The Pursuit of Happiness


At almost every phase of my life, people have asked me, what makes you happy? I often find myself lost for words at this juncture and usually end up blurting out a clichéd answer to that ever so simple question: chocolate. Chocolate makes me extremely happy but what is actually the secret to my happiness?

But does it really?

So then I ponder over this never-failing-to-hit-me-in-the-face question: what makes me happy?

I can tell you the things that make me unhappy. Will that do? Death, starvation, poverty, cruelty, death. Death carries with it this sense of poignancy, this profound grief, that even if you aren’t closely acquainted with the deceased, you will feel. Because just the thought of life flowing out a body rather than within it is enough reason to mourn. At least for me. (Mumbai, Paris, Syria. It is enough reason to mourn, isn’t it?)

But getting back to the question at hand, I think this whole pursuit, this whole idea of “finding what makes you happy” or “finding your means of happiness” throws one into an existential crisis of sorts. Why do people yearn for happiness? Why is our generation so adamant about finding something that makes us happy?

Why can’t we just BE happy?

365 days of happiness. Possible? Many claim to find happiness in the littlest of things. But again, this whole idea of having to find, search, look for it. Why? Why do we do this to ourselves? Why do we behave like pirates looking for treasure?

Say we do find that treasure, then what? Like every pirate, we will eventually run out. Again. Then what? Start hunting again? Go through the whole process only to reach the end of the rainbow for yet another pot of gold?

Well? Don’t you see? You traveled the entire length of the rainbow earnestly waiting for it to end. To reach the end. To secure your pot of gold. Not once did you stop to admire the warmth of it all – the oranges and yellows, the reds and the greens. Or the gloom that it bore – the violets and indigos, the blues. All you wanted was for the journey to end so you could find your happiness.

You. Waited. For. The. Journey. To. End. Give yourself a minute. Let that sink in.

So what happens when the journey ends and you reach your destination? What happens when you find that pot of gold? What happens when you run out but you’re too tired to make another trip? What happens when life is coming to an end but you don’t stop to admire, you rush on to secure?

Choose happiness – Because life is too short and too exciting to focus on the blues.

I believe that at the denouement, life is your version of VIBGYOR (or byobgyor – doesn’t matter what colours you pick!). It throws a hell lot of colour at you – bright and dark. But how you choose and what colour you pick to paint your picture boils down to you and how eager you are to find that one entire pot of gold at the end of the journey or how contended you are to pick up coin by coin until your pot is full.

Weirdly enough, whilst penning down these agrestal thoughts of mine, I think I found my answer. My pot is empty right now. And I’m going to fill it up, bit by bit, in an attempt to enjoy every infinitesimal that life throws at me. I’m going to ensure I make the most of every moment that is awarded to me – the good, the bad and the ugly. And that, I think, will make me happy. That, I think is my idea of happiness – My pursuit of happiness