Smiling is not enough

Akash Nair M S
2 min readJun 9, 2020


Photo by sebastiaan stam on Unsplash

On my way back home, after running an errand, I met the security of my apartment complex catering to some maintenance work near the generator. As usual, I smiled at him, but he didn’t reciprocate.

It felt odd and since I was in a hurry, I rushed up the stairs. Halfway up the stairs, as I inhaled the disappointment of the security not smiling back, the realization hit me: I was wearing a mask.

I tried to reason my expectation by thinking he could have paid attention to the change in my facial expression. Then I became cognizant of my beard covering the majority of my face and almost acting as an extension to my mask.

After I got back home, I smiled in front of the mirror, and I understood there was no way he could have recognized my gesture. Obviously, the incident made me think about how much had changed because of the current pandemic.

My mind was immediately flooded with a longing for the past, and I was beginning to fall into a negative loop. In an attempt to insulate myself from overthinking, I asked myself a simple question: what could I have done differently to ensure the security noticed my gesture?

A simple wave would have grabbed his attention.

As I promised myself to do this the next time, I understood what this meant in the grand scheme of things. All of us will have to change the way we conduct ourselves, and that includes even the way we acknowledge people.

Things aren’t going back to how it used to be.

It doesn’t mean normalcy won’t return, but the definition of normalcy would be different.

Thank you for reading!