Sunday, 8 January 2017

Why So Serious?

I go for walk couple of times a month (or year..but that's not the point!) in a neighbouring park. Being a residential area, the crowd consists of people staying around which is mostly Indians. Once in awhile you see a foreigner running or walking a dog. Now here's the thing, whenever a foreigner crosses you and you happen to meet each other's gaze, most of them invariably give a polite smile!

I was so shocked the first time that I actually turned my head back to see if he was smiling at someone else. Soon I noticed that it was not just a one off case and most of these people regardless of age or gender find it absolutely normal to smile at strangers. Initially I found the act uncomfortable but surely enough it felt good! I mean honestly if someone is to look at you, would you prefer them to stare at you and walk off or smile politely? Because I quite liked the idea. Only problem was it felt stupid that I have to wait for an outsider to show some friendly gesture when so many of my fellow citizens are walking next to me every day. So I decided that I would try the same gesture what these outsiders do so charmingly. After all this was a neighbourhood I was staying in and pretty decent looking people, so how hard could this be?

So next day I went for walk with mission to smile at at least one face and spread this positive vibe around me. Now all I had to do was find my target!It turned out to be pretty tricky because being a girl, I was not sure if a common Indian guy will misinterpret my smile for something else. Finally I picked an elderly lady who was sitting alone in park. As I crossed her I gave a subtle smile and imagined a beautiful smile back..which never came. All I got was an angry stare as if I was insane!

But it got me thinking how rude and indifferent we could be to each other. I remember back then when I used to work in shifts and had to eat alone in office, I used to go for lunch before noon because it was extremely intimidating to enter alone in a cafeteria bustling with people. I still find it uncomfortable to go for a movie alone (and have never done it). I remember once I had to go for lunch at a fine dine and every single waiter gave me a look as if I am odd one out. And by that I don't mean they ill treated me, rather they gave me too much attention! I do have friends (girls) who eat out alone or watch movies alone, but personally I don't think it's a very welcoming atmosphere..

In this current era, when our friends are mercilessly thrown all across the globe, when everybody is so busy that people schedule and reschedule to meet their own parents, I wish we had a place which was not so cruel to a single person. Is it too much to ask for a little act of kindness from a stranger? Would it be that creepy if you enter a train and fellow passenger smiles at you? Is it impossible to make a friend who is not your schoolmate/colleague/friend of friend? If so, it does break my heart because we never know how much fun we would be missing out in our life by stealing these potential moments from our lives.

I failed to bring that smile at park last year, but I refuse to give up. So here's my new year's resolution - go out and talk to strangers. Meet new people. Make new friends. Smile more and make others smile.


  1. Hi Rekha! So nice to connect with you on FB and I came across your blog. This post reminded me of something I wrote few months back. I also have wondered why are people so grumpy. Here's what I wrote about and I think you might like it. :)

    1. It's so good to hear from you Aishwarya! I read your post it's such a similar experience..haha..but I really enjoyed it..hope you meet more smiley people;)