That lovely smile

A smile is a facial expression where the corners of the mouth are turned upward. A smile could be a gesture of recognition, or an expression of friendly acceptance, be it in a person one meets, or any animate or inanimate object that gives a feeling of joy - an indication of one’s inner feelings.

A smile is universal. In any language, race or creed it carries the same message. One can listen to atrocious gossip or slander with a smile and a nod, while subtly judging the nature of the narrator. It could be a smile of genuine gratitude and humanness.

Some display permanent smiles. Beautiful! Many who meet such people forget their inner turmoils for some time.

The eyes show the essence of a smile. Come to think of it, even the eyes of our faithful canines show their smile by wagging their tail, whining with eyes of love. It is the same with ‘meow’ and the affectionate caress. A smile originating from a donor is always accepted by the recipient with a smile. At times, it makes one to smile in order to make fear or anxiety disappear.

Cartoons in the media, on mega and miniscreens, pictures in children’s books show humour and friendship with the corners of the mouth turned upward. Yes! a smiling happening. Of course, we cannot restrain a smile when listening to our politicians.

Even the moon and the blazing sun is depicted with a smile, with their mouths turned upward. They show anger and sadness when their mouths are turned downwards. Then, there is the diplomatic smile. At times, a very disarming smile while his country is arming.

Nat King Cole’s ‘That Certain Smile’ takes us back to the enigmatic smile of Leonardo da Vinci’s ‘Mona Lisa’. That smile in the painting makes it the most expensive smile in the world.

Then come songs of yesteryear that make the smile the ‘hero’. Pack up your troubles in your old kit bag and smile, smile.

‘There’s a smile on your face Brother John’, and ‘When Irish eyes are smiling’. Incidentally, they had not known about the Sri Lankan smile when the last song was written.

Devotees sing, pray, cry and dance before the smiling faces of their celestial teachers. The faces of our teachers in pictures and statues are shown with a smile. So forgiving and compassionate.

A smile is not a laugh. A bawdy joke, antics of humans and animals that we encounter in films and cartoons make people laugh. Yes! Even the hyena could laugh.

It is only a genuine smile laced with love, sympathy, empathy and feeling that can bring the best in a human being.

At the funeral of a middle class gentleman, mourners were amazed to see, all seeking alms by the sidewalks of a famous temple, queuing to pay their respects by the bier. A very few cried. Some were in wheelchairs. It brought tears and smiles from the others when they said “we are here today not because of his benevolence. He smiled at us with a bow. How we loved that smile. It was worth more than all the alms we receive. Now we will not be able to see that smile. They wept.

Then again, at the state funeral of a head of a State Department, members of all political parties mentioned about the genuine, contagious smile of the departed person and said “when sir gets down from the car and greets me with a smile, all my troubles are forgotten”.

A smile has no boundaries. No wonder , ‘smiles’ is the longest word in the English language. There is a ‘mile’ between the two Ss – Smiles. It has no distance.

It was a gracious Secretary General of the UN, the late U. Thant who said “when you are born, everyone around you is happy and is in smiles. Let your life be such, that when you die, all around you cry and you are serene in death with a smile on your face”.

A beautiful saying for all time. 

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