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Secret of happiness

Two men, both seriously ill, occupied the same hospital room. One man was allowed to sit up in his bed for an hour each afternoon to help drain the fluid from his lungs. His bed was next to the room’s only window.

india Updated: Jul 26, 2010 00:00 IST
Neha Chandiok

Two men, both seriously ill, occupied the same hospital room.

One man was allowed to sit up in his bed for an hour each afternoon to help drain the fluid from his lungs. His bed was next to the room’s only window.

The other man had to spend all his time flat on his back. The men talked for hours on end. They spoke of their wives and families, their homes, their jobs, their involvement in the military service. Every afternoon, when the man in the bed by the window could sit up, he would pass the time by describing to his roommate all the things he could see outside the window.

The man in the other bed began to live for those one-hour periods where his world would be broadened and enlivened by all the activity outside. The window overlooked a park with a lovely lake.

Ducks played on the water while kids sailed their model boats. Lovers walked arm in arm amidst flowers etc. As the man by the window described all this in details, the man on the other side would close his eyes and imagine this picturesque scene.

One morning, the day nurse arrived to bring water for their baths only to find the lifeless body of the man by the window, who had died peacefully in his sleep. As soon as it seemed appropriate, the other man asked if he could be moved next to the window. The nurse was happy to make the switch.

Slowly, painfully, he propped himself up on one elbow to take his first look at the real world outside. To his shock, it faced a blank wall. The man asked the nurse what could have compelled his deceased roommate who had described such wonderful things outside this window. The nurse said the man was blind and could not even see the wall. She said, “Perhaps he just wanted to encourage you.”

Happiness is in making others happy.