Infectious Smiles

My inspiration for writing this post came from a very simple feeling, which I am sure all of us would have fallen victim to more than once. This is not the first time I felt this way, nor would I wish for it to be the last. 🙂  But it was just the experience and its effects which got me thinking and I decided to pen down my thoughts.

                I was travelling from Delhi to Bangalore on board a train. For those who might not be aware, it takes 3 days (two nights) to reach Bangalore from Delhi, so it’s a long journey, which I enjoy and plan to make the most of. It is easier, convenient and faster to travel by airplane, but I rather look forward to a train journey because, you are stuck in a compartment for days at a stretch, without any external influences and places to go – this gives me time to think and read, two of my favorite past-times. Many of my thoughts, “revelations”, and blog posts have occurred during train journeys. Of course, Indian trains are not as very quiet and comfortable as the ones abroad, but even in the hustle-bustle of talking co-passengers, hawkers, vendors and yelling (read crying) kids, I find them quite relaxing and “peaceful”. Now that I come to think of it, one reason why train journeys allow me to spend time contemplating and reading instead of wasting time in trivial things may be due to the lack of network coverage on my phone (so no watsapp, no games, etc.) and the lack of charging ports for my laptop (we do have charging ports of trains now, but always, there are more chargers than charging points – heck, I have even seen people boarding a train with their chargers in hand, which they plug in before even settling down – weird :P). So the external world’s distractions are cut down, allowing me to concentrate on “more important things in life”.

                But I digress, so coming back to this particular journey, it was my second day and as always, I had managed to avoid talking to my co-passengers, in order to avoid empty conversations and to get some time alone with my book. I was engrossed in my book, and there was this family seated right in-front of me, mom, dad, a son and a daughter. They were playing cards – which is the undisputed leader of past-times in train journeys, in India. The girl was around 9 and the boy would have been around 15. However much one wishes to concentrate, the continuous jibes and one-liners which are associated with Indian card games, ought to grab ones attention from time to time. So this one hand, when it was the girl’s turn, she flicked a card off the deck, being very sneaky and trying to hide her illegal move, however – no surprise – everyone saw her. What happened next was pleasantly surprising; everyone started smiling looking right at her. The girl was nervous, when the game stopped, but the smiles made her comfortable and soon there was a smirk on her face as well.

                What happened next is what motivated me to write this article. I had a smile on my face as well. Mind you, the details that I described above were made known to me after everything had happened.  When I looked up, the game was paused and everyone was smiling looking at the girl who was blushing and smiling as well. It was just the smiles which made me smile. I felt happiness for no reason, without knowing what was happening, there was no time for me to control it, before I knew it, my lips had parted and I was grinning looking at the family. I realized that it may appear as eavesdropping on their conversation and game, not that they would have minded, but my lips were already drawn into a smirk. At this point, the older son noticed me and smiled back at me, but strangely, I froze, not knowing what to do. I did not want to jeopardize the distance that I had created to give me time to read, as a smile can very easily lead to conversations. Their laughter lasted a few seconds, after which they got back to their game and I was left alone, as desired, owing to my cold behavior.

                This incident struck me and ignited quite a few thought chains in my mind. It is often said that laughter is contagious, and definitely, this wasn’t the first time I experienced it, but since I had time to recollect my thoughts, this was the time when I analysed the experience.

                Smiling strangers often get smiles in return – and polite behavior. A laughing crowd makes make one feel light and relaxed even if one does not know the reason of the laughter. Why does this happen? I mean, one may be engrossed in deep thinking, worrying about something, be angry or experiencing any other feeling, but a smile or a laugh, definitely raises the spirits; and before you know it, one’s smiling back.

                People often hold back their smiles consciously in unknown situations or amongst strangers, heck, I would have done it tens of times. I have often despised myself after not having returned smiles (but I am a shy person ;)). My reasons vary from trying to avoid a conversation, social insecurity to trying to escape a random introduction or conversation. Someone one said, “A smile returned, is a signal to ‘come linger’”, however, I, for one, feel that a smile begets a smile. Overcome your social insecurity, have the courage to politely excuse yourself, if you do not like the conversation that follows, but a smile should always be returned. After all, it is from strangers that we learn things we wouldn’t know otherwise.

God bless that family.


Fiimaan Illaah


Small Readings – Love

Whilst my usual reading of all sorts of books, here is something that I came across on the topic of ‘Love’. I quote the whole article as such for you to ponder upon and assimilate:

                God’s love surrounds you, encompasses you, has actually created you and you are His love. Where is your love?

                Your love can only be a reflection of His love and, when that love fails to flow freely, it is only because you fail to reflect it.

                You are the mirror, an image of God, but you have allowed the mirror to become clouded and the love and light can no longer be reflected clearly.

                You must look within and find a way to cleanse that mirror; to cleanse the soul by eliminating all the negative aspects, especially the ego, anger, jealousy, greed, desire, ambition and undue concern with material matters.

                Turn instead to God, know God, re-establish your divine relationship with God and then, slowly, the mirror will be cleansed and you will be able to experience and reflect His love. A new light will shine from within and bring with it a sense of contentment and happiness which few of you have really experienced.

                Love is God and the two will always manifest themselves together.

                Be happy, be carefree, be content and know that whatever problems you may have at any time are purely transient and of no permanent consequence.

                The Lord awaits you patiently and observes the progress of man on the spiritual path. You too should watch your progress and realize that you alone can bring about the changes in your life that will lead you back to God, along the only path that will lead there, the spiritual path.

                Start the cleansing process today and put aside all negative elements that delay your progress or divert you from the true path.

Remember, the Spiritual path is not the same as the religious path..

Hope you enjoyed the read, and may it benefit you in some way. 🙂


Small Readings

I was reading a book recently and came across a small article on the topic of ‘Life without Love’. I found it to be quite nice and wanted to share it with my readers to read and ponder upon, so here it goes:

                God is with you always, even though to do not see Him. Where is He? In the very heart of each one of you .So you can feel Him, experience Him, feel His love and compassion even though you may not see Him.

                Why do you not love one another? How is it possible that there are these jealousies, even when the Lord is present in each one of you? They are there because man is full of ego, and he will not learn to control his sensual feelings and his desires for, and love of, material things and material satisfaction. How misguided is such a man. What is his real reward? Just for a short while he imagines that he has achieved something and he experiences some form of pleasure and satisfaction. But these feelings are temporary and cannot last. However, he who worships the Lord, loves the Lord, and loves and serves his fellow men, he will find a lasting reward, that is, an inner peace which leads to nirvana.

                So drop these stupid habits and attachments. Wake up and see how hollow the life is that some of you are leading. For life without love and life without God is totally empty and unfulfilling.

                Make the decision today to do something about it. It is never too late to start unless you never start. Have you started? If not, start today, in the presence of the all-pervasive and omnipresent Lord.

Trok lom