Always Remember To Smile
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Published: Fri, 12 May 2017
If you are still thinking about when either happened, then you belong to the large majority who have long turned into mechanical robots or transformed into zombies. These pseudo humans either have hollow laughter that reeks of howling or have to make do with plastic smiles etched to perfection! (Well, at least most of the time, although the etching artist could give the Joker a run for this evil grin)
I don’t blame them; in this time & age of fast paced life-styles, a lot of things have taken a backseat in the priority drive. People have put on backburners a wide variety of things, from dreams to their own selves. Most have forgotten the simple pleasures that once were devoured to heart’s content. The most common thing I hear these days is “Stress” or “I’m busy”. Either that or I have people, in general, being lost in nostalgic reverie.
I was just one among this rat race of every mounting expectations & pushing boundaries till I asked myself these questions & that jolted me out of my existential all-consuming endeavors. I had forgotten what it was to be human. Somewhere down the line I had forgotten so much that I didn’t notice when the child in me walked out.
And to say I found what I was looking for in movie called “City Slickers” is an understatement. At the very end of the movie one of the lead actors Mitch (portrayed by Billy Crystal) says the magic words: ‘Look I found something.” “What?” “My smile”
There’s nothing like a smile or anything like a laugh to lighten moribund moods dispelling all darkness in its wake, leaving behind serenity & reassurance. Carolyn Birmingham has beautifully summarized this feeling in her words –
A smile starts on lips,
A grin spreads to the eyes,
A chuckle comes from the belly,
But a good laugh bursts forth from the soul,
Overflows, and bubbles all around.
– Carolyn Birmingham
Smile. That’s all. Whether it’s as a toothy grin, a chuckle or rip-roaring laughter; it’s always welcome. Haven’t you noticed that you always like the person who’s got a genuine smile or a sense of humour that evokes ringing laughter? There’s an enigma surrounding a smile or a laugh, which attracts people like a flame draws out the fireflies. It’s irresistible in its uncouth charm; effusing one with a deep breath of life, a wonder drug that always works.
Phyllis Diller couldn’t have said it any better than this – “Smile is a curve that sets everything straight.”
So what puts a smile on a face? Or causes someone to burst into fits of laughter? Is it really that hard to comprehend? Or is it beyond the scope of our comprehension?
I’ve seen beaming smiles resulting from something so trivial that it wouldn’t be noticed if one wasn’t looking for it. Let me run through my list –
A packet of biscuits cracks a smile in the local street urchin
Cotton candy making a mess but the sheepish grin that follows is worth the trouble
The glee that lights up the eyes when savouring a cone of ice-cream
That reassuring smile that tells you that things will be ok during troubled times
Nature’s symphony that catapults one to a realm of blissful peace amidst noise
Piece of artistic ingenuity that bursts forth in an array of colours, tones & shades
A song or a poem that merges fantasy with reality seamlessly
A well written book, aromas of summer blooms or the odours of a kitchen where once mom dished out your favourite eatables
Being with someone whose companionship takes the edge of harsh reality or brings in the a little more sunshine as they waltz in
This list is exhaustive & can go on & on. It’s expansive when you actually look for these signs of simple forgotten pleasures that once made you smile heartedly or hold aching sides after laughing so hard. The unrestrained, happy-go-lucky-self was always the one with a warm welcoming smile, an infectious giggle or the one with a repertoire of being an excellent story-teller who led others through a world fantasy or was just clownish enough to spill laughs along the way. It was always about a quick smile or deep laughter.
The power exuded by a smile or laughter hasn’t been oblivious to science. Their health benefits are diverse. They can be summed into broad categories as immunity booster, a natural pain reliever, a cardio workout routine (the secret agenda of all laughter clubs & we thought it was a bunch of people who temporarily lost their grip over sanity), stress reliever, perspective & social interaction improver. The documented evidence points out to what was always know – lots of benefits with absolutely no side-effects!
This brings us to the stage where we need to ask ourselves – Is it that hard to bring out the child in your, break through the walls of boredom, live the moment, laugh it out with a group of crazies you call your friends as? Is it really that simple that what we were looking for was right under our noses all the time? Quite literally, right below our noses!
The value of a smile or that laugh which infuses a burst of energy is hard to comprehend. It’s a priceless possession that can never be taken away. It might be a glowing ember or a blazing bonfire, but its warmth is never lost. It’s revered as a token of good times to come. A mark of goodness from which hope and faith springs forth. It can even be called the miracle that everyone has been looking for.
Let me put forth two scenarios, each being similar in terms of situation but with one small difference.
You walk into a store with a stoic look while asking for a particular object.
You walk into the store smiling at the salesperson before asking for the product.
In the 1st scenario, the salesperson scurries to get the product & be done with the customer. However, in the 2nd scenario, the salesperson will assist the customer during the buy. Between getting a product & buying a product, that single smile made the difference. And you can rest assured the 2nd scenario customer walked away with a better deal that the 1st scenario customer. That’s the amount of difference that a smile can make.
Always remember to smile you never know whose falling in love with your smile.
That’s the best piece of advice I got apart from “Breathe, everything else is optional.” If you’ve been a part of the service industry you’d notice that services do come with a smile. Even at the end of the day, the customer is greeted with a smile. Think about this, at the end of a long hard day, you get back home & you are greeted with a smile. I can safely bet that despite the fatigue you break into a smile & that’s exactly what I’m talking about.
It’s not an expensive affair either (not unless it’s a girl & a solitaire is in demand). It’s not cumbersome in process either. A few thoughtful minutes spent here, a few moments of undivided attention, a bit of love here & there, and that just about suffices to put the smile in place & leave it intact. And perhaps a large healthy dose of humour will certainly reinforce it. Just what the doctor recommended. A fix, to fix, all problems. Just a word of caution, don’t overdo it, not unless you want people around you to come to a conclusion that you’ve lost your marbles, in which case you’ll end up in the nearest asylum. Best of luck to your vain attempts in proving your sanity!
All great orators & speaker were gifted with the gift of glib (I’m certainly not one of them, although the ones in the audience who are still awake are the ones you really should blame for my failure!) My favourite was Abraham Lincoln. Abe, as he’s better known, was known for quick retorts. Perhaps, a retort is too strong a word, so let stick to great comebacks.
Abe was once woken up by a known opportunist, in the middle of the night. Sore after a long day, yet out of courtesy Abe received him only to receive the sad news of the demise of a respected cabinet member. Abe was quite aware of the opportunist’s political aspirations & his true intentions. Hence he wasn’t surprised when the fellow brazenly asked Abe if he could take the late gentleman’s place. Abe calmly replied – “I have no problems so long as the undertaker has none.”
Now, who among us has not felt alone in the midst of milling crowds? Who among us can claim that they haven’t felt loneliness within a crowd? I wouldn’t make such outrageous claims.
Yet, armed only with a smile, I saw by its glimmer, a sight to behold. The raucous crowds were replaced with friends I was still to know. Teeming with life the crowd was now a friendly place.
That’s the power of a smile. It shines like a star easing the darkening horizons. It draws people with its friendly nature. It attunes itself to the song of one’s heart & hums it out aloud. It throws in life, lifts the sagging spirits & when nothing works its acts as a crutch that aids one to pick oneself up after a nasty fall.
In whatever form it may come, it spreads its essence far & wide. Its touch, soothing & light, that wilted life feels rejuvenated. What more can I say, but conclude with the words of radio jockey from a local radio station – “Keep your frown upside down!”
P.S.: Which is the longest word in English?
It’s Smiles. There’s a mile in between!
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