Visit to barber.
Today I had to visit the hairdresser. He belongs to family business of barber like his forefathers. Barbers had a traditional role in Indian society. Once they used to represent the parties in arranging marriages. Why a barber? My guess is that since they interacted with so many types of people they were considered appropriate to make small talk into big talk. BTW I have found all the barbers who were from the family of barbers, talkative and humorous.
Seeking an appointment with barber is not a regular practice. People just walk into their saloon whenever they want. Now there are numerous saloons owned by people who run is as a business through professionally hired barbers while the owner only deals with payments. Any way, I always call him up before dropping in and he always makes sure of a slot for me within 15 to 45 minutes, which suits me fine.
This morning when I walked in as per appointment he was alone except another customer whose hair-line moustaches were under scrutiny by our great hairsmith. Both other assistants of barber were absent. The bulky customer was passed over and I was attended first. How or when this arrangement was worked out, I could not hear or see. Maybe that customer was told in advance.
As it always happens, we had a small chat about the melody of old songs which were being played on his Sony stereo/FM radio which he had bought last year. Some humorous comments. Another customer joined us who also shared the smiles. However the thin moustached person did not smile. By appearance he looked like wealthy shopkeeper. He would exchange glance but no smile. He was not holding back but he simply had no smile. Was it due to grudge of being passed over. I have seen such looks on many shopkeepers with very successful businesses. They sit in chair whole day watching or on teller accepting payments and giving instructions without smiling once. I often wonder if these people are aliens from some other part of galaxy and they are sad in memories of their home planet.
I remember one more such instance. A fortnight back I had a matter before Mr. X, a judge. I knew Mr. X long time ago. He was a friend of another friend of mine. Mr. V. Now V and me were good friends and by serendipity became neighbours as well. V was very social person and knew his subject but did not have flair to argue the matters. I had met X a number of times and he was always humorous and some time at my cost. V and X entered into a partnership which lasted a few months. V had tacitly confided that X had taken away all clients and stopped coming to rented office. Partnership ended. V died many years ago. And X became judge a few years thereafter. From worldly perspective he had the best of the deal.
Mine was the first appearance in his court in many years. To my surprise inside was an atmosphere of funeral. His court master was conducting the court like class room. No talk. No whisper. The judge looked as if he never learned to smile or had his face in stitches. Any one can guess what was to be the fate of my matter in the court of a genius and unsmiling judge. However in the last, when I told him that he had answered my plea with one page order even when he had started with the sentence that I had no argument at all. One can not answer if the question did not exist. On this he did smile a little and immediately held back. Now this man was not completely taken over by aliens. He was sad. Some health problem? Bereavement? Who knows. He wanted to be judge and he is. Why he is so sad? He should have felt happy at all the times, for he had arrived? But he is not. Why?
But such unsmiling faces tacitly make people uncomfortable. Unfortunately there are too many. What is their problem? What are they pondering about? Is earth under invasion? Spielberg should be asked. Or should we consult Rowen Atkinson aka Mr. Beans? Maybe as soon as he comes out of toilet.
I was referring to the New York Times article “Lower Expectations”.
I’m unable to view your second video due to copyright grounds. It’s been blocked in America. Your post reminded me of a quote by Donny Osmond:
“I never smile unless I mean it.”
Maybe aliens are more authentic? I live in a culture that smiles a lot, although many of the smiles are not authentic. Some smiles are sacrificial and some are hypocritical. Many people smile simply out of habit. They smile in public (persona) but refrain at home. Some smile to your face, and talk behind your back. Politicians smile a lot but do it to dupe you into thinking they care about issues you care about just so they can gain your vote. Clergy smile in hopes you’ll join their church.
Smiles can create an atmosphere of illusion; throwing off deceptive frequencies that fool our intuition, and so we let our guard down. Sociopaths have mastered the art of smiling.
I agree with your assertion: “But such unsmiling faces tacitly make people uncomfortable.”
Observing a smile can release ‘feel good’ biochemicals in the receiver. There’s at least one advantage with regard to people who may not smile much (for what ever reason); at least you know they’re being real. Thanks for the fuel for thought.
Thanks Victoria. You reminded me of the point I had missed in above two examples. First we still have here a kind of innocence in not too well off section of people. We can find them laughing making fun inspite of their few possessions or poverty. On the other hand those with cosmetic smiles. Second example was pertaining to that section, where not to smile is rather rude. But I agree that no smile is more acceptable than cosmetic smile. Truth is far more acceptable in all colours.
BTW second clipping is a scene form some movie of Mr. Beans.
Your last sentence makes me feel like a toothpaste as if a smile is making me to leak something. Just kidding.
You said: “Your last sentence makes me feel like a toothpaste as if a smile is making me to leak something. Just kidding.”
I have heard that there’s always some personal ‘truth’ being expressed in jesting. Were you talking about the ‘fuel for thought line’ or the ”feel good biochemicals’? If you were referring to “fuel for thought”, that was intended to be a compliment.
If it was directed at “feel good biochemicals”, I have found that some people (not you necessarily) are taken out of their comfort zone when I talk about biochemicals and their influence on behavior. Many don’t feel comfortable with the fact that, for example, ‘love’, ‘nurture’, ‘caring’, etc., would not exist without biochemicals, i.e., oxytocin. To some, it sounds too mechanical, but to me this knowledge is empowering because we can consciously stimulate biochemicals, such as oxytocin, for the betterment of ourselves and others.
Regarding people with fewer possessions who still smile; I think that the lower ones expectations are, the more one tends to enjoy life. It really has little to do with possessions or the lack thereof, but a state of mind. I think you will find this article interesting. http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes com/2009/07/19/lowered-expectations/
One of my best friends lives in Denmark. We talk via Skype pretty much on a daily basis, and have done so for almost 4 years now. The article confirms what I’ve come to know and understand about Danish culture.
The shopkeeper(s) and judge you were referring to most likely have unrealistic expectations about themselves, others, and life in general; therefore they feel disappointed and become controlling. They may have thought that having success was the key to contentment. Rude awakenings can certainly stifle a smile. As the article states, some people would rather stew in their misery than trim their expectations. One thing that I know to be true, and I think you know this as well, having success in the way many define success, does not guarantee contentment, nor a smile.
Thanks Victoria, for the link and being so precise. I try to live without expectations, myself. It is not easy but it is not difficult either. Expectation seems to be the moste subtle incarnation of desires.
Sandeep, thank you for your response and taking the time to read the article.
And I thought that I had written the article?