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Srishti-2019   >>  Short Story - English   >>  Happiness

Happiness

Written By: Sulagna Das
Company: TCS

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I was waiting, at a chowk near Zuluk (a little village in North Sikkim), for my ride to arrive. That is when I found myself engrossed in and becoming a part of the delightfully synchronised flurry of activity all around at the marketplace. ‘Beautiful place, beautiful people’, I thought to myself, ‘waiting has never been this pleasurable!’, as I looked on at the majestic white draped mountains looming large in the background – guarding us all like a benevolent monarch!

However, amidst the kaleidoscope of mountain life what caught my eye was a little boy sitting right across the street, dressed in a white T and blue jeans (a pair bigger than his size), and sneakers (a tad too big as well, which he later confirmed was his favourite pair of shoes!) sitting with a packet of chips in hand, as if that was the only possession he had left in this world. Looking on to find out what he does, I noticed his attention was on a street dog who was busy stretching as he had just woken up from a nap, ten steps away from the little one. What followed rendered me speechless, making me think and examine the tenets of life we live by as adults.

He got up with the chips packet in hand and made way towards the dog, as his friend too made his way towards the boy. Meeting midway, it was almost like they greeted each other with a nod and pat, followed by an immediate keeping aside of the precious chips packet to get down on his knees and hug the more precious. As he tugged and patted the doggo’s ears and face, one could clearly see the doggo loved all the petting and visibly wanted more! After some more hugging and talking, the boy got up and with him tried to make the doggo get up too, and in this case I mean stand up on his two front legs like him! He saw in him his playmate, one he wanted to be more like him, that too literally. The dog, almost of his size didn’t protest, rather he played along like they were age old buddies and partners in crime. The ease of their bonding ornamented with innocence took my heart away, especially when he tried to walk him around on two legs!! Captivated and smiling to myself, I saw the boy pick up his chips of packet and at the same time sit down and bend over the dog to pet him with a few last adorable tight hugs. However what was even more endearing was the dog responding with his head put forward, looking up at his hooman with eyes conveying what words could not. After some more playing and deep meaningful conversations that only they understood, the little one now entirely happy, tied his shoe lace and got up to devote his absolute attention to the packet of chips, as his buddy encircled him one last time and walked down the road with a wagging tail.

It made me think. The little boy kept aside his most prized possession to pet and love the dog, and forgot all about it till much later as he was immersed in the bonding at the moment, not caring for the materialistic pleasure he had waiting for him to devour. To him what was more important was very evident, and that he didn’t hesitate for a moment to choose it is what purity is all about. Untainted and unconditioned, he didn’t care about what happened to the chips packet as long as he got to love his pal and play with him. 
Trying to make him walk was a way of telling him that maybe they weren’t all that different, they could be like the other one and in that essence they were the same. However on seeing he actually couldn’t walk on his twos like him, once again he didn’t hesitate for a single second in bending down to his level to make him feel he was there with him, no matter what. This time even though he picked up his prized packet, that it wasn’t his first priority was clear, since he paid no heed to what he was holding in his hand for he held something far greater in his heart – innocence, and pure love. Only when his heart was full, and his mind was content did he let him go with a smile, smiling to himself for he knew they would see each other soon. 

 

This purity had caught me off guard, for it made me think why do adults fail to comprehend where the true value of happiness lies, 
why do they mistake the attainment of materialistic gains as ways of acquiring happiness? 
And each time when they fail to secure it, why do they go back to making the same mistake again? 
Does life and society condition them in walking on a path trained to watch out for man-made signs of achievements only? 
So much so that they miss out on the real chances of being happy, the kind that doesn’t fill your purse but fills your heart? 
Could we all not do what the child did naturally? 
Could we not grab all the little things in life that fill our souls with love and contentment?

Admitting that earthly possessions have not and will not ever satisfy the human soul, for it understands the language of love alone, would be the first step towards breaking free of the self inflicted slavery we serve to acquisitive bonds, it would be the first step towards leading a life where one doesn’t have to reach the house of death in search of happiness still. While we have life, we have the opportunity to love and live through it. 

That quaint morning, the little one reminded me where the definite meaning of happiness lies, a reminder I think all of us man-turned-into-machines need. 

As I got up to board the approaching jeep, I heard Jim carrey in one of the TV sets at a shop say , “I think everybody should get rich and famous and do everything they ever dreamed of so they can see that it's not the answer.” I smiled within, to myself,  having found a new understanding for that profound statement. 

Happiness, I had never lost, we never do, I thought.
Its only our lens that gets fogged, keeping us from finding it in every corner of life.
I opened mine, cleaned it once, put it back on again, 
Thinking often little ones leave us with the biggest lessons.
I found it, all around me -abundant happiness, waiting only for me to see it. 
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