People go to big cities to grow. But as they grow…they shrink. I still remember those beautiful days!!! When people get into a KSRTC Bus (nammude swantham aana vandi) in Kerala, smiling at fellow passengers and in no time, they strike conversations with total strangers who are sitting by their side. They keep talking as if they were friends for years. From politics to the latest movies, people talk on and on. He /she may not share our destination, but even a long trip feels seemingly short when there is someone to share our journey. How many times have we felt that tinge of sadness when we say goodbye to a momentary friend…who we would never meet again in life? How many times have we felt: “Shit!!! My stop has come…so early…If at all we could talk a while longer “? Strangers.
But, in a big city, the humanity keeps flowing in but, people keep shrinking all the same. They do not look at who or what is around them. They get into a bus or train looking at the 5.5” screen of their smartphone, find a random empty seat…plug in their headphone and then cut all the connections with the world around them. Even a short journey feels so long…so lonely. We never look at who is sitting by our side. Sometimes the paradox of “If you want to be alone…go to a city” makes sense in some strange way. At a time when human beings are making every possible barrier nothing but mere history; a time when Global Village is no more a mere myth…most of us have limited our lives to 5″ inch screens of our smartphones. We never smile. We never talk. We never explore. Even people working in the same office, who see each other for years, seldom smile at each other even in a lift. Even neighbours do not smile when they see each other because they don’t know that they are neighbours. Next time, give a smile. Strangers.
Do we realize that smiling does not cost anything? If holding your smile is as expensive as smiling itself…then why not make it free?? Million dollar smile is indeed worth a ‘million dollars’ when your smile can bring happiness in the lives of others. But the ego in people sometimes injects a false notion that they would actually lose a ‘million dollars’ if they smile. Strangers.
Author’s click by Dr. Vivek Vaidyanathan