Pursuit of Happiness

‘Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be’ – Abraham Lincoln

At some point in our lives, each and every one of us must have desperately chased happiness in one form or the other – and I am no exception to it. What is the definition of true happiness? Is it found in this materialistic world or within the comfortable walls of our homes? When was the last time we were truly happy?  True, not all of us may have the same answers for these questions, and while the sources of happiness cannot be generalized, the ambitious generation of today tend to measure happiness only in terms of material gains. Man has reached impassable heights, unimaginable to people living even a few decades back, from technological advancements to beautiful and spellbound works of art and literature. But still, no mere achievements can satisfy the frantic search for happiness that we face day in and day out. Writers have leaped to the task of exploiting this huge market of misguided youth and have capitalized by making money from the desperate people thronging in the bookstores searching for all kinds of self help books.

Suddenly, we find ourselves wandering in an unending maze of shelves filled with books ranging from ‘a quick guide to happiness’ to ’10 habits for joyful living’. What people need to realise is that there is no shortcut to happiness and even if they follow the ’100 easy steps to happiness’, all they will find is a temporary state of happiness disappearing along with the last page and as soon as they are done reading it, it is placed on the shelf never to be opened again. We need to understand that happiness is not something to be searched for externally but it is the inner contentment, an attitude that is shaped by us.

From my experience, I can say, that owning an expensive watch or a new pair of jeans can only give you a fleeting joy until you begin craving for the next cool thing. Now, like all the beautiful feelings in life, true happiness is untouched and, if it may bring any consolation to many in this time of economic slowdown, it doesn’t come with a price tag! So break away from the hectic, monotonous routines and enjoy the wonderful things which you have been missing all along. For me, it’s a chilled glass of water on returning home tired after a long, scorching summer day, or the peaceful aura of seashore away from the complexities of the world, it is in the eyes of my parents filled with pride on my achievement, or a sincere word of praise from my most admired teacher, it is the breeze of innocence in the eyes of a small child smiling and laughing for no reason, or the first bite of my mom’s dish after staying away from home for an unbearably long time. These are very few of the many occasions which give me utmost pleasure and make our lives easier and worth living.

Pallavi Dani

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