When a Metro coach smiled...

Reflections Jun 07, 2016

Usually, I board the designated cab to office every morning. Sometimes, when I am late or when I feel the need to keep my sanity intact, I use my car or take the public transport (a ride on auto rickshaw and Delhi Metro) to commute to work. On these days, I am at my very best since I interact with strangers - consciously or sub-consciously as part of the traveling. Being a part of the society has always been something that I have enjoyed since it opens up your mind to so many perspectives. Yesterday was one of those days when I was late and decided to use the Delhi Metro. Monday mornings are slow for most people. However, little did I know that it would be one of those happy Monday mornings that you once in a while come across where everyone is happy.

It was just another morning and nothing was particularly different about it except a light cool breeze which was a welcoming change to the otherwise heated June. I believe that was the setup for the event that was about to take place. Just 30 seconds after I entered the lightly crowded metro coach, I noticed a sharply dressed young gentleman in his mid-30s standing and reading a book instead of the customary smartphones that most are comfortably glued to (one's own or someone else's), in a Metro coach. Being a paper book lover, I could not help but smile to the view. Nothing special though, I have seen people read newspapers as well and it brings a smile on my face even then. However, at the next stop, one seat got empty and this young gentleman politely asked the other guy who was standing next to him whether he would want to take the seat? This got my attention. A guy offering his seat to another guy, inside Delhi Metro, who is of the same age as he is, is a rare gesture that you can see in the man-eat-man attitude that majority carry in this city. I smiled a bit more and could not help but admire the man for his politeness.

It is my habit (and probably a bad one) to try and figure out what books people read when I see them reading in public, hoping that I may be able to strike a conversation or just make a mental note to find out what the book is about and maybe add it to my reading list if I find them interesting. I was trying to do the same when this generous act took me by surprise. In the process of trying to figure out the name of the book, I noticed that the guy was smiling through his reading. Now, I know that laughing is contagious; however, I learned yesterday that smiling can be equally contagious. I could not help but smile after that and with my smile, I made 10 other people who were looking at me - smile. That smile of the guy spread like a wildfire and eventually, all of the people inside that Metro coach were smiling, regardless of whatever mood they were in when they first boarded the Metro, by the time I got down at my station.

It was indeed a good Metro ride and eventually a happy morning, thereafter; but what grabbed my attention is the fact that a writer who worded his thoughts, worlds, emotions and expectations probably never thought in their wildest dream that the smile that their words would put on the immediate reader's face could actually have made over a hundred people smile at the same time without them ever knowing what has been written. Imagine the power of those emotions so strong that poured out of the book for the non-reader to have the same effect on them as well. I realized yesterday that written words can be as powerful as spoken and non-spoken words. It is truly amazing how this world works. The kind gesture and a little smile changed the mood of an entire Metro coach. Imagine, the harm that the opposite would be capable of doing. So, smile, be generous and spread the cheer wherever you go. After all, would you want to be just another person spreading the negativity or would you want to be the spark of joy for everyone around you?


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