Amidst all the chaos and paranoia encircling COVID-19, I thought of instances that make me smile. Visions that are ridden with nostalgia, joy or even pain. These are tense times and a reassuring smile to others, but most importantly to yourself can go a long way to keep you sane.
Here are some random moments that have managed to make me smile.
People looking at their phones and smiling
This might seem absurd but hear me out! We are quick to judge people who grin while walking alone or looking at their phones. But for me, just knowing that people are happy, that a person, a message or even a simple meme made them happy for a fraction of a second. It is so heartening to see random smiling faces around you. I’d rather have happy souls around me than grumpy faces. I started this little exercise while traveling, mostly to keep myself occupied; I hunt for smiles everywhere. And believe you me, it is very difficult to spot one but when it comes, it comes along with a lot of hope. I’d recommend this practice to everyone, try and look for happy faces around you, it instantly reassures you of a better world.
Kids, Kids, Kids!
Those who know me well, know I absolutely adore kids. I won’t negate the fact that toddlers can be quite annoying. Having said that, kids doing stupid things at most basic places, oblivious to the world around them, comes with a lot of bliss.
The quickest way to make me happy is to throw tiny mindless babies around me and let them do their thing. My biggest stress-buster currently is videos of my friend’s niece. I find myself binge-watching her videos for hours. She calms my mind and makes me forget all my worries, even though she doesn’t know of my existence.
One of my favourite sights is when I see little siblings looking out for each other. Here in India, we often come across the economically weaker section of the society living on the streets. Have you ever observed how the siblings from these sections take care of each other in the hour of need? Also, the way they find amusement in little things that come in their limited means.
Folks free of inhibitions
These are the people who can be themselves publicly, unaffected by the gazes around them. The other day I came across an elder Muslim guy who broke into a dance routine in the middle of the street. I know he was Muslim because of his attire and I stress on his religion because this incident took place when the nation was going through mass protests against CAA, NRC and NPR bills. Amidst all the political chaos it was comforting to see him enjoy his life.
Mumbai at One in the night
Mumbai is known as the city that never sleeps and I can’t remember when I stopped going out late in the night. Years later, last month I ventured out at one in the morning and it hit me with a gush of nostalgia. Mumbai after 12 midnight is an inexpressible emotion and I was glad to experience it all over again! The feeling was similar to the one when sometimes we wish if we could re-experience our favourite book or a movie, like it was the first time and re-live all the raw emotions. I was smiling all the way back home pondering how my life had changed in all these years.
Places where we existed at a certain point in life often have memories attached to them. Our previous houses, the by-lanes, gardens, shopping centers, airports; these places could write our memoir for us. We create memories everywhere we go and when we revisit these places, they speak to us in the voices of different people that we were once with.
I am here at a café as I type this. I’ve been here with someone who was one of the most important people in my life at a point. Today, sitting here alone at the same table, I can literally see the times that we spent here together, almost like a flashback montage from movies. This does make me feel empty but at the same time, this also brings along a smile, a smile that appreciates all the beautiful and of course, bitter moments lived here.
Love. Care. Concern. Understanding.
I see people reaching out to make sure if I am doing fine, people accepting my flaws, people taking their time but gradually understanding my moods and headspace, people trying to make me laugh, people reaching out to me when they need an ear.
They don’t owe me anything but still they keep a check on me to see how am I holding up, in bad times and good. And what more could you ask for from anyone? When you sit back and appreciate these lovely people around you, you’ve got to smile.
Also, I have to say that I apologise if I haven’t been there for you in the midst of the storms that run within me. I’ll try to do better.
This is the most random one. Whenever I see these little creatures, who are on the verge of extinction, I automatically smile. I have always associated with them for some reason and spotting them fills me with hope.
People on their Birthdays
There is something I love when I see absolute strangers happy. When I chance upon strangers celebrating their birthdays in a public setting, their awkwardness mixed with excitement is a sight! And then there are people who are so excited about their birthdays that they begin a legit countdown, months in advance. Usually that gets irritating pretty quickly, but can we give this another chance? To have something to look forward to, to get excited about something and revel in it, that sounds wonderful to me.
People receiving gifts
One of the most delightful visions is the look of anticipation when someone receives a surprise gift. The twinkle in their eyes, racing heartbeat, impatient hands, clumsy demeanor; the whole ordeal is so gratifying.
Every day I come across someone or the other sharing pictures with their families or partners and how can you not smile looking at happy faces sharing a collective feeling of warmth and belongingness. Let people overdo it if they want to, let them be happy.
In these times of a global lockdown, we have already seen the wildlife and nature claiming back what they lost over years. With less pollution of all forms, I can finally listen to the rustling of leaves, birds chirping endlessly and along with it the fragrance of wet mud. A band of pigeons have already found home outside my window. Oh, what pure joy!
Music that is stuck in time from an era of simplicity and deep emotions. All the tunes that my grandfather loved in his time have come to my refuge in these dire times.
Every time I sat down to write this piece; the list kept increasing. And I couldn’t be happier about it. I’d rather have this list not end. This also means that with every passing day, I am capable of finding more reasons to smile. For now, I’ll end this here in the hope that I keep adding more to this article.
Thanks for reading this and I hope that you find more and more reasons to smile, now more than ever.