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Down the Slippery Trail of Happiness
Nalinaksha Mutsuddi Bookmark and Share

Just I stumbled on a wonderful Chinese recipe. Of course, not of a delectable cuisine but for the most longed for commodity of the human soul – happiness. It’s an old Chinese proverb pregnant with time-tested wisdom. It says if you want to be happy for one hour – have a nap: for one day – go fishing; for one month – get married; for one year – get a fortune; and for life – help someone.
 
It clearly shows the transitory nature of happiness. You can’t be happy with one thing for long. Soon you’ll get bored and pine for something elsewhere.
 
Curious, I peeped out to the world and got lost in the happiness trail – it’s so long and varied. Every individual has his own brand of happiness. There is nothing like one size fits all. I met a renowned professor Dr. C.M. Khumbhkarni in Ludhiana. He was very well-known and popular in the locality. He was actively associated with Royal Society of London also, I was told. We – me and a friend – entered his house at ten in the morning. Soon whiskey and roasted chicken were on the table. Just for the sake of company I took one drink only. He got furious on my companion – who was his brother-in-law – “why the hell you brought this child here”. I became a child because I opted for one peg only. During the period of three day’s stay I found him always with his whiskey along with some munching accompaniment.
 
One day I asked him, “Dr. Saab why do you drink all the time?” His reply was, “I want to enjoy every moment of my life”.
 
Whew! And I was spoiling every moment of my life without imbibing a single drop! What a difference!
 
A loner Kashmiri, Ratan Lal Katju, tells me after breakfast at ten he goes every day to the nearby mall to see a movie, back home followed by lunch and a prolonged nap. He feels very refreshing and happy.
 
I met one Mr. Amit Banerjee, a railway employee, at Shimla Kalibari. Every year during his annual vacation he would be in the hills. He expressed his desire to visit Manali. I suggested him to go by bus or a taxi. To which he shrugged and told, “What is the fun in going by any transport. I want to get the thrill by trekking all the way through hills and dales.” One Mr. Samir Ghosh from Kolkata agreed to pay us a visit at Shimla on condition that he should be allowed to eat, drink and sleep only with absolutely no outings. See the contrast.
 
And the contrast is so wide and variegated. One thing is very clear. Everybody is running after happiness restlessly, breathlessly yet never able to drop a permanent anchor anywhere; always shifting further and elsewhere – a sort of insatiable thirst for happiness not getting quenched ever. Now take a virtual tour and invest some amount of your imagination for a vicarious peek of happiness in cases of some random samples. Put yourself in the shoes of the happiness seeker and try to get the feel of happiness as the subject sought.
 
It is easy to guess the happiness of a pauper to win a jackpot, a youth landing a cushy job, a new couple owning a dream house, a young man getting the newest car, a noble heart devoted to philanthropy, a sadhu at Nasik Khumbhmela scribbling the name of Lord Ram million times, Ronaldo fans making a bee line to visit his house and so on ad infinitum.
 
Imagine the flood of happiness the girl got after successful bid for lingerie of Diana, the Peoples’ Princess, in eBay auction. And the joy of Ludhiana businessman bidding highest of Rs nine lakhs.for winning an exclusive number for his mobile phone.
 
Zoom in to the most phenomenal icon of the 21stcentury M.J, the King of Pop. I have taken only one ingredient of his happiness, plastic surgery that is. He had 13 plastic surgeries in his life span of fifty years. His case explains the nature of happiness well. Feel the joy he felt after the success of first surgery in the hope of winning the hearts of billions of fans across the globe. That he won. But it waned, subsequently compelling him to go in for the successive surgeries one after another through ‘wax and wane’ intervals in between. Imagine the compulsion for each subsequent surgery and the resultant happiness derived after the surgery. If he were alive could the 13thsurgery be the final one?Should a happy man – not the happiest – need 30K pounds drugs per month? And ten sleeping pills to induce a night’s refreshing sleep?
 
This is the nature of happiness we are after. The bubble of happiness is of so many sizes, shapes and colours. And we are mad after it.
 
For a change shift your focus on Sonam Chogyal, a mate – supervisor of a contingent of labour force in P.W.D. parlance – working at Dharamshala. An inconsequential man lost among the nameless millions. Talk to him and he breaks into a million dollar smile baring his discoloured and broken teeth without stopping his rotating prayer wheel in his hand. When not talking his lips vibrate chanting “Om Mani Padme Om”. Getting pittance from the P.W.D he takes his frugal meal and gets sumptuous sleep without popping any single pill. He is not worried about making a mark in the world. He is happy too.
 
He is anchored and steady. Is it because he didn’t get exposure to the ‘other world’ due to lack of opportunity? Does taste of more only leads to taste even more? On the other hand should we take ‘small is beautiful and less is more’? Should happiness be measured by the scale of public opinion? Is it not an internal treasure of the owner? There is no universally accepted answer. It all depends on the upbringing and orientation of the individual mind to develop affinity for a particular brand. The world is a huge market of all varieties of happiness items. And it is up to you to take the pick.   


01/25/2011
More by :  Nalinaksha Mutsuddi
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