A Smile That Fails To Reach The Eyes

About Shailender Kaur

Shailender Kaur, a Gold Medalist in English literature, a blogger, writer and a voracious reader. Her interests also include photography and spending time with nature. She has written travel books, books on mythology and also co-authored an Encyclopedia on history for children.

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Faces around, faces abound! A smiling face is a rare sight. Her name is Boondi and she is forever smiling. Her sheer ability to listen to others sincerely makes her a sought after companion. A silent worker who enjoys her work thoroughly and ‘work’ seems to reciprocate by lending her contentment. She speaks a little and lets her smiles convey and communicate. Her smiling face lends a peculiar charm and dignity to her demeanor that is so very endearing.

Irritation, depression & dejection are words for those who can afford these emotions, but it seems when one doesn’t have a choice one moves on with life stoically or opt for an exit mindlessly. Her husband and her son chose the latter. Both of them ended their lives by hanging.

A knock at her door in the wee hours of one fine morning brought the news of her husband hanging from the tree. She had always been resourceless, at that time haplessness and helplessness added to her woes all the more, yet she braved it out silently through the pain of huge loss by accepting her destiny. One had never heard her talking of her husband fondly, which of course is understandable, given the fact that her husband was an alcoholic, treated her as a mere commodity and quite often, resorted to severe beatings. She, like many, feels that a husband is a societal need and his absence makes life less secure and more difficult in terms of safety. She got over the grief almost immediately and held the reins firmly.

When one is sure of goals, struggles become mere milestones. Her two children became her sole reason of living life meaningfully. Earning money was never a problem, she ran several errands in numerous households and was able to provide whatever she thought was best for both her son and daughter. Making them completely oblivious of depravity of food, love & care, was a personal achievement she was so very proud of. May be her son was never able to realize her compulsions & limitations that she hid beneath her smiling face. He became more and more demanding, day by day. She fulfilled all his demands till she could not fetch any more. Her son misinterpreted her inability as an act of insensitivity and left her forever repentant and remorseful by hanging himself with her saree.

How ignorant I was in mistaking her smile for a sign of immense contentment! I then realized that some gestures are symbolic but we interpret them literally. For Boondi her smile is her strength, her smile facilitates her connection with the rest of the world, she has never tried to burden anyone with her grief, nor have I seen her wallowing ever in self-pity, because she also knows that her sorrows and grief are exclusively her own.


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2 Response Comments

  • Amardeep20/04/2017 at 8:18 PM

    Heart-breaking story, poignantly told. People like her make us realize how insignificant our own troubles are. Loved the author’s insights into the character and life in general. Great reading, look forward to more!

  • Poonam Ahluwalia02/06/2017 at 10:41 AM

    such a beautiful and sensitive weave of emotions,Shelly your writings have simplicity but the strength of reaching to the core of few words you have sketched a life of Boondi who is probably a story of lakhs of women who brave the adversaries of life with a smile .another lovely treat for the readers by you.

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