It was a dark evening. With dried leaves under my feet, they made crackling sound and I absolutely loved it. I was walking on a silent road with my 7 year old cousin sister, who held my hand tight with little fingers. We weren’t speaking a lot but, she enjoyed on her own.
The most important attribute, I appreciate in a child is ‘ability to be happy even if alone’ and ‘curiosity’ . I feel sorry for the child because, soon she will grow up. One day she will give up protecting these natural attributes because the intensity at which society conditions the child by use of tool called fear, is simply too strong. Especially, when her parents too, are a part of such society.
She looked straight into my eyes. As she spoke I saw my reflection in her deep eyes. She asked “Dada, what is happiness? If we can feel it why can’t we see it?”
If you ask the child any question, his answer won’t be that mature. But, their questions are definitely philosophical at times for their age.
She had turned on a wheel in my brain. I have been reading about happiness from my childhood. There have been so many definitions. I was confused how to answer her. I promised her that I will tell her by evening because what use is my master’s degree if I can’t tell a child an answer she won’t understand. I wanted to simplify the concept.
As we turned around to walk home, the dried leaves made crackling sounds. The sun was almost hidden behind the horizon. The birds chirped last, before they went to sleep in their nests. But, I couldn’t see or feel any of these things as I was not present there with my sister. I was in my third world… where I am alone with my thoughts.
You don’t have to be a millionaire in order to be happy. Once during a tormenting summer trek, we had finished all of our water bottles while ascending. As we had started descending, it was afternoon around three pm. We controlled our thirsts as much as we can. The heat was intolerable.
We were almost running down the mountain so as we could get to water source at the base as quick as we can. But, we were halfway down the mountain and we had lost the route. It was frustrating and felt like nothing can be as worse as this situation. Somehow we tracked the correct route.
Once we reached the base we filled up the bottles like a starving dog feeds on food. We stuck those bottles down our throat. When the first sip of water touched our mouth you know what we felt?- Happiness.
We weren’t millionaires that time. But, yes we were million times happy. That moment wasn’t different from a buisness person who just won a huge profit. It is the same feeling because in both the cases happiness is release of the happy hormones. Body doesn’t release different chemicals of happiness for different situations.
What are you thinking? After a certain age, after a certain period when you will have done all the hard work and accumulated money, happiness abounds? What we felt at the trek, the happiness was as same as a rich person who just won a million dollar deal. As same as the person who gives a winning speech on stage. As same as a person who just reached the Mount Everest.
Happiness is a contrast feeling between two situations.
Why the hell in the world is everyone racing only for money? If money makes you happy then happiness is reserved only for the rich. It is true, money is a medium of exchange. But, when you make it the only source for happiness for you, what is going to happen?
Once I met a very rich man. He was talking to me.
“Amit, you know what my income is more than fifty million per year. I always thought money is all the happiness. But, one day the definition changed completely for me.”
I was listening intently as he continued. “I had taken my little daughter in a fun fair. I always want to keep her grounded, so I generally take her to such places where she could be with common people. A rush entered from the gate which brought in all of tourists and passed pushing us.But, then I was numbed when I couldn’t feel my daughter’s hand. She was lost. ”
He tried to hide his tears, as he felt his eyes heavy. “I lost everything in a moment. I had so much of wealth, but it was of no use to make me happy at that moment. I tried searching her but, she was nowhere to be found”
“My fingers shivered as I looked into the phone and ordered my car driver to rush at the spot. I felt tied up from inside. As we both searched for her, I saw her sitting near the candy shop silently waiting for her papa to come. She had held her knees close to her chest as she rubbed her eyes on her tiny frock”
“I cried as I stumbled and ran towards her wiping my tears. Tears of happiness I never felt even when my company once made a profit of 100 million.”
What is happiness?
Who says happiness is reserved for the rich. Who says happiness is reserved for the people who own high tech gadgets. Who says happiness is reserved for MBA people from premier institutes. Who says happiness is reserved only for the people who travel all around the world.
Our mind is always in a constant state of comparison. When it sees the positive difference between two events, happiness will result no matter wherever you are, whichever condition you are in or who you are.
Happiness is a feeling of contrast between two situations.
Your friend who is rich has 10 million dollars. You are poor. You win 5 million dollars in a lottery . But, your friend loses 5 million dollars and the resultant bank balance in both of your account will be same. Yet, your friend will be in depression and you will be happy in the clouds. See this?
Amount of money although, same in the end, didn’t make any difference.
Man is a fool. He keeps on chasing the other side of mountain thinking all he has is not enough to be happy. Let me tell you : It will never come.You will never find places in the world or in future where only happiness resides. Because sadness and happiness are two sides of same coin. One can’t exist without the other.
Want to be happy? Work intensely hard during the day. When the tired back will touch the bed, you will know happiness.
Want to be happy? You will be when you turn on the lights and you will see your friends singing happy birthday for you.
Want to be happy? Know that death strikes surprisingly without plans and excuses. When you will return home today, your mother will be there to welcome you home. Who knows about tomorrow?
Then why are you waiting for tomorrow? Create the contrast situations today and you will be surprised to see how much happiness you generate for yourself and others.Happiness is happiness, no matter how you feel and where you feel.
That night before my sister slept, as I hugged her, she asked me the same question again. “Dada, you had promised me the answer?”
I had no answer but, as I drew out a chocolate bar from my pocket her eyes shone like twinkling star. Her face in awe as I said “This is happiness. ”