I stood there waiting as my daughter meticulously explained to the tailor how she wanted her clothes to be stitched. He listened intently, constantly making notes on a little piece of paper. Having nothing to do, I just looked around, and suddenly, the empty bench of a workman caught my eye. His whirring noisy sewing machine stood there quietly, at rest, its wheel and handle shiny because of years of use. The shaft of light fell on it so dramatically, like a spotlight on an actor, on a quiet stage. Suddenly, I was caught by the beauty of that simple machine, sitting there with no life of its own, worked by the hands of a workman, producing beautiful clothes for so many important occasions, coming to life, under the tutelage of his hands. Whether it is a tailor’s bench, a carpenter’s tools, an artist’s easel or a sculptor’s wheel, their lives and their tools are an intrinsic part of each other. Each one brings them to life, with power of his mind and hands, laboriously working their magic, creating happiness — a masterpiece Hours of painstaking labour, his thoughts interwoven into his work, the best part of his life spent at his bench, love and patience intertwining in his creation and hands lovingly moulding a piece of cloth from nothing into something, my mind was submersed in awe. In the little side drawer of his machine, lay spools of threads, stray buttons, a bit of tinsel, some flowery material left over from someone’s shirt – bits and pieces from other people’s lives. While they may have moved on to their next important occasion, but with him, lay little reminders of how he worked day and night to meet a deadline. Maybe he didn’t go home that day, wasn’t there to tend to an important event of his own, was trying to make sure he was there for you – bringing happiness into your life – and rather invisibly. Whether it is a tailor’s bench, a carpenter’s tools, an artist’s easel or a sculptor’s wheel, their lives and their tools are an intrinsic part of each other. Each one brings them to life, with power of his mind and hands, laboriously working their magic, creating happiness – a masterpiece. His bench, his life, his bench, our happiness, his bench, a medium to bring life to an inanimate object, to bridge the gap between non-living and living, and in the process, producing a visual treat. Suddenly, I was pulled out of my reverie by my daughter’s voice saying, “Come, let’s go. Where are you?” I started walking out of the shop, but in my heart, I knew I had discovered something: we have stopped living, stopped appreciating all the efforts that go into creating anything. All our feelings are short lived, whether they be of sadness, happiness or empathy, because we have lost the joy of living. Our ancestors, though had less of everything in terms of technology, the outreach of social media or the advance of science, they led far better lives than us. Because they had perfected the most important thing, the joy of living. The writer can be reached at email@example.com Published in Daily Times, January 30th 2018.