The Happiness Charter


When I was an adolescent, I had a tough time coping with any kind of change. “Go with the flow”, people told me. “Just go with the flow!” But, how could I? I was a swimmer and a strong one at that. It wasn’t in my nature to just flow along. I was a rock rooted deep on the river bed. The current that I was supposed to be swept away with had merely managed to erode me a bit, but I had not been swept away, nor had I been able to go with the flow. So I stood where I always had… strong, tall and none-the-wiser for the experience.

I mused on the various ways to lift one step in front of the other and move forward. Till now, I had never gone to anyone to make me whole and inadequately few had come to me. Like a wayward sparrow, or an albatross who perches upon a peak to greet a short hello to the immovable rocks. Yet, should the stony mass miss the birds, it could never go to them and could do no more than wait for another visit, if at all. It had to be contended within its own gray mass. 

I suspect that I hadn’t been properly socialized in the ways of the world. I wasn’t what I call, ‘people-broken.’ When too much time passes, you realize certain very visible flaws in you. These are flaws that are etched on to you, and can’t be removed… flaws that only become deeper rooted in time. You cease to blame the people around you for not caring enough, because… face it: you never cared enough, either. Subtly and without my knowledge, my definition of what could make me happy changed. I had changed. Had I gone with the flow?

Then came the days of contentment, when everything was in order and there were no loose ends. Logically, I knew I should be happy. And yet there was restlessness… restlessness, which had become more of a habit rather than an effect of some wayward cause. I couldn’t really account for the edginess. I didn’t understand it, either. All I knew is that it was there, omnipresent and omnipotent. Try as I may to shake it off or to find some justification for the anxiety, I failed.  

At the dawn of another year, I still hadn’t found the key to happiness. Maybe, I was just not smart enough to grasp what may be simple logic. Maybe I never would attain the state of ‘enlightenment’… never enough to acknowledge, classify and clean out the cob webs in my head… the busy spiders only surfacing when I sat down to write, their scrawny legs somehow creating clarity and some sense on paper, amongst blotchy ink marks. Futile thoughts still loitered in my head, like they always had and lingering questions still persisted… questions as clichéd as “What is the meaning of life”, “Do I have a higher purpose”, “What is my true calling?”& “Was it too late?”  

Today, right now…I acknowledge that I wasn’t made to live life day to day, in mundane activities and pointless chores. It isn’t fair to the life you’ve been given to not live it well. I believe I was made to lead a happy life and anything that comes in the way of that must be discarded or destroyed.  The entire exercise of discarding and destroying however, needs to be an exercise of great caution, for even if you are a believer of the theory of perpetuation of energy (matter can neither be created nor destroyed), what is once destroyed never comes back in the form it once was… And if it is true, (like I suspect it is) that a perpetual happy state can’t be attained, my current theory of attainment of happiness relies on change and experimentation. 

Try everything at least twice. Don’t go with the flow; create the reality that makes you happy. Let happiness be a floating concept. Let change be your best friend. Give people a million chances for everything except unkindness. Don’t take anything too seriously. A happy life is most likely a well lived life and a well lived life most likely comes from not shying away from anything, even at the risk of embarrassment, failure or death. I’m searching for the canvas fate has handed me so that I can draw my storyline frame for frame. Happiness is an art; it is an acquired taste; it is an exclusive state of mind; it is all they say “all-in-the-head.” If to be truly happy, the prerequisite was irrationality, I know today, without a doubt that I would embrace irrationality.

I have a happiness charter for life. Let’s hope it is a success.     

“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it! Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” – Howard Thurman  

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