World Smile Day: Deeds of kindness make Delhiites ‘say cheese’!

ByKaran Sethi, New Delhi
Oct 07, 2022 01:22 PM IST

On World Smile Day today, meet some of the city residents who are the harbinger of happiness in lives of many. Sharing how they are carrying on their work, with a twinkle in their eyes, they narrate what brings a smile to their faces.

Be it the grin that beams out of immense joy or the laugh that leaves you with happy tears, every smile has a power to light up the room, in an instant. To smile is always amazing, but to see someone else smile and know you are the reason behind their joy, has another charm. And spreading smiles on many faces are some city residents, who share how they are carrying on with a twinkle in their eyes. On World Smile Day today, know their stories of being the harbinger of happiness in lives of many.

Delhiite Sheetal Agarwal has been spreading joy among many, through medical clowning.
Delhiite Sheetal Agarwal has been spreading joy among many, through medical clowning.

“I feel the best way to bring a smile to someone’s face is by empowering them,” says Ritika Garg, a Delhi-based MBA student, who brings smiles on faces of slum children in her unusual ways. “It all started when several young girls from a slum near to where I live, expressed their fondness for dressing up well and learning how to apply make-up. Since then, along with my friends, I’ve been visiting the different slums around the city where we teach these girls make up and provide them with some products. I cannot express how beautiful a sight it is to see them all chirpy and bubbly as they practice among each other. I often have these girls now call me up and say that they feel so confident about themselves now, that they would like to go out and seek jobs to be self reliant,” adds Garg.

Pallavi Priya’s cause is all about granting wishes of youngsters with intellectual disabilities.
Pallavi Priya’s cause is all about granting wishes of youngsters with intellectual disabilities.

When one’s wish is fulfilled, it sure brings a smile. “Through our project, Grant a Wish, we try to fulfil the wishes of youngsters who have intellectual disability. It’s endearing to usually see how sweet and innocent their wishes can be, but it is an absolute joy to see their faces light up when we are able to fulfil them,” shares Pallavi Priya, a Ghazibad-based IT professional and who runs the initiative, Cause for Celebrations. She adds, “From getting a cricket bat to a quick game of football, it’s the feeling of spreading hope and light in their lives by granting a wish. Also, for the little orphan kids living in the several orphanages around the city, we go and celebrate their birthdays in full gala style. It is a sight to behold watching them realise that they are valued and loved. A lot of people celebrate their own birthdays at orphanages, but we want to also celebrate the lives of those who live there.”

Continuing their efforts in the same direction, for years is Sheetal Agarwal, who founded Clownselors, for volunteers to visit various hospitals and make a difference through medical clowning. “Believe me, it’s just such a warm and enriching moment for us, when doctors and hospital staff tell us, please go up to that patient as they have not smiled or laughed in a while and then we succeed in bringing that smile to their faces. We dress up as clowns but avoid wearing any outlandish costumes. Just a red nose and make-up to make ourselves amusing but not intimidating,” says Aggarwal, adding, “I still remember this young child who wasn’t agreeing to eat properly since several days, so we just made the aura around him so light and bright, that while giggling and having fun with us, he started relishing on these bananas. Our engagement is thus very spontaneous and stems organically out of the connection we build then and there. It could be shaking hands, a high five or a little fun conversation. And, not just the patients, we also try relieving the mental stress of their guardians. The whole idea behind medical clowning is to distract people from their pain through humour and to help them in their healing process.”

It’s the will that leads to a way. Such as in the case of Ritesh Bajaj, a young city-based entrepreneur, who wanted to make a difference but didn’t know how and therefore took to his lens. Bajaj says, “I used to practise photography as a hobby, and whenever I was with my camera I would notice several young boys, who did menial jobs. They would look at the camera with fascination, and ask me several questions with curiosity. I can never forget how their eyes lit up when one fine day I went up to them with brand new cameras that I wanted to gift them. Their moist eyes and wide smiles, exuding gratitude, expressed much more than any words could. Since then, they have been learning to operate the camera from me, and have now even started earning out of this newly developed skill of theirs.” Isn’t that a joy to hear, so smile please!

Author tweets @karansethi042

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