Happy no more: The story of an emoji | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, February 28, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, February 28, 2019

Happy no more: The story of an emoji

I became known as the symbol of happiness instantly after my birth.

A little more than a decade later, people started associating me with anger and drama, with emotional blackmails and guilt trips.

My name is Smiley and this is my story.

Because of the rather eventful life that I have had, I feel like I was born a long, long time ago. Right before my birth, the dwellers of the online world were looking for something through which they could express their happiness, pleasure, joy, and every other positive emotion out there. Welcomed with open arms, I came into the picture as the solution to the problem that people were facing when they couldn't find anything to supplement their happy words and joyful sentences.

With the passage of time, more and more people departed for the rapidly expanding online world as the real world and the real smiles that adorned it became much less interesting in their eyes. People started feeling much more comfortable looking at the screens of their smartphones and computers and typing away in the speed of light. They took my help whenever they needed to write messages that needed to convey happiness. The recipients would be pleased to see the excitement emanating from the texts – just because I was used as a companion of the words that were typed with blank faces (yes, it is true that many of the people who took my services had forgotten how to smile in real life. That was when I entered their lives. I became the smile they had lost).

Making people smile is the best feeling ever, isn't it? That was what I achieved. I was loved by humans and envied by fellow emojis. I became the universal symbol of happiness. Making humans happy in turn made me the happiest emoji on earth. The mischievous wink emoji, the playful tongue-out emoji, the miserable sad emoji, and the often-confused-with-the-sad-emoji emoji used to be jealous of me because, unlike me, they could not make people smile. They could never have impacts on people's emotions the way I did.

But then, out of the blue, my life changed.

Some insensitive people started using me to express anger. They started using me to highlight their passive aggressive messages. They resorted to me whenever they wanted to guilt trip someone. Instead of making people happy, I started bringing misery to their lives. Although I was devastated, I consoled myself saying it was just a bad phase of my life. I couldn't have been more wrong. Within months, this inappropriate usage of my services spread like plague and I became synonymous with emotional blackmail, guilt trips, rage, and passive aggressiveness. My life changed completely. From being the happiest emoji on earth, I became the most dreaded emoji to ever exist.

There was a time I had everything. My existence would delight people. Now it terrifies them. The other emojis are no longer jealous of me. They give me the cold shoulder and walk away arrogantly as I try my best to hide my face from them. Oh, what did I ever do to deserve this misery?

Perhaps one day everyone will forget that there was a time I was not just happy but also desired by everyone.


When he is not dealing with mood swings, Shounak Reza devours books and tea and longs for eras he has never lived in. You can contact him at www.fb.com/shounakreza

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