Monday, October 20, 2008

The Eyes That Said It All

...took a ride on a public utility jeepney (puj) last week going to the mall, it's a regular route of mine, since every Saturday I have a lot of things to do in the Center, this day we prepare early (sometimes) for 180degrees a youth oriented gathering that brings its audience a step higher in their understanding about life, particularly about how they should live it, and whom should they live it for.

It was a hot day that time, about 9 o'clock in my watch, the sun seems to struck earth with its rays like nothing less fierceful, it pierces right through your skin. Shucks, I thought I should've taken a cab, If I haven't forgot my money in the house I would've. Yes ladies and gentlemen, I forgot to bring my wallet AGAIN for the nth time maybe, this year alone. Good thing I had a few coins left inside my pants, "I'll just withdraw at the ATM station in the mall" I thought.

So, I boarded a jeep, took a seat just behind the driver, it's my favorite place by the way, because in that spot there's less air blasting on my face, the only cons I get is when the driver lights up a cigar (PUJs are supposed to be non-smoking) and I get the benefit of inhaling all the smoke he puffs. ARRRGGGHHH! Another dis-advantage is that I take the place of a jeep conductor because I'm the one being asked to make "tunol" or reach out for the fare of almost everybody inside the jeep. Although it's no big a deal but next time I'll ask the driver if he could spare my fare for the "sideline job".

So while riding, I took notice on my co-passengers particularly the people sitting parallel to me, who were a bunch of elementary students talking to one another having a good time, laughing at each other, just basically having fun. I knew that they're students because of what they wore... school uniforms, and they are not the kind of uniform that should you say you could be proud of, I mean they're tattered, old, seams coming out of the fabric, and with little runs here and there.

Immediately a thought came into my mind, I was asking what would this kids be like in the future? Would they be able to finish college? Or even reach it? How are they doing in school? Are they being equipped properly to face what lies in them ahead? Are they being oriented what are their roles in our country? Questions like those came flashing in me all of a sudden. I remember my elementary days, my parents always remind us to look neat and clean in school I even remember the only award I got that made me climb up the stage during recognition day: MOST NEAT. Hahaha! Well I'm proud of that award and I have my parents to thank for that. But as a kid, I grew up with a lot of friends who love to run around, roll, and play in the dirt my mom would be furious to find us "bulingot" or dirty everytime we come back home after school. Hahaha I could remember they're faces, but what can they do?

So going back to the kids riding the jeep, they just continue to talk and talk about everything they saw outside the windows of the vehicle. Then I suddenly notice that there was a boy about 12 years old, wearing a loose red shirt that must've been from his dad or kuya sitting in front next to the driver who seems to be his father or grandfather I can't really tell. I realized also that time that the boy is the jeep conductor, and he's the one getting the "plite" or fare of the passengers, and he often would look back on us, but most obviously he would often look at the kids in front of me and everytime he turns to the kids behind him he would stare at the kids with eyes full of curiosity as if he was saying, "I wonder what would it be like if I'm studying...", as I drew more focus on the boy I couldn't help it, the boy gave a look that nip my emotions. I couldn't help but take pity on this boy, why is he on the street? He should be in school! He sould be enjoying his age, I felt restless and really sad and then I turn to the driver and in my mind I said: "Grrrr! I report tikaw sa Bantay Bataaaaaaaaa!!!"

Slowly my eyes turn a little soggy, I thought: "I couldn't afford to shed a tear inside a PUJ!" so I moved a little farther away from the driver and closer to the window and looked outside to let the wind dry up my eyes a bit. Good thing I'm near the mall already and I could get out the vehicle before I break down. While walking away, tears kept dwindling in my eyes for the boy. How sad our nation has become, how dark the future of the next generation of this land faces.

And so I thought... I have a lot of work to do. I will never forget this experience.

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