


This evening’s special feature of the F train was a brand new makeshift diaper-changing station.

A young-looking woman and an older-looking woman were partnering up to take care of three babies with two strollers. On the knee of the young-looking woman was a miniature buttocks, smooth as silk. The usual makeshift eating stations were disturbed by the sharply competing aroma.

Most people did not wish to observe the hijinks on the diaper-changing side of the F. And innovative as it was, I confess that I wondered about the hygiene of such a situation.

Feeling most sorry for the little kid who, unbeknownst, became the spectacle to a dozen strangers, I sat down with an unwitting front-row seat to process the entire scene at hand.

Just as soon as I’d landed on the bench-style seat, I suddenly heard the young woman cry, “You mind your own business!!”

I became highly self-conscious.

Quickly glancing at her to determine the target of her exclamation, I was exceedingly careful not to make eye contact. Relieved it was not me being fired at, I witnessed her proceed to bawl out one of my unfortunate neighbors. Then I looked up at the sign above me that flashed freshly: “If you see something, say something…”

I felt this to be fantastically apropos! Nevertheless, I would decidedly not say something!

Then a woman entered the train begging for money. “I’m hungry,” she creaked. The two women with the baby-care subway innovations appeared rather under-privileged to my eye in spite of the plastic bags with recent purchases for the children. Yet, I had this instinctual reaction that as soon as the homeless woman would pass them by, I could foretell they would be the ones to donate to her cause.

And this is precisely what took place. In fact, I did not see any other donations offered. I did not offer anything myself, though my heart went out to the lady. And as she said, “God bless you” to the potentially underprivileged donors, I thought I could perceive God’s blessing upon them.

In that moment, I also could perceive the unique situation of all souls, shrouded in layers upon layers of duality, each with our inner light, as well as our darker shadows.

In such a world, we all must sort through that deep mire of duality and successfully navigate the paradoxes and complexities to the best of our abilities at each passing moment of each passing day.

Humbled, I prayed to earn the wisdom to walk this path nobly, for to pretend the world exists in black and white is to miss out on all the splendid color…

When have you put someone into a box because of a behavioral pattern? And how will you hold both sides of the human condition, the pleasant and the not so pleasant, going forward?

Hari Prasada Das

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