Thursday, May 28, 2009

The power of smile

With my cholesterol level jumping northwards, my physician had prescribed me a strict regimen of a daily walk for 45 minutes . My watchful wife never allowed me to miss the morning walk. There was the sprawling municipal park conveniently adjacent to my apartment. Three rounds would account for nearly three kilometers and take the time suggested by my doctor. The park had a nice pathway all around its periphery with flowers and crotons on both sides. The park would be full of morning joggers, young and old people walking briskly along the pathway and the children playing around in the children area in the sea saws, swings and slides.. There were the groups of people doing yoga under the eyes of masters and laughing loudly and continuously at the end as a therapy. Old couples would be seen sitting on the benches comforting each other in what could be painful twilight of their lives. Young lovers would be seen hugging in shady corners or sitting opposite the pool watching the ducks gliding. I invariably met a middle aged man in his track suit jogging at good pace three rounds daily. When he neared me he would always raise his hand and say “Ram, Ram” in salutation which I would respond heartily. There would be no exchange of words except the smile that accompanied the salutation. This went on for years with neither of us making any attempt to know each other.
We were living then at Delhi. My mother took seriously ill at Chennai .I had to go there along with my wife on the same day or the next. It was a summer month with heavy rush of seasonal traffic. All trains were booked to full with long waiting lists days ahead. There was little chance of getting berths without getting them thro emergency quota. Plane tickets those days were prohibitive. I went to Railway office to try my luck though I was not sanguine about the outcome. There was a huge crowd of people each one carrying some recommendation letter. When my chance came I went in to meet the Deputy Chief Commercial Superintendent planning to plead with him explaining the urgency. It was an unexpected surprise to see my acquaintance in the park seated in the high chair. He welcomed me with the usual “Ram, Ram” and smilingly asked me what brought me there. When I explained, he asked me whether I can take that day’s night train and on my nodding instantly gave me two berths.
It set me thinking. I did not know his name till then and my acquaintance with him was limited to the smile and salutation daily in the park. It was then that I realized the power of smile. It was then I regretted that for years I had never made any attempt to know him or even ascertain his name. If even a passing acquaintance could help so much, how about having genuine friends. I remembered the six lessons to make people to like us. Smile at people and say Hi as they do in US to total strangers. If you smile at someone, they are sure to smile back. It is said that the shortest distance between two people is smile. It is not for nothing that Mother Teresa said “Every time you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing.”Ascertain the name of people whom you see frequently. It is good to remember that a person’s name is the sweetest sound to the person. It is nice to be a good listener and encourage others to talk. When our turn comes it is good manners to talk in terms of other man’s interest. Above all we should become genuinely interested in other people and make appreciative comments wherever apt. From then on I started telling “Ram, Ram” with a genuine smile whomever I saw frequently in the park or elsewhere. I have found people who were otherwise distant and aloof in office and the colony where I live gravitating towards me wanting to cultivate my friendship


  1. Beautifull written:)Yes indeed a smile is the most powerful tool that covers long distances and shortens them up in a jiff without much effort. More than that its highly contagious, and very has the ability to give someones day a great start!
    So heres to you Sir:) Keep smiling, though we cannot see you, your stories would spread it among one and they always have!

  2. Reminded me of the saying 'Smile as it costs you nothing'. And it makes you realize how much of a simple thing like a smile washes away the cold, animosity that acts as a barrier between people. Its the perfect ice breaker.

  3. Another post that resembles a personal experience :)
    Smile for sure can abbreviate a mile.
    May be SMall and mILE has been linked together to coin the word SMILE.

  4. I have read somewhere that " A smile is a curve that sets everything straight. ... " and its so very true.. The post gave us some lessons too.. thanks a lot.

  5. A heartwarming story sir! Written beautifully, as always :-) Like Sana, I am also giving a big *smile* to you :)))

  6. *Smiles*..lovely story, seems like a real incident from life.
    As u said, when i initially moved to US..i was surprised when people around smiled, what initially felt like pretenseful soon realised that it was upto me to be genuine and soon became a part of me.
    and this time, when i was back in bombay, that was one thing different..smiling at everyone from the rickshaw wala to the man walking on the street...some were surprised, some returned back the smile and the smile grew!!

    thnks for ur lovely stories :)

  7. hello,i'm surprised to see your post on smile as my last post is on 'smile have wrtten it beautifully.
    i have tried to spread smile and each time a miracle happens.
    happy blogging!just with a smile many contacts are built.

  8. Only yesterday I read the post by Anupama on the same topic. While yours has a similar message, your method of putting across the point is unique and special.

    I too experiment with smiling at complete strangers and and rewarded inevitably with a smile back. It shows that the world is made up of good people who are all happy to reciprocate. We have to learn this from the western world as pointed out by you - smiling and greeting absolute strangers. And we should be genuine in our greetings - not mechanical.