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A Smile On His Face

By Amit Dalmia

It was 3 o'clock on a typical hot, humid day. After double checking the list, he left from the office. The past few days had been quite demanding. Pressed to his back, he had been compelled to do something he didn't aspire to. Pay was good if you saw the "normal" salaries of professionals of his age. So, you know, he was doing it because he needed money. Anyway, he took a cab and instructed the driver to stop at the crossing near Pali Bazaar. Few minutes later, the cab stopped after reaching the place.

After paying the driver, he gave a deft look at the surroundings. Wafts of hot air passed by his face. There was just so much noise, so much dirt and the hotness and humidity didn't help either. He felt disgusted.

Screw it!

He was sent to Pali Bazaar to meet some clients and collect the market data which his company would analyze. His job was to collect data and compile them in one presentable form. He didn't understand how his knowledge of Electrical Engineering was going to be helpful in this work.

Why the hell have I been sent just to collect the data? What productive work am I doing? Is this what I want to do in my life? Why am I doing it in the first place? I am not happy. What should I do?

Questions like these had been roaming in his mind endlessly for the past one year. They had drained the enthusiasm and raw cheerfulness from his face, from his soul. Every single day, he went to office, resumed the mundane work, cursed the system - company policies, the whole work culture, religiously. He was bound by a two year bond and if he were to break it, he would have to pay a hefty amount of three lakhs.

No, he had to continue this for the stipulated time period. He had borne it for a year. Another year will pass by. It always passes, doesn't it?

But, what about the cheerful, happy-go-lucky guy? Where is he now? One year in the industry has taken its toll on him. His eyes have shagged, his attitude has become negative and he always feels restless. Not the physical restless person. His thoughts and questions never ever let him remain mentally stable. To divert himself from all these, he has resorted to heavy drinking and smoking.

They create a layer of coke in your lungs. But they also create a layer, a shield, to divert the negative thoughts away;the innumerable questions and bother - if only for a few hours.

As these thoughts came in his mind, Sanjeev started feeling uneasy. He looked around for water and found a hand-cart just near the sidewalk which was offering sugarcane juice.

A weak smile appeared on his face. He waited for the red signals to light and once they were lit, he reached the other side of road.

The guy selling the juice was an old man who was finding it difficult to rotate the flywheel, the inside machinery of which squeezed out the juice out of cane. He was already serving two other customers, hence, after placing his order, Sanjeev took to the shade of the buildings which captured one side of the sidewalk.

Meanwhile, what caught his attention was a woman who was cooking something in a old, battered utensil. Occupying a very small place at one dirty end of sidewalk, she was sitting on a torn rag and tending to the food as a gardener does to his plants. Few inches from her lay her baby who was playing with a few toys, probably made from mud and straw. Sanjeev could hear his giggles from where he was standing. He saw the mother hugging the baby, caressing the thin patch of hair on his head. Even at a considerable distance, he could clearly see the warmth of love emerging in her eyes, in her movements. For her, at this moment atleast, it didn't matter if she was surviving on a dirty sidewalk of the city. It didn't matter that she was poor and weak and vulnerable. At that moment, it was just her baby, the brisk and spontaneous sparkles of laughter spreading on his face, which mattered to her most. She kissed the forehead of her son and set down to finish cooking.

They captured his attention till the old man interrupted, "Haan lijiye, bhaiya".

Watching all this had brought a smile on his face.

Problems and issues have always been there. They are present today and will come in one form or another in future also. But that in any case shouldn't deter us from enjoying the life we have been bestowed with. Let us enjoy it every second, let us rejoice it. Of course, it doesn't mean one should stop being ambitious but one should be happy all the time. Or atleast, try to be happy 'coz you know, worrying won't help in any case. It would be the actions which eventually lead to achievement of goals and objectives. Life is short and it isn't meant to be lived in gloom.

Happiness has always been a choice and it would always be.

He suddenly felt rejuvenated. The sweet sugarcane juice added to that. He took out a fifty rupee note and handed over to the old man.

"Change rakh lijiye, chacha", he took off saying this, wearing a bright, yellow smile on his face and earphones plugged in his ears. 

About the writer : Fourth Year Undergraduate Student at IIT Kharagpur.


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