As I make my way to the main road outside our home, I take a quick look at my watch.
Quarter to eight.
Dang! No time to walk.
It’s a Saturday morning. I should be lazing under the fan, pressing snooze on my alarm for the fifteenth time. But no time for wishful thinking.
There’s an auto rickshaw on the other side of the road. There’s not much traffic. I cross over as quickly as possible.
The driver nods and we don’t speak a word till he’s reached the station. Thoughts of the big day ahead, how ill prepared I feel, and the pressure I had been under for the past two weeks begin to overwhelm me.
I mumble a robotic thank you as the driver returns the change.
At the station entrance, I dump my bag on the x-ray machine and nervously glance at the train timings.
My sandals are slippery. I skid my way to the frisking area.
The lady with the metal detector looks at me and throws me off guard.
“Ma’am!” She squeals with delight.
“You are looking so amazing!” Her smile is big and genuine.
For an instant, my mind goes blank.
Oh my! Thank you so much! That is so very nice of you! You know, I was under so much stress. And I feel so much more relaxed now. You just made my day…
That’s what I want to say. I want to go on and on and pour my heart out to her.
But my throat is dry. I just about manage to blurt out a thank you, and a rehearsed “how are you?”
For what I lack in words, I try to make up by returning her wide infectious smile.
She says she is is fine, and I rush to collect my belongings.
I run down the stairs, as fast as my sandals allow. But I am late. The train doors close and it leaves the platform.
Sigh! Missed by a whisker.
The next train is 5 minutes away. I sit on the bench, take out my phone and stare at the smiling reflection on the black screen.
* * *
In the mad world where we are constantly running, racing against a faster, invisible opponent, towards an infinite goal, when was the last time someone smiled at you while doing their job?
More importantly, when was the last time you smiled for yourself?
Who made your day in the recent past? Whose day did you make?