My motivation for writing this article came from a very simple feeling which I am sure most of us have experienced not once but several times. This is not the first time I have felt it either, but this is the first time it set me thinking. So here I am writing (penning) down my thoughts.
I was on my way travelling from Delhi to Bangalore, in the 2nd day of my journey. There was this family of 4, a young girl about 9 and a boy of about 14; seated opposite to me, playing cards. The little girl cheated on her town and everyone started laughing joyfully, knowing and well catching the little one’s trick. I was reading my novel, couldn’t help but notice the smile on everyone’s faces. And what happened next inspired me to write this article. I felt an urge to smile, I felt happy too; it was an involuntary feeling and I had no time to control it as my lips were already drawn into a smirk. By the time I realized that, it may look like eavesdropping on their conversation and game. The older son noticed me and smiled back at me to which I froze not knowing what to do or how to respond.
Their laugh lasted for a few seconds after which they got back to their game; but this incident struck me; it is often said that laughter is contagious. I have experienced this several times. Smiling strangers do get a smile back. A laughing crowd or a laughing ‘yoga group’ makes you feel light when you pass them in a park. Why does this happen? I mean the thought (s) which pop up in your mind when you see someone smiling at you may be many or none, but before you know it you’re smiling back.
People often hold back their smiles voluntarily in such situations. I know because I have done it too in order to avoid a discussion or owing to social insecurity, trying to escape a random introduction or conversation. But that internal feeling does not go away. I have, for one, despised myself several times when I held back my smile.
It is like god has made us susceptible to happiness on an elemental level. No matter who we are, where we are from, which language we speak, the language of smiles is known to all of us.
I am a very scientific person but I do not deny the idea of a god/ superpower. We are too perfect (physically/anatomically) to have evolved by ourselves. That is something which I believe suddenly. But if there is a god and there exists a soul in everyone, then a smile would be a very good and open language for conversations between them. A way to show they understand and recognize each other’s souls; just smile and receive a smile in return. So simple, serene and beautiful; just like nature.
All this may not be at all true or may mean nothing, but what I realized from this incident is that a smile begets a smile in return and brings joy and happiness to both individuals; however momentary. So spread happiness-smile-even without a cause, costs nothing and connects souls.