Of the 37 mails I got in response to last week’s column, 19 were honest in admitting how we all love to be a little mean at times to feel happy, seven added their own points to the meanie list, three gave me gaalis for propagating mean behaviour and eight told me how one should seek happiness in simple things, not in the suffering of others.
That’s fair enough and I totally appreciate everyone’s viewpoint. But I also noticed a rather amusing thing, how everyone’s list of ‘simple things’ that make us happy has some very similar points. Like, a majority said eating chocolate makes us feel good, and almost all of them said smelling geeli mitti (the wet mud after a shower) gives them loads of happiness. It’s actually true but quite amusing that we seem to have a national obsession with geeli mitti.
No really, does the US know? Don’t get me wrong here, I have the highest regard for showers in this rain-starved city and am always the first one to break into naache mayuri when it pours, but what’s with geeli mitti, fellas? I would have said the smell of pizza in the hands of the delivery boy climbing up the stairs when I’m starving, gives me a lot of happiness, too. But I don’t want to risk the wrath of geeli mitti supporters.
Anyhow… I got the point that we are simple people and simple things are our feel-good triggers. So I tried and tried to prepare a list of simple, ‘unmean’ things that give us happiness but somehow I still couldn’t bring myself to list the mushy ones you’ll find in hundreds of self help articles floating all over the net.
I’m not cold hearted or anything but my fluffy, romantic notions had rightly been replaced by some sound practical sense way back in 2004, when on Valentine’s day, I realised that my husband had quietly sneaked out of home early in the morning. Waiting for flowers and heart shaped balloons, I saw him come back after a while, sweating and empty handed. After I was done with a fair bit of sulking, he explained that in the time he had, he could either buy flowers or go to get the petrol tank of my car filled up at a faraway gas station, (since there was an impending strike by the petrol pumps)... and he chose the latter. At that moment I realised that there’s no big deal to feeling or giving happiness… it’s actually just a choice. So here are my five humble and ‘practical’ tips for happiness:
1. To feel happy, depend on yourself… and just yourself. Why should it be anyone’s else’s duty — whether spouse or lover or parents or kids —to make you happy? In India, we have this thing where while giving their daughter off in marriage, parents say, Pati ko khush rakhna… but why? Shouldn’t they rather say Khush rehna? Trust me, if that happens, pati would apne aap be happy.
2. Shed the pre-conceived notions of what is supposed to make you feel happy, because in real life, not every guy gifts balloons and not every girl fasts on karwachauth, looking longingly at the moon from the terrace. AND that does not in any way mean they don’t care for your happiness.
3. Be practical and do not indulge in self pity. God didn’t send you on this earth with a signed bond that every day of your life will be trouble free or that you’ll feel happy for at least forty hours a week. In fact, maybe God was too busy to even notice your parents were making babies. So quit the drama of asking ‘why me God, why?’ every time you face trouble. The mess in your life is surely your own doing, poor God hasn’t done anything to deserve your whining.
4. Remember, that the best and sure shot way of feeling happy is to selflessly do something for someone, without them asking or expecting it. And yeah, also without you expecting a ‘thank you’ in return.
5. And finally, what the heck… go smell geeli mitti!!
Sonal Kalra wanted to smell the wet mud first thing in the morning. So she poured lots of water in the garden...and then slipped badly in keechad. She’s just depending on chocolates now.