One of the best ways to make an impression on someone is the ability to smile inspite of anything. A person who smiles a lot always remains in my memory, even if I don’t (seldom) remember their name. Yes, the shine through a person’s smile leaves me with an unfaltering impression.
Recently I have moved to a new place and so I have been totally busy managing and settling the home. The first day when we moved, me and my husband were huffing and puffing giving directions to the movers and packers’ folks to handle the stuff, having it arranged in the house, moving up and down the elevator to pick certain items from the car and all of the drill. Once we were done, almost by midnight, we both took a long hard look at the house scattered with loads of cartons in every room and by the end of the day all we wanted to do was crash and die (figuratively, of course!)
Anyway, we did not have a bed made for us to crash on at home so we decided to drive down to my brother’s place-that is in the neighborhood. Perspiring, tired and almost in a zombie like state we dashed out of the house. Waiting for the elevator was another couple who were, possibly heading out for a night stroll in the compound. We smiled, they smiled. A casual hello and an awkward silence while waiting for the elevator later, I initiated the conversation by giving out my name. Pleasantries were exchanged. All of us hopped onto the elevator.
On our way down, from the 10th floor, we discovered that the couple had also moved in the neighboring house a few days ago and how they initially thought we were the existing inhabitants. How uncanny it is that when we meet someone for the first time, we all try to estimate them. We try to weave a story around their appearances, their demeanor, even their voice quality (I do that!). All of us make our assumptions on how the person’s life would be, how they reached out to you and whether your liaison with them is long standing or not.
So by the time we had reached the ground floor, we had discovered just about enough to become amiable neighbors and then I popped out the million dollar question “Did you find a house help?” Four of us, exiting from the building lobby let out a huge roar of laughter and the guard could not figure out what hit him.
That was it. I have not met the couple since but I remember their face, the warmth with which they accepted us in a conversation. It is like how we find strangers on a plane and even though we journey together our destinations are different. For them, we were just another couple they rode the elevator with, for us-likewise. But what remained between us stayed there- frozen in time.
Just a smile.