OPINION

Poetry: The Messenger of Smiles

June 06, 2010
Ramendra Kumar

One day while walking
On the golden sands of a beach,
I met a frail old man
Whose head was shaped like a peach.

As I went by jogging
He waved gaily and said,
"Share a smile my friend
A mantra, please don't forget."

I nodded rather curtly
And hurried along on my way,
Having so many vital things to do
How could I waste even a moment of my day.

The routine continued every morning
The peach-head would continue to 'preach',
To me and others his smile mantra
As we moved along on the beach.

Most of us ignored him
A few even made fun,
He was nothing but a weirdo
To almost everyone.

Kids however adored him
He was their best friend,
He was their playmate, their bum-chum
And also their dream merchant.

His antics with the kids,
His peach-head and toothless grin,
Soon, I almost started looking forward,
Every morning, to seeing him.

One day taking time out
From my daily grind,
I said, "I'd like to ask you a question,
I hope you don't mind."

"It's ages since someone older than 12
Has paused a few seconds for me,
And so my dear friend," he said,
"Please, please do feel free."

"You are the happiest man
I have ever met,
You had the best life
I sure can bet."

"I lost my parents," he said,
"When I was barely ten,
My wife and kid left me
When I was just thirty one.

Since then I have lived alone
Battling with a cancer,
A fight I am going to lose
Probably in less than a year."

Seeing the look of shock
And shame on my face,
He smiled a winning smile
And spoke with a lot of grace.

"I have a treasure worth
Many a huge billion,
Which when shared increases,
In geometric progression.

A five letter word called smile
Is my mantra, my secret, my treasure,
It has made me forget my loneliness and pain
And given me undiluted pleasure.

There are not many morrows
Left for me to see,
A messenger of smiles
Is all that I wish to be."

With these words of wisdom
He hobbled away with a wave,
I kept staring at this champ
So selfless, cheerful and brave.

I went away for a tiring week
And when I returned to town,
I rushed to the beach for some cheer
Since I was feeling so down.

I looked for my hero, my champ
At every spot on the crowded beach
But nowhere could I find the toothless grin,
And the head shaped like a peach.

Suddenly I felt a slight tug
Looking up was an elfin face of seven
"Our Baba is no more," she said,
"He has gone to his heaven."

The little girl looked wistful
"Share a smile," she whispered
And flashing a tiny smile,
In the crowd she disappeared.

As I walked the lonely stretch
Along the crowded beach,
I realised I had learnt a lesson
Which only the wisest can teach.

Happiness is not measured in riches
Nor youth, fame and power,
It is the smiles that one shares
That bring joy forever and ever.

On the journey of life since then
I have traversed many, many miles,
And every day, every moment, has walked
With me my Messenger of Smiles.

Ramendra Kumar is an award winning writer for children with 15 books to his name. He also dabbles in satire, poetry and fiction. His work has been published and reviewed in major newspapers and magazines and translated into several Indian languages as well as Japanese, Spanish, Basque, Sinhala and Mongolian. He is also an inspirational and motivational speaker for children.
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Poetry: The Messenger of Smiles

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Author: Ramendra Kumar

 

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