Our eyes met. I smiled. I even didn’t know him, I smiled though. Something happened to me on seeing him and I smiled. His golden hair tied with a band, a t-shirt featuring Michel Jackson and fashionably torn jeans! He was seeming awkwardly good. He registered my smile and smiled in return as a gesture. It was a matter of a few seconds! I left for my college then and returned to my home in the evening.
On returning home, I grabbed my popcorn bowl; sat in front of a television switching channel by channel to find something interesting. A face passed in front of my eyes while switching channels. But by then, I had already pressed the forward button. His face started running in my mind. I pressed back button. Yes, it was him. Same Michel Jackson t-shirt, torn jeans and that golden hair! Two cops were holding him. He wasn’t uttering a word even. I didn’t get what news anchor was saying. But after watching it for 15 minutes, I got to know the whole matter. He is Paul. He was to mass shoot in South African gathering held in Chicago. I took it as normal news and switched the channel then. But Paul’s thoughts started occurring whole night.
After 2 days, people rallied in Chicago honouring Paul. I was surprisingly shocked; didn’t have an idea what’s going on. Yesterday’s victim is now a hero and that too within 2 days. That night, I turn on the television. Paul appeared in an interview. He was speaking, “I used to feel sheer hatred for the immigrants in America. After 9/11, the hatred rose high. Coming from other countries, they snatch our jobs and produce crimes. I used to go mad watching the news of shootouts in local stores. One Sunday, I got to know that the store opposite my home is robbed. In CCTV footage, the robbers were seen cold-blooded, firing at a store owner. My patience ended, lost my temper, grabbed my gun from the left side drawer of my bedroom table and started walking outside. I knew that South African gathering is nearby today. Aiming to shoot them, I started walking fast. But my conscious didn’t leave me all the time. ‘It’s not right, it’s wrong, don’t do’ were the sentences my conscious kept on saying which I didn’t want to listen to. Ego was on quite high. On Chicago downtown bus stop, my eyes met with a girl of whitish colour, perhaps Indian! She smiled at me unaware of who I am and what am I going to do. She smiled at to-be-killer without any discriminating. That’s it, my intention started shaking!
With shaken up self, I entered into the gathering. But I collapsed at the doorstep. Still, I took my gun from my pocket but couldn’t shoot on seeing little innocent children cheering, running here and there, playing with their balloons. I changed my mind; decided to return. But by then, a security guard saw me with a gun and I was caught then. At present, I am at peace and ready for any punishment. My conscious is with me; I am saved from doing wrong. That lady’s smile saved many lives including me. If she wouldn’t have smiled, my intention wouldn’t have shaken up and America would have witnessed another mass shooting.”
That was Paul describing his emotions.
Tears started flowing through my eyes because usually, I don’t give smiles to anyone. That day, me smiling was a God’ wish! But it’s my turn now to do it consciously. since then I vowed to smile to whomsoever, no matter what, irrespective of my moods & situations!
B’cause now I know what potential my smile has.
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