Glimpses into the Soul: The Art of People-Watching

In a world full of stories, each person has a unique narrative that is ingrained in who they are. Within each person resides a universe of stories, where some shine brightly and others remain hidden in the shadows. Yet, some stories frequently go untold in the middle of daily chaos, waiting to be discovered by an attentive observer.

It’s best to approach people-watching with the mindset of appreciating the nuances of human interaction, rather than something intrusive. Just as a painting or a piece of music reveals narratives, watching people with empathy and understanding offers insights into their stories and ways of life. While words may only tell part of a person’s story, subtle cues, quirks, and nuances often reveal more about a person’s psyche.

As I reflect on my journey through life, from the earliest days of my childhood, I find myself captivated by the art of observation— the delicacy of human relationships and gestures. I can still vividly recall my first day at school, a whirlwind of emotions and new experiences, silently watching a classmate sobbing inconsolably as her mother left her at the door. I observed tears welling up in the eyes of a few mothers, including my own, as they left their children at the door. The raw emotion of the moment resonated deeply with me, as I contemplated the pain of separation from a loved one. Funny, my mother was just a hop, skip, and jump away outside the classroom. Yet, in our pint-sized universe of nursery school, it felt like she might as well have been on a different planet!

Photo credit: Syed Abdullah Jabeer

In everyday moments, from the hectic passages of a shop to the chaotic scenes on local bus trips, there’s a myriad of stories waiting to be uncovered. For some, articulating their needs seemed daunting, their uncertainty casting a shadow over their actions. Yet, with a gentle reassurance – a simple “I am here to help you” – their confidence blossoms. On my local bus rides, I encounter a diversity of people every day. I see the weary gaze of a young man, perhaps burdened with the weight of life’s responsibilities, lost in thought as he journeyed home. Beside him, a humble couple beams with excitement, their faces adorned with smiles as they start an exciting journey ahead with their children and belongings. In witnessing these stories, I couldn’t help but feel thankful for life and the variety of events that mold us into the people we are.

Photo credit: Syed Abdullah Jabeer

Some moments lingered in my memory long after they had passed – like the sight of a poor mother carrying her daughter on her shoulders, their smiles illuminating the dreary streets as if they were the only two people in their world. Or the joyous laughter of children running through the rain, their limitless energy being contagious and uplifting. Even in the mundane setting of a restaurant, from friends gathering to surprise one friend to a man nervously preparing to propose to the love of his life, each moment was a celebration of new beginnings and the bonds that unite us.

Photo credit: Syed Abdullah Jabeer

In these everyday encounters, I found solace and inspiration. When I lose myself in the little details of strangers, it’s like gazing into a mirror, reflecting my inner turmoil and unspoken dreams back at me. It’s as if people-watching ultimately unveils the deepest truths about ourselves. Perhaps, it has little to do with the people we observe, and more about searching for fragments of ourselves in their gaze, their laughter, longing for reassurance that it’s okay to embrace our true selves. Who’s to say, maybe there’s a story within us, or perhaps we’re simply part of a larger story.

Samin Mehzabeen

Samin Mehzabeen is the Head of Web Media at BRACU Express. She is a junior majoring in Computer Science at BRAC University. As she loses herself in the vast expanse of the sky and seeking solace in the nature, she attempts to connect with the readers with her writing and hopes to make a positive effect on them. Happy reading! Reach her at samin.mehzabeen@g.bracu.ac.bd

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *