19 April 2015

Expressions are interesting to think about

This is the twenty seventh article in a series I am writing for the JEANS section of 'The Nation'.  The series is for children. Adults consider yourselves warned...you might re-discover a child within you! Scroll down for other articles in this series. 

There are countless faces we encounter every day.  They are all unique, each one different from the next.  They are different in terms of shape, complexion, the amount and angle of sunlight on them, the direction in which they are turned etc.  We might things some are prettier than others, but we can be sure that someone else would disagree.  Beauty, as they say, is in the eye of the beholder.  But let’s forget these things for now and think about expressions. 

There are faces without expression.  It’s not that their owners don’t feel sorrow or joy, are never happy or angry.  If you take just one face over a period of say 4-5 hours, you’ll notice that the expression changes.  Right now it might be expressionless but the next moment you might see a smiling, happy face.  Half an hour later you might see eyebrows raised indicating surprise or eyes flaring in anger.  You might see a faint smile dancing on lips or a lip bitten in annoyance. 

Think of all these faces or the single faces with many expressions.  That’s you, by the way.  What you see flash across the faces of friends and strangers probably flashes across your face too, now and then. 

What does a smiling face do to you?  What does an expressionless face make you think about?  How about a face with anger, annoyance, sneer, contempt or sadness written on it?  What kind of faces would you like to encounter from the time you wake up until you fall asleep at night? 

In general we all prefer smiling faces to frowning ones, don’t we?  We even prefer expressionless faces to angry ones, right?  Have you ever asked yourself what your face might be doing to those who have to see it? 

We are all human.  There are times when we are happy and times when we are sad. Sometimes we are thrilled to be alive sometimes we are angry beyond belief.   It is not easy to be calm all the time.  But then again, do we gain anything by spoiling things for others who have nothing to do with whatever made us angry or sad?  You are not to blame for something that hurt or angered someone but you get to see the down-in-the-mouth face when you would rather see a happy face, right? 

Sometimes we can’t help it, our feelings decorate our faces but if we think of what sad faces do to us, we might be able to change ‘frown’ to ‘expressionless’.  This world has enough trouble without us forcing our troubles on other people.  Smile and that makes others smile and might even turn a sad face into an expressionless one and an expressionless face into one that smiles even the tiniest smile.  Frown and the world become a shade darker for someone who has not done us any harm and who might not even know us. 

The next time you see a smiling face or a face without an expression but more importantly without a frown, it might just be that the person is hurting or angry but doesn’t want to spread the bad news around. 

Expressions are important.  Think of yours, now and then.  You can color the world so easily, you can also turn it grey.  Your choice.

 Other articles in this series