Walking around the beautiful walking path on the common floor of our apartment yesterday, I saw beautiful butterflies lingering around flowers. I was mesmerized by the vivid pattern on their wings and the bright colours. Butterfiles are really breathtaking – have you ever watched them or tried to get close to them – of course you will need to do it without breathing? Have you ever noticed how delicate their wings are ? It is as if they would crumble at the mere touch, but still your hands will inevitably reach out for them, but you will never be able to hold them. I wonder how butterflies feel to the touch? I remember visiting a Butterfly farm in Zanzibar. I was in a net with hundreds of butterflies fluttering all around, but could I still touch one – of course not. They were faster than lightning, and they would fly away before you could even think of moving your hand to reach out! I am assuming they know how they rouse the human mind to reach out for them. They wont even let you gaze at them to your hearts content. Wicked little things – aren’t they? But I guess that’s the way they are supposed to be, and therefore, something like a butterfly will always remain the subject of awe to human eyes.
The smell of the gardener mowing the grass was sweet and consuming. I realized that something like grass – to which we are all so indifferent could emanate a smell so sweet when crushed beneath the pressure of the mow. I wish I could let you inhale that smell. But obviously I cant, thanks to technology not reaching so far yet. Therefore, I urge to stop by and take a generous deep breath the next time you see someone mowing grass. Will you do that please?
Extending my gaze to someone who walked past me, I was bestowed with a big generous smile and of course I smiled back too showing all my teeth. We exchanged pleasentries and moved on. I had heard bits and pieces of a rough marriage about the lady, and somewhere deep down her eyes I have always seen a pain. I don’t know what, but I have something with people who hurt, and my spirit tells me to reach out to them. I have done that most of the times but regretted it a few cases. Regretted not because I did what my heart told me to do, but because the hurt that people go through more often causes them to build a wall outside of them within which they do not let anybody in. In such cases, I always ended up being made to feel kind of intrusive, but then I console myself saying “I tried, and I listened to the little voice inside of me”.
The second time I met the lady, she gave me a beautiful smile yet again. And as she smiled, I pondered how difficult it must be for her to move the muscles to smile unfailingly at every person acquainted to her, when deep down her soul is sorrowing.
I also realized that it was not just her out there, there are thousands of people who hide their forlorn lives with smiles. Some people call it fake, but then what is wrong with it? Are they expected to walk around with gloomy faces for the eyes of all who see them, so that their misery is made known to the world? Instead of calling them fake, why don’t we call them brave? Instead of calling them pretentious why don’t we call them down-to-earth? Why are we so quick to judge? Do we ever offer to lend an ear to their lives, or extend a hand to help?
A young boy on the street today, ran upto my car with a rag and a torn plastic can of water. Using the stop-light as an excuse to run up and wash the screens of cars, like so many other young boys on every stop-light in Dar es salaam. As always, I started the wiper as an indication to him not to wash the screen. But he continued, smiling in his endeavour to be allowed continue doing his work. His face was pale, yet glowed with his smile. I couldn’t help but notice, how good the boy would look well dressed and clean. He had deep brown eyes, and even clean teeth and a lovely smile. I honestly didn’t have any change in my wallet. As I drove the car away with the green light, I saw disappointment in his face, and I regretted being the reason for it. The traffic was heavy and soon the car stopped again before moving too far. The boy ran upto me again, and I sincerely told him that I had no change. He smiled and said he hadn’t eaten the whole day. I felt a tug at my heart. I felt guilty that I was so full with the good snacks enjoyed with friends, and here was someone on an empty stomach, for no fault of his, but still smiling. Quickly I pulled out some notes from my wallet and handed over to him, to be rewarded with immediate wet eyes and a gracious smile. He did not expect it. “Mungu abariki dada”, and he lifted his hand to his mouth.
I am really awed by the power over their adversities people show in their lives. Smiling in those conditions is an expression of strength. The next time, you want to pull a long face, remember to win your circumstances, and give yourself strength by smiling. I am quite certain it will help you turn around things to work with you, rather than against you.

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