I attended a valedictory service a few days back. Although I got to the venue a bit late, I met the graduating students lighting candles and singing hymns, some of them cried as the Head of School gave his parting speech, some hugged long enough to make me realise how hungry I was, some others had this look of relief with pukish smiles on their faces.

A great cheerlessness filled the arena regardless, I wasn’t touched at all. I had seen this before; in less than a month everybody moves on and realises growth is essential. Besides, I didn’t spend over an hour baking my face only to go there and look gloomy. So yeah! My ‘Disney Princess’ sympathetic attitude was dead asleep, sitting in that hall was ‘Aurora’ with a hundred doses of ‘mean’.

Soon the service was over and families crowded the premises taking pictures and catching up. I stood in the hall way waiting to catch a glimpse at my wards as one student in uniform looked just like the other.

“Oh great! There’s one” I uttered to myself with such relief but before I could call out to him, he disappeared. Disappointed, but maintained my poise, I assumed he ran off to look for his brother on seeing me so I still had hope for relief.

I stood there trying to ignore the fact that I could spend over an hour waiting for the boys to show up, my attention was drawn to the female voice behind me; A lady talking to one of the graduating students. The part of the conversation that caught my attention was:

“My daughter loves you.
Not because you help her with her
homework or buy her gifts;
I thought that too but she told
me last night – she loves you
because you always smile.
You hear that? ‘Always’.”

Now listen, you just passed
a stage and you’ll meet others
ahead. It will get difficult as
you grow older but guess what?
You get stronger at the end of every stage.
Strong enough to
be ready for the next. It’s okay
to grow and be mature but don’t
let maturity get into your head so
much that you forget how to curve
that sincere smile my daughter

That touched me. As far as I was concerned, this wasn’t just a talk, it was a piece of advise. Something I called golden; rare. Not every body gets a piece of golden advises like this one on the day of their graduation. Perhaps this should have been the Head of School’s parting speech backed up with a little prayer.

I thought to myself-“This is something to pass on to someone”.

We often get so caught up in growth and maturity that we forget the innocence of our childhood, that sincere warming smile that we were known and loved for. These days we would rather wear straight faces that read ‘keep off’ scaring away the people who admire and look up to us without our knowledge.

I felt a bit ashamed and sorry for myself because I’m one of those children that got carried away with growing up and maturity that I completely forgot how important it was to always wear a smile on my face. Rather I would frown at every situation even when I knew ‘a frown never helped nobody’. I had gotten too used to frowning that it became a reflex action and yes! I was already frowning at the fact that my wards were nowhere to be found. 

Maybe a little smile would have gotten me some help from somewhere.


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