Russian novelist Maxim Gorky once said, “Happiness always looks small while you hold it in your hands.” It is futile to rave and rant about what we don’t have. We may not forget the past but we must not allow it to invade our small pleasures of family life in the present.
When my father would return home with a bag full of potatoes and other vegetables, I would innocently ask him as a child, “Why do you bring home potatoes in plenty, babuji?” He would beam a generous smile and reply, “The potato is the king of all vegetables. Your mother will now prepare a delicious meal for our little prince in pure desi ghee.”
In those days some 45 years ago, our pleasures were simple and having a sumptuous meal with a seasonal fruit was a grand treat for all family members. I couldn’t help noticing the glint of pleasure in my father’s eyes when he would see me eating my fill.
It was my father’s biggest victory whenever I touched his feet and told him, “Babuji, I have passed the examination.” He would rush to the local confectioner’s shop and return with ladoos and distribute them among our neighbours, declaring aloud, “My son has done it.
He has passed the exam!” On such lucky days, I saw him praying to Lord Krishna in the temple with much more intensity and devotion. He spent his leisure listening to radio and cracking jokes with friends and relatives on his weekly holidays.
Just like his, my Sundays are leisurely too. I am reminded of scientist Albert Einstein’s definition of life. He said, “Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving.”
On Sunday morning, I ride the cycle to the market for buying vegetables, enjoying memories of my father. When I return with a modest bag of vegetables and fruits, the bulk of potatoes evokes my children’s loving rebuke.
“Have you again brought home potatoes, papa?” Just like babuji, I convince them and say with added measure that it is one vegetable that gives company to all others. Yes, I am on cloud nine when I watch the family savouring their meal together.
During the day, I am at peace reading through newspapers, surfing TV channels and snatching a short siesta after lunch. Life becomes really beautiful when some family friend or relative drops in in the evening and shares his joys with us over a cup of hot tea.
Every night, I thank God for blessing me with domestic bliss and a house full of laughter.
American author H Jackson Brown Jr aptly said, “Think big but relish small pleasures.”