16

The State of Happiness

It was an early Sunday morning. Around 5 am he shook me out of my slumber. He signaled me to be extremely cautious and not make any noise. He hated waking up people but on Sundays, he would make an exception. I quietly picked up my cricket bat and bowl and went to the roof. I had to make sure that I don’t wake up my mom else our plan of morning cricket would not be executed. He was waiting there for me.

For fifteen years since my early childhood, my father and I would go and play cricket every Sunday morning. On days when we would be playing on the roof, we had to take care of the plants mom had planted. On those evenings she would find a branch or two cello-taped and we would be banned from playing on the roof. This ban would only last till the next Sunday and my father and I would be back to our mischievous best.

That is my earliest memory with my father. Playing cricket with him was pure bliss. It brought happiness and joy beyond words.

Happiness is like success. It is not a destination but the journey. It can last for a moment, an hour, a day or a lifetime. It depends a lot on internal as well as external factors. It is a state of mind.

Happiness brings a smile but a smile is not necessary for me to be happy. I can be silent…observing a picturesque view…and be completely happy without smiling. And I can be all smiling and laughing out loud without being happy.

Happiness comes from within and depends from person to person. A person can have all the wealth and pleasure of the world and he might still be unhappy while, on the other hand, a person earning just daily wage…sleeping on a footpath be content and happy. People befriend adversity and somehow find happiness in that also.

A monk is happy when he finds peace through meditation while an entertainer finds happiness by witnessing how happy his audience is.

For me;

Happiness was playing cricket with him – when he would be my partner at the other end or I would be facing him.

Happiness was sleeping was on his chest and talking to him for unlimited hours sitting on his shoulders.

Happiness was asking him irrelevant innumerous ‘whys’ and he patiently responding to each and every one of them.

Happiness is finding sleep in mom’s lap and love in her food.

Happiness is teasing your sister and pulling out pranks on her and then spending the rest of the days pleading her not to complain to mom.

Happiness is having a meal together with all the family.

Happiness is the tea, pakode (snacks) and the petrichor of first rain.

Happiness is facing the red cherry opening the batting.

Happiness is bowling leg spin and getting the batsmen bowled behind his legs.

Happiness is holding her hand when you are down and out, knowing that there is someone in the entire world who will never turn her back on you when the entire world will actually face the other way.

Happiness is going for a long bike ride in the mountains.

Happiness is playing with kids and letting them win.

Happiness is taking a long walk in a downpour and getting completely drenched.

Happiness is cracking jokes in a group of friends and being a reason for their smiles.

Happiness is traveling to places, meeting new people, learning about their cultures, eating their food, speaking their language and experiencing their lives.

Happiness is dancing to any tune and making others dance with you too.

Happiness is acting in a theatre play and seeing your parents with tears in the audience.

Happiness is the delight of putting my thoughts into words and seeing it reach to the readers.

I believe these days everybody is so caught up in the paraphernalia surrounding them, that they have actually forgotten how to smile…how to be happy. We are just living a dead life. It is like pressing the play button at 28 and stopping it at 60 without realizing to live the moments.

I took the part of being the Joker to bring some smiles and happiness to people and their lives whenever and wherever possible. Humor is the medicine which can save lives out of grimmest of situations. I have seen biggest conflicts getting resolved when both the parties broke into laughter at the same time.

Smile often, people…Laugh genuinely…be aware of every moment. Let happiness come to you rather than you pursuing it. And you will surely find your peace.

For all those are in the pursuit of happiness,

For all those who believe in positivity,

For all those love to smile

And

For all those who are genuinely happy…

It’s not a goodbye…

But it’s a GOOD BYE.

Manas ‘Sameer’ Mukul

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.’

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18

Some might say that it’s wrong

 


Top post on IndiBlogger, the biggest community of Indian BloggersFeatured post on IndiBlogger, the biggest community of Indian Bloggers

 

 

 

It was the last day before the summer vacations of the kids were about to start. All the ladies in the WhatsApp group – ‘Class of 2003’ were busy gossiping about how they have convinced their husbands to pick up their kids from the school.

Nothing is as refreshing as seeing your father at the end of a long hot summer afternoon at school come to receive you.

