Millennium Post

In search of happiness

Sitting in Class, feeling incarcerated on a beautiful, rainy day, my friends and I looked at our English teacher with the proverbial 'puppy dog face'. ‘Why can't we go out?’ we chanted in unison, and it was more frustrating to see our question float away, unanswered, than to watch the other children jump around in the mud puddles. The year was 2008 and 'rain' was the new 'happy'. Well, at least for the duration that the monsoon lasted. To further abase us, our teacher asked us to write an article on 'happiness'. Being an avid reader and a keen spectator, I was familiar with the word and the emotions it induced on many occasions. Piece of cake, I thought. How hard could it be to describe happiness?

I put pen to paper and scribbled down the thoughts that first came to my mind. Then, there was nothing, simply a void. Neither my pen moved nor my thoughts. What was happening? Was this writer’s block? I probed my mind but came up with nothing. Looking around the classroom, I found some peace in the fact that every student was staring at either the ceiling or the vast expanse of green beyond the window. At least, I was not the only one at a loss for words. Soon, the bell announced the end of the English period and I could not believe that in forty minutes I had been unable to write on one topic: happiness. None of us could write about what all of us have felt the most.

Looking back, I still find it onerous to remark on the catechism: What is happiness?

My years of search have brought out the fact that this is a question which many have attempted to answer, but few have found the precise words. According to Google, it is 'a mental state of well-being characterised by positive emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy'. According to my five-year old pug, it's the sacred nap after lunch. For some people, happiness is the warm smile passed on from a stranger in the grocery store; some find happiness in the embrace of a long-lost friend. Some say it lies in the hurried two-minute conversations in-between classes; while for others it is the feeling of changing into warm pajamas and sipping hot cocoa on a cold winter night. Happiness is finding a ten rupee note in the pocket of your oldest jeans; happiness is fitting into those jeans. It is the feeling of making up after a fight; the anticipation of eating your favorite dish. Happiness is the twinkle in the parents' eyes when they receive an award on behalf of their child; it is the feeling of coming home on a rough day and getting a hearty welcome of excited licks and jumps from your puppy. Happiness is spending time with your family; it is a feeling of belonging.

Happiness is relative as well as subjective, I deduce. Mahatma Gandhi tried to do justice to the definition of happiness when he surmised, ‘Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.’ That does not happen too often, I would argue. I am sure all of us have found ourselves in situations where we feel incapable of doing anything but burying our heads in our hands and whining, ‘Nothing could be worse than this.’

However, there always is something, isn't there? One might believe he suffers from all the bad luck in the world but it is more of a creation of his imagination than an actuality.

So, do we keep telling ourselves ‘I am happy, I am happy’ in order to be happy? If only it were that simple. My answer would be that happiness begins with positivity.

I look for a silver lining in every trying situation. I try to find that little sunshine peeping out of a dark corner of anxiety and apprehension. I take time out to enjoy the little things and do things that I enjoy. As they say, ‘The busy have no time for sorrow.’ Keep busy in what you love, and happiness shall find you. This is my mantra for happiness.

The author is a class XII student at Modern School, Vasant Vihar
Next Story
Share it