Sunday, September 10, 2006

Where have all the smiles gone?

If you don't like something, change it, If you can't change it, change your attitude. Don't complain.
- Maya Angelou

Rather ironic words coming from me, I know.

I visited Mumbai a while back and I was amazed at how helpful the people there are. There were individuals who actually went out of their way to give us directions or any other assistance that we needed at the time. Now to someone who has lived in the NCR for more than a decade, such attitudes came as a rather pleasant surprise. Yet, through it all, I noticed one thing: no one smiles in Mumbai. People are undoubtedly helpful there, but their expressions are constantly bland, if not outrightly grim.

Since coming back, however, I've realised this isn't just a phenomenon specific just to Mumbai. On my way to university in the mornings, I look around and I see nothing but grim or worried or stressed faces. Everyone on the road seems to have a furrowed brow. No one smiles any more!

Yes, we enjoy the occasional laugh with friends or family. By and large, however, we crib and we complain. We complain about anything and everything that we possibly can. I do it myself - I gripe about deadlines, class schedules from hell, chores to carry out, inconsiderate or annoying people, lechers on the road, hair loss, you name it. Everyone I know has something or the other to crib about. Maya Angelou's words of wisdom obviously have very little place in our lives today.

When did this happen? When did we start complaining about every little thing in life? When did we stop being grateful for what we have? When did we forget to appreciate the small pleasures in life? When did we forget how to smile?


ZiggyStrauss said...

Forget? I didn't realise it ever happened. face it, we are a dull, emotionless country. Remember the culture-specific aspect of emotions and how some east-asian nations have these societal norms where people don't express any emotion. Well, here it's such that people not only express NO emotion, they express only negative emotion. I was thinking of writing on this too... rather, I should have mentioned in my entry that India also doesn't offer me very nice people.

stupid chap said...

Yep ,I Agree we have kinda become Cantankerous ppl .We ve left the qoute " live in the momment " way back Nor that i can do anything abt it .

i feel for the every Mumbaikar ,for all that they have gone thru and seing them takin everyting in their stride.

i bow bow !!


stupid chap.. said...


Anonymous said...

real life, unlike the hospitality sector (which is the least 'hospitable' when it comes to tariffs) is nothing but 'cosmetic' or 'costly' with a smile flashed on... the moment someone does something and ends it on a 'smiling note', there has to be something fishy about it ... the service industry is dear at least by 20% for finding the best smiles (i.e. faces wearing the best smiles).... so when someone (unknown) does something without 'putting their best faces forward', it is usually sincere and without-a-barter the people in Mumbai ... so, yr question was 'where has all the smiles gone'? well, most of them have been swallowed by the smirks ...