Waking up on a Sunday morning with the best feeling ever – the smell of rain, the sound of a heavy downpour, and alarm clock going crazy. It was time for me to get off my bed, step into my slippers and get ready to leave for French class. That’s exactly how my weekend starts. In a rush. No time to admire nature. No time to thank God enough for such a beautiful morning. But well, I chose this for myself, so not going to complain, because that day, I realized there’s something more beautiful than any of this. And that is – a smile on someone’s face. Someone who probably hasn’t smiled like that in ages, someone who forgot what it felt like to smile, someone who lighted up so many other faces by just smiling, someone whose smile expressed more than words, someone whose smile could make us see the world in a completely different way, someone whose smile could spread so much positivity around – Yes, a smile can actually do that.
While driving to class, it was still raining quite heavily, and I’d stopped at the red light, even though no one else seemed to care, because apparently rain means traffic, hence people tend to break rules. Well, trying not to go off-track here, so while I was at the signal, usually I see a lot of beggars there, old, young, all age groups, literally. But that day? I saw only one. A 3 or 4 yr old boy, walking from car to car with a huge black tattered umbrella in his hand, begging for money and crying. For some, those might not be tears; they’d probably mistake them for rain drops. He was pointing to his family, sitting about a 100 meters from the signal; an old man sneezing and trying to squeeze out water from his clothes, a lady drying the tattered cushion (I’m guessing the only one) on which she wanted to make her baby sleep, and a young girl fixing her little notebook which got completely wet in the rain. This kind of a sight is very normal in a country where poverty is a multi-dimensional social problem. I tend to get emotional when I see something like this, but more than emotional, I also feel the urge to do something for them, do my bit. And well, giving them money isn’t really going to help. Instead it’ll just encourage them to beg more. They don’t need money. They just need a little bit of love. I know it won’t put an end to this social problem, but it’ll help them psychologically. And a person like me? I believe in doing things for others, in exchange for a smile! The kind of environment these people stay in just makes them negative each passing day, they curse their lives almost every time they breathe, they don’t see the point of living a life with nothing at all, no place to stay in, no food to fill their stomach, no good clothes to wear, etc, they think ill of all those who have more than them, they have that fire in them to fight for themselves, but at the end of the day, they are still helpless, poor, starving and unhappy.
One thing that really touches my heart is that they understand the worth of things, and people. They value all those things that people like us would discard within a second, without any second thoughts. They value relations much better than we do. They fight for each other, and at the end of the day, even if 5 out of 6 fall, there’d always be that one person standing tall for them. They are so hopeful, that nothing can pull them away from doing what they have to do. Even if there’s a hailstorm, or it’s extremely hot, or be it any extreme weather condition, they’d never give up. And that’s one thing that really inspires me. The fact that their determination and will power is so strong, it really teaches us one thing – Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.
So, in that 120 seconds red light, I learnt a lot, and I achieved a lot. When that little kid walked up to my car, he knocked on the window, and while pointing at his family, he only talked to me in actions. He brought his fingers close to his mouth, and then placed the same hand on his stomach. He did this 2-3 times, that seeing him do those actions slowed down my reaction to it, since I got so lost, and well, emotional too. I looked at his family and looked back at the little boy, and asked him to wait, while I opened the glove box of my car, and pulled out 4 packets of energy biscuits and nut chocolates, and handed them over to him one by one. As soon as he held one packet in his hand, he was so overwhelmed with one only, that he didn’t believe his eyes when he saw the next packet coming his way. The tears in his eyes due to starvation immediately turned into tears of happiness. And even though, he was too young to realize what those tears really meant, those tears of happiness reached his lips, and there it was – the world’s most magical and beautiful curve ever possible. A SMILE. That spoke a thousand words for him; that conveyed his emotions to me within a second. I melted there and then, and just stared at him. His smile was so contagious, that I found myself smiling too, and seeing this, a few other people in their cars and bikes around were smiling too. It was a moment worth capturing, not in our phones or cameras, but in our mind and heart. The little boy ran with joy towards his family and handed all the packets to the old man, and they all sat there and enjoyed their morning meal – a few biscuits and chocolates.
And that was the 120th second.
Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. Do one thing every day that would give someone a reason to smile, and you’ll see yourself making some kind of a difference in their life at that moment.
“If I can see pain in your eyes then share with me your tears. If I can see joy in your eyes then share with me your smile.”
Now go make someone smile, your time starts now!