Sophie sensed the tangible pandemonium around her. Mystified by the utter baffling crowd, she pretended to be calm. But this pretension made her fiercely anxious. She just had to move from Central Secretariat to the Govind Puri station but the stuffed crowd was surely being a catalyst in her angst and was fuelling her claustrophobia. She told herself,” Just step in the metro and that is it”. Pacifying herself was now the only option. Coming from a small town, metro seemed a humongous deal. She noticed her insignificant presence around. Nobody bothered where she came from. Nobody cared for her claustrophobia. Nobody had time to even look up at her. Leave alone to help her. Unwelcoming is Delhi. Being pushed and pulled and shoved, she entered to experience her first ever metro journey. Sophie stood terribly shaken in that callous ambience. Familiarity was not even a tinge close in those indifferent faces. Amidst the cacophony, she noticed the girl across her. Their eyes met and a meaningful smile was passed by that girl. That little curve that goes up towards the eyes unveiling bliss and lightening one’s features, that smile was a profound solace to Sophie. Among the strangest of the strange faces, that smile in the moment of her weakness gave her an uncanny secure feeling. She smiled back with the same cheer in her eyes. Just at the moment when that girl was stepping down at Lajpat nagar, Sophie happened to glance at the locket that she was wearing which said Aliena. Sophie smiled and the metro moved forward.
It was indeed a big day for Aliena. Half an hour before time, she once again checked the order in which she had filed her published articles. This job was horribly needed. Not only that it would just pay the heavy rents and bills but it will help her to carve a niche for herself. It was just not a job for her, it was WRITING. She waited in the magnificent parlour of that publishing house. The calmness of that atmosphere, the essence of the teak wood furniture, the magnificent tranquillity certainly got on her nerves. She knew her experience was way too less than many others but she was well aware that her skill and dedication were her strengths. On being called, she gathered her stuff, settled her coat and carefully walked ahead. As she stepped on the elevator, she felt someone’s presence right behind her. Just casually turning, she was welcomed by a smile. That smile made her smile and it miraculously made that incessant thudding of her heart ease. It reminded her of her own magical power. Her own beautiful smile! She turned again to acknowledge him but just heard someone greeting him by the name Rishabh. Aliena smiled and moved forwards.
Today’s pending work yet again was added to his already plethora of work. Driving back home, Rishabh was figuring out how he will manage the whole schedule for this work packed coming week. Not only were his incomplete targets taking a toll on him but the coming Wednesday was his wedding anniversary. An off in the middle of the week would surely cost him a lot. But his continuously nagging wife was a bigger issue than most of his important tasks. The Axis bank board reminded him to pay the fees of his seven year old son. Too weary to go through the formalities today, he thought of delaying it for tomorrow. Tomorrow would be impossible; hence he did the bank duty. He recalled if he had to pay any other bill and that reminded him of a series of regular errands. It was nine in the night now. His endeavour to reach home early was yet again in vain. Waiting for the green light at the signal, he observed the unending buzzing of his city. Glancing outside, he happened to see a lean fellow on his bicycle and the pillion rider was a young anorexic girl in a sari with her brightly coloured bangles. Holding in her hands was probably their infant who seemed amazed by the surroundings. That man looked back at him and gave him a smile; a smile that made Rishabh smile back. That smile of the lean fellow was impregnated with sheer bliss, and in spite of his dark skin, he saw a tinge of blush and his thick moustaches smiled along too. Honking of the cars made him realise that the light had turned green. Rishabh smiled and moved forwards.
On the way Rishabh recalled an article that he had read on the power of smile. The author said, ”How under rated is this half moon curve on our face. Apparently, we all have it but are deplorably stingy to use it. What harm if you give it to someone once a day. What harm if that curve on your face can make a terrified soul relax. What harm if that uplifting of your cheek make and angry being cool down. What harm if that semi circle of your lips breaks the ice between two strangers. What harm if that beautiful thing on your face ends the animosity between two persons. What harms if that movement of your muscles helps you relax the tension of your own body. The million dollar smile has been taken too literally I believe. Hey my miser readers, you are not actually paying those dollars. So stop being Uncle Scrooge and smile away to glory. Smile to celebrate every moment. Smile to give happiness around. Smile to drive away sorrows. As a matter of fact, Smile is the world’s simplest phenomenon to impart happiness. Smile, to be aptly noted, is a one syllable word and has been deliberately meticulously chosen to make it light weighted, easily spelt and most importantly widely and effortlessly functioned. Why are most of our pictures with smiles our favourites? Because my dear readers we look beautiful when we smile. It makes the world around us smiles. This reminds of a couplet... Ghar se Masjid hai bahot door chalo yun karlein/ kisi rote hue bachche ko hasaya jaaye. So let us pledge to smile to the ‘knowns’ and to the ‘unknowns’.”
Recalling these words from an anonymous author, Rishabh smiled and reached to his Smiling Home.
By Anamta Rizvi
Anamta Rizvi was the first friend I found at Jamia Millia Islamia - much before I even knew that I would be taking admission to this university situated at the end of the world for me. To have her around is to have sophistication and exuberance showered on you each moment. She is a fabulous writer as well, and I am blessed that I have her as a classmate, a co-worker, and as an amazing friend.