Thursday, June 21, 2007

4. How a baby loses his smile

When we were babies, we all used to smile, but now we look like squeezed lemons. What went wrong ? Where did we lose our smile ? To find answers, let us put ourselves in the position of a baby. He does not carry any baggage- if his mother slaps him, he cries, but is soon back to his normal self. He has no worry. He is not aware of what is good and what is bad, what he should do and what he should not. He does what comes to him naturally and lives in the present moment.

Let us think of two situations. A mother goes to a party with her baby in her arms and suddenly the baby spoils her clothes. The mother feels embarrassed. Her smile vanishes, but the baby feels relieved and is smiling happily. He is not aware that he was not supposed to have spoiled the clothes of his mother. In
the second situation, you are inside a building with a baby and an earthquake strikes. The baby finds the tremors quite amusing, but not you. The baby has no
knowledge of what the quake can bring about and hence no fear. So, he enjoys a situation which you detest.

As the baby grows, he starts worrying about his home-work and other things. He starts carrying emotional baggage. He is told what he should do and what he should not. He is envious of the child next door who does better than him in the examination. He is unhappy, because his father does not have the big car that his friend’s father has. Gradually, he starts losing his smile.

As a child reaches adulthood, his worries multiply. He worries about his job, his family and so many other things. He becomes envious. Prosperity of his own
people and others torments him. He loses his smile and trudges along laboriously.

I feel that worry, envy, inability to take things easy and artificialities of behaviour are the prime reasons for our loss of smile. These factors are absent in a baby, but are acquired as he grows. Those who can manage to handle these factors can still smile. What about others ? We will see.

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