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Thread: Plastic smiles

  1. #1
    Enthusiast sowmya's Avatar
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    Nov 2008

    Default Plastic smiles

    Each country has its own merits. And what makes each of them unique is the people. All the years of my schooling and college in India I was in an outer area in Chennai travelling almost a hour and half each day by train and bus. Three hours of travel, by rusty, dirty buses which were never on time and metal smelling, crowded trains where hawkers keep coming and going. Yet it was an experience in itself for me. I saw working ladies travelling 2-3 hours each day who have a home to care for and kids to feed had no time for prayers, doing their hair or eating breakfast and it all happened on the train. I saw people and their lives, their friends and conversations... happiness in the face when they got fresh smelling jasmines for 3 rupees instead of 5 rupees...long parted friends met some day and relished their memoirs in the pungent coaches ...the sweat of that hard working man still believing every penny needs to be earned for...the highly abusive pedlar lady at the sight of whom all passengers passed a silent smile between themselves and closed their friends who travelled with me everyday, the food we shared ,the numerous laughter without worrying about the world, economy, next meal or day...
    Yes, for me it was a way of knowing my people, the genuine ones for whom everyday goes by hard work not luck or chance.
    I have travelled else where in other countries also. Buses are dot on time ...I have been amazed at the punctuality ...if the next bus is due to arrive at 8.01 AM it arrives at 8.01 not 8.03 not 8.00. They are Spic and span, good smelling and of course air-conditioned. Here too, I travel a good two hours. Yet people rarely talk or even look at the other person’s face. Let alone strangers, even couples travelling by the same bus or train rarely talk. Each one, even kids, have their own smart phones, i pads, game consoles. They are occupied and no one can barge into their space. May be Chennai or even India for that matter might have changed these days. Living by seconds, no one has time for their own parents leave alone co-travellers. A simple smile which costs nothing but does wonders for your heart is very rare from people who you meet on the road ,and most of those rare ones are mere plastic !

  2. #2


    Chennai is also changed, not many people smile back. it's a mechanical world all over world.

  3. #3


    Thanks for sharing your experience, Sowmya. As far as I have seen, I don't think Chennai is that unfriendly... Still people smile at one another. Even today, when I was returning home, I found a lady squatting on the road and cutting a banana plant which had been thrown on the way side. When I glanced at her, she smiled at me and said," Thandu nallaa irukku ma." (meaning the stem was quite good and edible). I just gave her a warm and appreciative smile for her effort in trying to make the best use of an edible plant.

    I always love to smile at small kids very much because a majority of them is sure to return a warmer and friendlier smile to me. A smiling face always does make a huge difference when you interact with people. I love to smile and I am happy that my smile is always warm and genuine...

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