In Search of Happiness
I don’t know what happiness is. Years ago, I was busy busting my ass earning money because I believed and I still do, that money can buy you happiness. Of course you cannot buy abstractive entities, but the tangibles are not a bad option either. Might as well cry for your beloved in a Mercedes eh?
As the spokes of time gather momentum, I’ve realized that I’ve changed immensely. I refrain from peeking back into my past, for it continues to haunt me like nothing else, scathing my conscience with countless abrasions, each scar driving me deep into the caverns of guilt and compunction. I am not an insomniac, I just can’t sleep, in spite of an air conditioned room, a cozy bed and a busy life, I just cannot manage to shut my eyes down.
The memories of my past life are incased in a dark chamber of my brain, the keys to which are lost in the timelines of history.
~ Thirty five years ago ~
I am fifteen years old. I’ve come to my ancestral village to spend my summer vacations. I’ve always been fond of my village. The traditions, lore’s and antiquity seem to have a mesmerizing effect on my spirit. I incessantly roam about through the lush strait of mango trees along with Vicky, my cousin brother, relishing on the unending supply of sweet and pulpy mangoes.
I was incredibly fond of my grandma’s home. I remember that everyone one of us among the children got four biscuits along with a cup of tea to serve as our early morning refreshments. However, my Choti Ammi(Younger aunt) always gave me five biscuits, owing to my fondness for the same. I’ve always felt that Choti Ammi loved me the most among her nephews. I’ve always seen her working. Infact she used to seek opportunities to engage herself in household chores.
Even during the blistering and torrid afternoons of May, when the hot winds would rampage relentlessly, confining every mortal to his threshold, Choti Ammi could be seen dusting the closet or shifting worthless materials from one place to another. I’ve always wondered- Is Choti Ammi a workaholic or was she intently trying to evade something? I’ve realized that it was a deliberate effort on her part to absorb herself in worldly chores to circumvent the voidness of her soul- a predetermined effort to camouflage the abyss of despondency simmering inside her. Choti Ammi was childless. I thought I could be her son, but could I?
~ Twenty five years ago ~
The desire for worldly riches is quite evident in my eyes now. I’ve embroidered my personality with shrewdness, adroitness, chicanery and all such superlatives which will aid me in getting through to the higher echelons in the power sharing hierarchy. I regard everything as a challenge, an obstacle barricading my way to success, and I believe that I can use all resources at my disposal, fair or unfair to clear those impediments. The ends justify the means, don’t they? Vicky’s family is struggling to keep their heads above water. He’s far too dignified to approach anyone for help. I could’ve helped him, but I chose to sit mum and assess the situation. I told myself that he’d have to find a way out of this predicament himself. People have this queer habit of seeking attestation for their supposed choices. I recalled my lessons, Management 101- Festinger’s theory of cognitive dissonance. I thought, I could be a good friend, but could I?
~ Fifteen years ago ~
I’ve decided to leave India and settle abroad. However, my parents aren’t too jubilant about my choice. I’ve pleaded before them to come along with me. However, they’re adamant that they won’t leave their ancestral place, as they are bound by ties of kinship and by a sense of loyalty to the place where they’ve spent their entire life. I am not overtly ecstatic about their decision, but I guess they belong to the old school, entangled in the cobwebs of their somber and puritanical traditions.
I told myself that I’ll never forget them; I’ll keep sending them money, I’ll even manage my schedule and pay them a visit twice in a year. I kept sending them the money. Only if I could realize that monetary accoutrements cannot compensate for the glitches that appear in the veneer of a relationship. I thought I could be a good son, but could I?
I wish I could return back and rectify my mistakes. Unfortunately, repentance is the phantom of a past that comes too late. I’ve made all efforts to make sure that my son does not reiterate the same mistakes that I’ve committed in my life. I’ve taught him to scout for happiness in the most diminutive of entities, for happiness often sneaks in through the most unlikely doors.
It can be found in the epiphany of a hassle free space in a parking lot or in the tears that spur out inadvertently while flipping through old photographs.
It is present in the ecstatic mirth of an unexpected holiday as well as in the snivels of a newly born baby, which seeks solace in your arms.
You can spot it in the smell of Petrichor, which rejuvenates your spirit like nothing else or trace it in the sigh of relief which envelops your whole existence after having successfully booked an online Tatkaal ticket.
The world is full of people seeking happiness, whilst snubbing the importance of contentment. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute of your life in a state of gratitude and contentment, thanking the almighty for all those blessings which he has conferred upon you.
Happiness always seems insignificant when it’s in our midst. It’s only when we face torrid times that we realize its real worth. It’s like a butterfly, which when pursued is beyond our grasp, but it might just alight on you, if you choose to sit down patiently and have some faith.
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