While I was in school my friends and even unknown people used to call me “Chirikudukka”. When I make a mistake in the school and I realize that I made a small mistake, I immediately used to smile spontaneously. So people used to call me ‘Chirikudukka’ which means a smiling child. But literarily ‘Chiri’ means smile and ‘Kudukka’ means a small vessel with round face.

After joining St. Xavier’s College in 1968 with Gujarati main and Sanskrit I wrote my very first article for publication. It was on smile and was published in “Sandesh”. Through experience I know that a smile on account of a small mistake or misunderstanding give peace of mind. In the morning when I meet someone I smile and say ‘good morning’. Many times the little joy of my smile is doubled with the person in front of me smiling and returning my greetings.

My childhood habits of smiling and sharing my joy with the person in front of me is still with me. On the cross road I stop my car for the red light to change and I see that someone is looking at me, I smile at once sharing my joy of life with the person paying attention to me.

One day I stopped my car at the Income Tax cross roads for the green light to come. Three young men on a motor bike stopped very close to my car. I saw their funny hair styles and I smiled. The youth must have found my smile strange. One of the young men asked me, “Uncle, why are you smiling?”

“Young men, look. Isn’t God very unjust? You three young men are on a two wheeler while I am alone in a four wheeled car! If it is not unjust, then what is it?” I responded.

Feeling happy, I guess, the three men smiled and went away as the traffic light turned green. I certainly felt happy for smiling and sharing my joy and happiness with them and spreading the joie de vivre.

Usually when you look at someone and smile, that person too smiles back. One day at Stadium six roads crossing an auto rickshaw stopped close by. I smiled at the driver. With serious look he asked me, “Uncle, why are you looking and smiling?”

“Bhai (brother), look how clean and tidy you keep your rickshaw. Your passenger will be happy to sit in your rickshaw. A colourful butterfly sat on his face as he smiled ear to ear. With my sincere compliments his serious look changed into a pleasant, happy smile. A smile on the face makes a person very attractive and wholesome.

Spiritual writers say that a smile can change you and the world around you. The story of the auto rickshaw driver is a good example. You look more attractive with a smile on your face than otherwise. When you smile a wave of joy is spreading like a stone causing ripple in calm water. A sincere smile on your face tells others that you are wholesome in body and mind. Your small mistake may make the affected person angry; but with an understanding smile expressing ‘sorry’ may calm him/her down and may persuade the person to smile back at you.

A short cut to live happy and spread joy is a simple, sincere smile. Your smiles tell others wordlessly that s/he is a lovable person. With your smile you are communicating that you yourself is a loving person. Smile builds up relationship. Smile nourishes relationship.
Smile helps us to forget our worries and concerns. Smile helps us to enjoy life.

Smile is contagious. When you smile the other person in front of you, irrespective of a friends or a stranger, smile back at you and share the joy of life. Smiles build up self-confidence. Two persons’ smiling at each other draw them closer. It may be the beginning of a new relationship.

Christie Brinkley exhorts us, “Share your smile with the world. Your smile is a symbol of peace and friendship.”

Many well known and not so known eminent people have said many good things about smile. Leonardo da Vinci of ‘Mona Lisa’ fame says, “A joyful happy smile is not human but divine.”

Mother Teresa’s sayings on smile are much quoted. She says, “Every time you smile on another person, your smile conveys love.”

I have added an Appendix in my Gujarati book on Mother Teresa’s famous quotes. In it you find often quoted sayings of Mother Teresa including the following short quotes on smile.

“Your smile is a precious gift to the person in front of you.”

“Give generously till it hurts you with a smile and pleasant face.”

“We smile because Christ lives in smile.”

“We always meet others with smile. For, love begins with smile.”

William Arthur Ward says, “Warm smile is the common language of kindness in the world.”

Thich Nhat Hanh says, “Because of your smile you make life more beautiful.”

Finally, let me quote Yogi Paramahansa Yogananda “Let my soul through my heart smile. My heart through your eyes will smile that I can spread smile in sad hearts.”

Your smile is useless if it is kept only for yourself. When you smile at others you smile become fruitful. So do not forget to smile looking at people. Spread smile and spread the joy of life.

Lastly a Gujarati proverb says, “Smile and the world will smile with you.”


Changed On: 01-04-2019

Next Change: 16-04-2019

Copyright Fr. Varghese Paul, SJ – 2019