Smiling at a stranger.

Smiling at a stranger.

Try doing that in India and look at the reactions you get. Smile at a guy and he would assume you are gay, try smiling at at a girl and boom you are a pervert.
I will tell you my experience.

Last year I went to Norway for a client deployment. Oh boy! such a beautiful country and so are the people.
First day at office: random person comes up to me and says Good Morning! with a contagious smile on her face. I am in a state of shock by now.

I am thinking: I don’t know you for God’s sake. Who are you? What do you want from me? Are you interested in me? No, I am in a committed relationship. Please leave me alone.

That was my level of discomfort initially. And as the day passed by, I had 20 similar experiences. From the people in the office to people on the streets. Randomly smiling at me as if they are really happy to see me. Soon, it started to grow on me. I started smiling at strangers and they responded. It was a nice feeling. It felt like a strong connection with the human species where everyone acknowledges your existence. It felt beautiful and natural.

In my time there, I tried my best to make this my habit. Every morning, I would enter the office with a big smile on my face as if I had just won a lottery. I started saying Hi to everyone I met at the coffee machine. It seems so easy but it was not so easy for me being the introvert I am and the kind of social setting I have spent most of my life in. I resolved to try this when I would be back to India. And I did.

Initially, the reactions were not so great. Even they felt that this guy is “showing-off”. But I was not. I was just happy and wanted to spread it. I started to wish everyone with whom I crossed my path. The security guard, the kaam-wali(domestic help), the guy in the other team and so on. Adding a smile on someone’s face everyday.

It is like a rat race here and people do not have time to appreciate the small, beautiful things. So simple and yet so difficult.I wish this culture becomes an integral part of India.