Smile please!

In Culture, Random on February 10, 2012 at 9:39 pm

I remember when I was a kid, there used to be a magazine for young people called Target.   I had once read a story in it of a little fish when it is allowed for the first time to explore the sea on its own, is so happy and ecstatic that it goes around smiling and laughing and wishing everyone it meets. Unfortunately, not all the other fishes are happy to see such a cheerful face and some of them are plain rude. So the poor little fish, its spirits dampened, goes back home. When his mother asks him what is wrong, he replies bewildered that he does not understand why people did not want to return his wishes and why they were so rude. What his mother explains to him is that every fish can have a bad day and be grumpy and the little fish is wrong to judge the other because of that. And most importantly, one should always smile and be nice to others, who knows it might be the only smiling face they see all day! And so the little fish,thereafter, always went about smiling and never took it badly when others did not reciprocate.

I think I had tried to be that small fish for sometime. But problem is not that people don’t reciprocate but that they are often suspicious of smiling faces. In Delhi, one would do better than to not go smiling in the streets, you would either be considered a lunatic or if you are a woman, you would be considered as someone who is “fast” and looking for company. Urgh! In Bangalore, one would just look at you with suspicion. Its better in smaller towns and villages, where people are more spontaneous. In Paris it is weird, people don’t understand it unless of course something just happened to make two people smile spontaneously at each other. Otherwise, people first look bewildered then their face contorts into something in-between a smile and a grimace because they are not sure what is expected of them. Older people smile more easily though, not sure why.

I hope I am not giving the impression that I go about smiling like a lunatic on the streets. However, it is true that I am often thinking or day dreaming while walking in the streets and therefore smiling and then when it does happen that you find yourself looking at someone,I find it most natural to smile, even while continuing my walk. I think smiling is a very natural thing to do…… except when it comes to getting my pictures taken!!

If I gave you the impression that I have lots and lots of smiling pictures of myself from all my travels, you are absolutely wrong. I hate pictures taken and in most of them my smiles and my face are contorted. So now when we go travelling, because of frequent complaints from my parents who keep wondering whether the pictures I send them are just downloaded from the Internet because neither me nor C figures in them, I have taken to clicking lots of pictures of us hoping at least a few come out fine 😉 I admit I can never understand people coming back from holidays and putting up their pictures which is more about pictures of themselves with an exotic background rather than the place they visited. I learn absolutely nothing of the place looking at their pictures and I don’t understand why I would want to see them in every pose imaginable with a different piece of rock in the background. Ok, so I got it, you had a marvellous time while the rest of us were going about our boring lives but hello, can you please tell us something about the place itself? Considering the number of “likes” and comments on their pictures on Facebook, I guess I am probably the odd one out. Ah well, to each his own. Lets just smile and forget about it.


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