Borrowed Smiles

Something I wrote almost a year ago, but felt like revisiting it today. Some times you forget important lessons that life teaches you and you need to go back to learn them again. So here is one lesson I learnt in the most amazing manner ever!

Ever woke up with a bad mood? Ever woke up knowing that it’s going to be a bad day? It was one of those days for me. Probably something in the previous day triggered it, but that feeling was there, the moment I opened my eyes in the morning. I got around my daily struggles; juggling the mug in one hand and reading the paper with the other, making breakfast for dad, sending him off to office, having breakfast myself, getting the house in order; the regular routine of a freelancer. There was nothing to be happy about; already had a fight with dad, mom made my most dreaded breakfast and the maid didn’t show up! At every point, God was justifying why I felt it would be a bad day. Knowing there wasn’t much work to do today, I happily settled on the couch, ready to watch TV. Thank heavens, there is something to always be happy about; TV! But how did I forget, it was a bad day? So all that was playing were films that I had watched a million times or I had never even heard of (for all the right reasons). Just then my cell beeps and I get all pumped that work has come in; when I realize that there is a meeting. And of course it had to be in Andheri (the other end of the city)! Cursing, I get ready and leave.

Smoldering hot is what you could call that afternoon. It’s supposed to be December, whatever little winter Mumbai has, had not set in yet. Already sweating like a pig, I reached the station and came to know that it’s lunch time so the counter is closed. Wow! Now isn’t this really a bad day? All I could do was, wait. And that was one long wait; waiting for the counter to open and waiting for the day to suddenly become better. The counter opened first. And I ran along to catch my train. Vadala, a station I have been seeing for over 5 years now, has only gotten worse. Work is always in progress. I sat down waiting for the next Andheri bound train when a man brushed aside me. And it’s no surprise that he did it on purpose. I tried to ignore, after all if we were to pick fights with every man that tried doing ‘something’, we’d never get across a day! But today was different. The man came back again, this time not to touch but to say something he would have rather ‘done’ with me! I wouldn’t say I was horrified, I have heard such things and that too very often. But I sure as hell, was furious. And before I could react, he made an ugly gesture and tried to make a run for it by getting on the train that was waiting on the platform. Hulk would be ashamed of the level of rage that I felt at that moment, and impulsively I grabbed the man’s hand and pulled him off the train. A fight ensued which later got bigger when the cops came in. I stood my ground and wanted the cops to file a complaint. They escorted me to the police station and I explained to them of all that happened. Let me add here for all the girls out there, if they don’t have the shame to do it, you shouldn’t have any shame in saying what they did. But I know the regular procedure of the cops and after about 15 minutes I was on my Andheri train, feeling content knowing that I made that guy suffer.

But yes, in all of this I kept telling myself how this was not just a bad day, it was the worst! My head was bursting with all the screaming and complaining, and that triggered a migraine that now made me look like a zombie let loose. I reached my destination and composed myself, with a little help and the meeting went rather well. But I chose to ignore that and think about how late it had gotten and how far I had to go. Post meeting, I hopped into a rickshaw and headed for the station again. Resting my head on the cushiony rickshaw side, I shut my eyes. Well, night time Andheri, means a lot of traffic and a lot of waiting. I felt a soft tap on my knee and I opened my eyes to see a small child selling magazines. I nod and the child moves ahead to the next rickshaw. I looked at my watch and wondered if I could make it in time for the direct train, when I see a little girl at the signal selling flowers. For some reason, this girl catches my eye. And I don’t realize it but I’m staring at her. Around 9-10 years of age, she is strikingly beautiful. She has gorgeous eyes that are glistening in all this traffic. With all the chaos around, this little girl makes me feel very… calm. She notices me looking and runs up to me. She shows me the flowers and tells me how I should take them for my mum. I look at the flowers and notice she has my favorite yellow roses. They look wonderful too, she pushes them forward and asks me to close my eyes and take a whiff. Amused, I smile, but she seems serious, she actually wants me to do it. And I did. I don’t know whether it was the flowers or the aura of the girl, or simply the smell of my bad day turning to a good one; but I felt my lips curl into a smile. I open my eyes to find the girl smiling back at me. ‘I told you they are first class’, she said with a twinkle in her eyes. I smiled and paid her for the flowers but didn’t take them. She asked me why and I gave her all the practical reasons in the world; long way home, they’ll be crushed in the train etc etc. But she smiled back and said, ‘say na, you like me. What’s the harm?’ My smile became larger, much larger. I nodded and said that she is very pretty. The traffic started to move now so the girl walked ahead with my rickshaw and gestured for me to come close. Without any apprehension I leaned forward and she came close to me, as if to whisper something. But instead she gave me a peck on my cheek and said, ‘Aapko happy new year didi.’ New Year’s is a while from now, but that very moment my New Year had already begun.

All through the journey back home, I had the smile pasted on my face, and the girl’s face pasted in my mind. My bad mood was gone now, I wondered why. Was it the girl? But what did she do? Nothing really. I just borrowed some happiness from her. Actually it should have been the other way around. I have everything in the world to be happy about, but I chose to remain sad and grumpy whereas the child had all the reasons to be sad about, but she chose to smile. I have never felt like a bigger fool. Being grumpy about a shut counter?! The girl gave me one of my biggest learning in life; when you don’t have anything to smile about, just borrow some smiles from others around you. That’s one easy loan to get and the installments are a breeze!


3 thoughts on “Borrowed Smiles

  1. Isnt it beautiful how someone can bring you happiness, in-spite of being in such a bad mood. I’m glad i know such a person who makes my heart overflow with happiness every time. Very beautifully expressed 🙂


    1. Thank You! I’m glad you liked it. I’m fortunate to know someone too. I guess we all just need to open the doors to our hearts. There may be a risk of being hurt, but hey, we get to feel something. Way better than living superficially. Don’t you think?


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