SMILE – A Little Big Word

I am just a girl. Or should I say a woman, all grown up after living on this planet for more than 30 years. Like everybody else, I have been through a lot too.  May be, my grey days have been a little less here and a little more than others there. But, there is no way of escaping the wrath of ‘fate’. It may come to us in all forms, shapes and sizes.  During those bad times, I wondered if there is anything at all that I can do to escape the perpetual feeling of being sad. I made an attempt to overcome and others helped me to get out of it. How? With the help of a little and yet a very important gesture called ‘SMILE.’

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Smile at a stranger

When someone held out a hand or just smiled while passing by – I felt HAPPY, in those times of distress. I still do. I remember so many incidents from the days of my work as a tour leader of a large group, traveling in foreign lands not knowing people to fall back on. Every time on those long journeys, I genuinely felt the importance of the word, smile. There were those times when my back hurt or the expectations of my guests were blown too much out of proportion or I simply missed home terribly. Just then, suddenly, out of nowhere, unexpectedly, a stranger would come to me, smiling broadly, asking excitedly – if she can click a photo with me!!  A chord was struck instantly. I felt alive again – sitting with her, posing for a photo.

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Taking photo with a stranger

There was another incident, when I could not get up on to the upper bunk. It was in a soft sleeper coach of a train, on my way from Xian to Beijing in China. My muscles gave away and I was too tired to move. I needed some sleep desperately. But I just could not manage to climb up! At that very moment, like an angel in the darkest hour, a Chinese girl, sitting on the upper bunk opposite mine, understood my problem. She convinced one of her family members to take the upper bunk, so I could sleep in the lower. Her smile that night, on a moving train, in the middle of no-where, soothed me and lulled me to sleep. The next morning, still on the train, her family offered breakfast to me. It didn’t matter that none of us understood what we said. There was the unspoken language of smile and selflessness that linked us. Just when we were finally parting ways, she came running to me on the platform, to bid me a smiling goodbye.

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My smiling friends

These have been just two of such many moments, when I realized, more than any other time that there is nothing as beautiful as a smile. It can light up the darkest moments in a person’s life. It should not matter whether others are smiling back at us … all that should matter is that we are always smiling at others. A smile can melt the hardest hearts, heal the deepest wounds. We should always try to carry the lamp of happiness within and keep its warm flame burning. As we are wrapped in the soft glow of giving, in the form of a smile or a little love or a helping hand or anything else, soon we will see, there are many bright lights around… smiling back at us.

Share your experiences with me too. I would love to know how we are all connected through smiles!

A Waiting

waiting

 

The heart moved slow

Losing its beat,

A song of life

Accepting defeat,

The mind could not feel

The rhythm of its surroundings

Visions were blurred

But something far far away

Strained its strings…

A waiting for the last song

Touch of the known

Voice of someone close

What is it? Who was it?

The eyes could not tell

The ears never heard

A smile was not formed

By the curling of lips

Joy could not find voice

Nor was there a stir …

Only the soul felt the warmth

Of that known soul

Bound alone by the music of love,

Of faith & trust.

A little sign found its way –

An great effort was made

 To show happiness that was known

Someday, in a land too far away.

A ripple of soothing calm

Drowned all sorrows

No grief touched

Only a release from

The ties on earth;

A love was felt,

No pains remained – 

And yes, at last

A waiting will be no more…

At last amidst the heaven above

A home was found.

 

 

Saying Adieu

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Dark brown broken by only one strip of white

Strong enough to fight off

The strongest enemies

Kind enough to protect

Against all who did not know how to love

The little steps followed

The strong voice bellowed

At one sight of a true friend

The heart knew, when no one cared

No one helped

This friend will always be there,

Cuddling, loving, caring

In sickness and in good times.

The look of trust, of utmost love

In those round clear eyes,

Were just enough to tell her

She was the best friend he never had before.

Through the roughest of times,

Coldest of nights,

And piercing pain,

He looked out for her

The soft touch of comforting warmth.

But on one stormy night

When he looked around

The warm hand, the soft touch could not be found

He cowered, fear gripped his heart …

Where is she?

His last breath caught in his throat,

One last time he wanted to bid adieu

To his truest friend, who failed him just then;

Quiet in his pain,

With the last thoughts of his friend

He closed the eyes …

The storm could harm no more, never again.

