Travel Shot: The orange smiley

A rainy day in September 2011. It is mid-morning and I have just completed a climb of the Pavagadh Hill to visit the Mahakalika Temple on its summit. It has been a tough and painful climb, partly because of the steep steps, and partly because of a sprained ankle. By the time I finish with the darshan at the temple, I am quite bad-tempered with pain and just want to get back to my hotel room and rest my ankle.

I decide to take the cable car back to the base and as I make my way to the cable car station, I see something that stops me. It is a smile. A beautiful smile beaming away at me from a small roadside shrine built under a tree. It is a smile that literally shines and sparkles amidst other expressionless, almost dour faces surrounding it. It is an open, wide and  happy smile, and one so infectious that I forget my painful ankle and smile back in turn.

Roadside shrine, Pavagadh

The smile should have looked comical and garish on an orange face with coins stuck on it. But no, this smile was encouraging and I felt that it was of a congratulatory nature for having completed the difficult climb. It was a smile that was whimsical and warm, and one that made me forget my painful ankle. More than anything else, the smile felt genuine !

I consider this my own personal smiley, and one that I would love to share with you. It is a smiley that has stayed with me through highs and lows, ups and downs, crests and troughs … and that I like to keep on recall mode. The smile has always offered hope and a reason to focus on the positive things around me. And as 2013 begins, what better way than to invoke my orange smiley and look forward to a year of peace, purpose, and positivity.

Happy New Year, dear reader. :-)

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39 thoughts on “Travel Shot: The orange smiley

  1. Trust you to come up with a wonderfully different kind of new year post! I remember the post where you had talked about your ankle and the painful climb up the hill. After reading the context and looking at the face over and over, I can actually feel all the emotions it evoked in you. A happy new year to you too, Sudha :)

    • Thank you, Zephyr, and wish you a very Happy New Year too ! :-) I had wanted to write this post for some time now and the New Year seemed to be just perfect for that. The smiling smiley (m other name for the orange smiley) is quite something, isn’t it?

  2. lovely post to begin the year with, Sudha! and I dont know how i managed to miss the earlier post on pavagadh, but just read it, and wow! what a journey it must have been!!!! all that rain and those ancient ruins on the hills… wish i was fitter and could go there too someday!

    • Thank you, Anu and a Happy New Year to you too :-) Pavagadh was a great trip and apart from the climb, I loved the detour out group took from the main climbing path and we were able to see medieval ruins as well as take a walk through Pavagadh’s own valley of flowers :-) And you must put this on your bucket list !

  3. That sure is one hell of a smile – bright orange and silver coins. Out of curiosity, which God does Smiley represent? Nice to call him/her Smiley though!
    In fact, all the Gods captured in your photograph seem to be smiling.

    • I don’t know which God/Godess Smiley represents. Maybe the Goddess of Smiles? :-) The other idols were not smiling — two of them had deadpan expressions and the other two, which are placed inside the shrine were looking up, almost as if in exasperation !

      And as for Smiley, she stood out all radiant in her orange and silver avatar :-D

  4. LOVED this post! What a beautiful and very different New Year’s post! :)

    I am unable to see the picture, though. :( I would love to. Any idea how that can be done?

    In spite of living in Ahmedabad for 25+ years, sadly, I never visited Pavagadh. I didn’t explore much of Gujarat.. now that I am in Bangalore, I regret it. :( I would love to do that some time, but now, we don’t have a home in Ahmedabad. Gah! :(

    Anyways, wish you a great 2013! :)

    • Happy New Year , TGND. You have a great 2013 too :-)

      My favourite travel destination is Karnataka, but Gujarat comes a close second. :-) We often neglect the places close to us as we feel that we can always visit it anytime. But many a times, that “anytime” does not happen. Even though I have lived in Mumbai for almost 20 years now, it is only in the last few years that I have actually started exploring the city. I visited the Elephanta Caves about 2 years back, and that too after I was shamed into it — I overheard a couple of international students gushing about it !

      Why don’t you plan a holiday to Gujarat? Maybe Kachchh?

      • @Sudhagee

        I would LOVE to visit and explore Gujarat some day! The sad thing is – my parents just sold off their house in Ahmedabad, and moved to Bangalore. I mean, that is a good thing,but we don’t have a home now in Gujarat. Feels sad to have to stay in a hotel in a city where you always lived. :(

        Do I make sense?

        That said, I know I will go there again. I badly want to explore the state, especially the saltlands of Kutchh. I just have to convince myself, and make up my mind.

        • I know what you mean. I will be going to Jodhpur next month and it will feel weird to stay in a hotel there considering that I have lived there at one point in time.

          I want to visit the Kachchh region again. The last time I visited was in 1992 as part of my field work. Don’t know when I’ll visit it though !

  5. Happy New Year Sudha!! It is indeed a wonderful smiley. It almost challenges you to ignore it, My lips turned upward as soon as I saw it. I hope your year unfolds with all things beautiful

    • That’s exactly what I did when I saw the smiley. I automatically smiled back at her :-)

      Happy New Year, Meera. One of my wishes for this year is that I get to meet you soon. soon :-)

  6. What a wonderful post to start the New year :) Loved the orange smiley… There is a quite good vibe that I felt when I watched this pic… can’t really explain it but felt it…

  7. Pingback: Crests and troughs « entangledinparadox

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