Today I was challenged by Alex Steel to make a child laugh. Over the past few weeks, Blair and I have been a hit with the single-digit set, regularly getting inquisitive looks, friendly waves and hesitant smiles that evolve into silly games and peels of laughter.
I have made a few young friends over the past few days, including a group of rowdy boys who escorted me into the Krishna Temple in Naguar, flew up and down the stairs of the inner workings of the building and proceeded to try to make the temple into a haunted house by flickering the lights and making ghost sounds. Krishna probably would not have been amused, and while I tried to keep some semblance of religious respect, I couldn’t help but laugh at the energetic antics of these boys.
This evening in Jaislamer, I met this adorable baby, who I normally would have smiled and waved at and continued along my wandering. But given today’s challenge, I went up and said hello, and we began a raucous game of peek-a-boo, which continued into handshakes and many kisses blown past the ambling cows, honking motorbikes and crowds of people.
Their energy is infectious, and I find myself walking away from each encounter with cheeks sore from smiling, and a feeling of commonality with the people and culture around me. While language barriers can make it hard to connect, there is no deeper sense of connection than a shared laugh. Smiling at and playing with kids has made me more open as a traveler, as I’m more likely to smile broadly at a new person, young or old, instead of giving them my usual New York scowl.
I highly recommend an easy little detour from your day to make a child laugh… I can’t wait to hear your stories and experiences!