Saying “I Do”

Warmth of wintry bed

Is of warm promises made

‘I do’ when we said.

 

Four years back said ‘yes’

To wear the wedding dress

Just like a princess

 

Laughter resounded,

Lights flashed as we decided

To stay together.

 

Now four years later,

When I see you so near,

O! It is clear

 

There is no place here

On earth I would want to be

Without you by me.

 

English: Its an epic Indian Wedding story

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Beyond the Known

 

A painful cry breaks free…

With no leaves on evening so frosty,

I’m cold,  can you see?

 

Old creases cut through,

Memories past hurt anew,

A Bird: friend so true.

 

Hooves run across the fields…

A camel dies, blazing sun kills;

Heart of desert beats.

 

He pleads ‘no’, she goes…

Boom! A sound through the greens echoes –

They strike. His heart chokes.

 

Waves break on the shore,

She slowly loses herself

To the sands of time.

 

This post is part of the Daily Post’s Weekly Writing Challenge on WordPress.com on writing 5 verses in a specific style – Haiku. This form requires expressing something completely in just 17 syllables, ideally in five-seven-five format (three lines)

Kolkata: A City with a Soul

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Victoria Memorial

Long time ago, in a half-forgotten article, I had read a few lines that remained unforgotten. It said, in India, if one is looking for greenery, Delhi is the city to be in; if one is looking for money, Mumbai is the city to find a job in; but if someone is looking for a city with a soul, Kolkata is the place to live in. As I had spent all my life in Kolkata, I did not realize the true meaning of these words, until, one day Gurgaon beckoned and I had to pack everything in order to settle in a city I had never known before. As the flight hovered over Kolkata before soaring high up in the sky, I knew, without anyone having to tell me that I would return someday, for I was leaving my soul behind. A feeling of emptiness filled every part of me, where my soul should have been.

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Green Expanse of Maidan

A year later, when the emptiness could not be borne anymore, a decision was taken – to return to my hometown, Kolkata, the city that had occupied much of my thoughts for most part of the year I had stayed in Gurgaon. As I boarded the train, from New Delhi Station, my heart longed to be reunited with its soul – to feel complete yet once again. That night was spent in restlessness onboard and when at last the all-important new day dawned, I looked out of the window at the bright landscapes. The green countryside looked greener, the white clouds looked whiter, the chirpy birds looked happier. We went past the lakes and streams, the paddies and trees at lightning speed, faster than I had imagined. It seemed the whole world had been secretly planning to take me home and nothing could stop me now from going back to where I truly belonged. When the train gradually entered the station, I was not appalled by the filth on the train tracks or the stench on the platforms teeming with faces of poverty-stricken masses. Neither was I confused by the chaos nor put-off by the noise that filled every corner of the station. I knew I was back to the place I longed to be in – my Kolkata.

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Festival: Durga Puja

Upon my return, I realized that the soul of this city does not lie only in her picturesque skyline with the majestic Victoria presiding over it, the songs of Tagore or the world-renowned ‘Rosogolla’. It also resides in every road and corner of the city, a boat ride on the Hoogly River, the expanse of the evergreen Maidan, the bustle of New Market, the old world charm of colonial Churches, the madness of the maddening crowd, the revelries and festivities year round, the narrow winding lanes of North Kolkata, the calls of “Didibhai” (loving sister) and “Dada” (brother), the countless fast food counters, the unending rivalries between the football clubs: “Mohun Bagan” & “East Bengal” and innumerable other unseen elements. In Kolkata, one finds satisfaction in searching for tranquillity in turmoil, peace in unrest and conviction in confusion. If the hustle ever stops or the noise seizes to exist, if the roads are ever deserted or the hawkers stop screaming, if the tram stops running or the music loses its meaning, if the love for sweets and fast food dwindles, the soul of Kolkata with die with each one of them. The soul of the city lives in every heart living in Kolkata and everything that gives the city its distinct character, embalming them all with an unfathomable sense of everlasting companionship and completeness.

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Boats on Hoogly River

With the past disappearing fast, replacing much of all that is traditional with elements of globalization, many conservatives fear that Kolkata will lose her myriad façades in very little time. However, some hopefuls believe that Kolkata will never lose her soul as it will continue to live through its people, some of whom dare to give up brighter prospects just to return, live on and sometimes pass away in her arms.