They all lined up outside the main gate, waiting for the final bell to go off. Most of them were coming straight from work in their formals while some belonging to the self-employed class had the privilege of being in casuals. But there was one, who was dressed up like a cool dude. He had come on his Royal Enfield Bullet. The aura around him suggested that this guy doesn’t have an iota of a worry. He too was their batchmate but looked way too younger and was in great physical shape. He was so good looking that some of their wives even teased them by mentioning his name at odd hours.

The moment the other men saw, the humming of bees started among them. Each and every one was jealous of him. It was as if the roles had reversed and now they were discussing (read cribbing) more like their wives. The reason being he was still unmarried.

The WOW prompt

Some might say that it’s wrong to remain unmarried but I really envy him for the fact that how can someone have so much freedom and fun. Slowly each of them started pouring their heart out:

You get to sleep on any side of the bed…in fact, the whole damn bed is yours. No fight for the pillow…no tug-of-war for the blanket at night. No changing of diapers at 2 am.

These so-called ‘parents’ and ‘elders’ are never satisfied with whatever you do. They were after my life first to get married. After I got married they were after me for giving them a grandchild. Now once I fulfilled their wish they are chasing me to give the child a sibling.

First, they say you are doing all this for the family but where is the time for the family. From 8 am to 11 pm I am slogging in the office earning for the EMIs that are reducing us bit by bit. If it weren’t for wife’s Facebook posts I would have even missed the growth of my kids.

Some relatives suggested get married to a small town girl; she will be a good housewife. Now she has become a great housewife along with three maids doing the better half of her duties.

He still gets to play cricket on weekends while we spend most of ours in the queues of supermarkets. He is partying on Friday nights while we are busy helping out with home works.

He gets to take out his bike, do solo trips and explore the mountains while we end up spending the holidays just planning where to go. Most of us spend more time doing to and fro outside the movie theatre than actually watching the movie.

In fact, to his credit, he did give a Russian girl a real chance but the family went crazy the moment he brought her home. His life is so perfect as he can choose to go out with different girls on different nights and his eyes became moist (The one who was saying this). Everyone went quiet reflecting on their miserable lives.

The bell rang…kids came out running…each outpacing the other in the desire to hug their father.

The dude overheard everything. He turned towards the men and said; “You know what I miss the most, my bundle of joy running towards me like this as if I mean the world to him.”

For all those who are still unmarried,

For all those who are single,

For all those who are married

And

For all those who love their kids

It’s not a Goodbye

but it’s a GOOD BYE

Manas ‘Sameer’ Mukul

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.’

 

205

Death on Karnataka Express

Death on Karnataka Express

The sudden jerk of the train coming to a halt shook me out of slumber. I was sleeping on the middle berth of a three-tier AC coach. I moved the pungent smelling inflexible curtain and tried to peep through the window. The sun was yet to rise but the morning blue had taken over the milieus. It looked like the train was moving through the outskirts of a city. I got my wristwatch out of my backpack and checked the time. It was 6:30 am.

We were travelling in Karnataka express from Bangalore to New Delhi. My initial job training got over in Mysore and I got posting in Chandigarh. Mom was paying a visit to my sister in Bangalore and hence was accompanying me back till Chandigarh.

The last time I checked in the night, when we reached Bhopal, the train was running on its scheduled time.

I thought, ‘we must be approaching Agra by this time.’

I slid to my left and looked down at the lower berth. Mom was still sleeping peacefully. A sensation urged me to use the washroom. I slowly got down in a crouching position, making sure not to wake her up, slipped into my slippers and walked through the narrow passage towards the washroom.

Death on Karnataka Express

After using the washroom, I decided to look outside the entrance door of the coach, since the train hadn’t yet moved. There is no more serene sight than countryside right up early in the morning. I leaped outside the gate but there was no one in sight. ‘Probably most of the people are still sleeping’, I supposed. ‘It was a good four hours still left for us to reach New Delhi, if the train reached at its timetabled arrival time.’

The huge iron wheels slowly started moving making a screeching sound. I shut the door and walked back to my berth. The berth opposite to mom’s berth was empty.

‘The elderly man would have got down at a station somewhat late in the night, as I was pretty much awake past midnight’, I pondered.

Five more minutes passed by and the train gathered momentum. The rural dwellings in the landscape were being replaced by more urban infrastructure. I knew that the railway station was about to arrive and considered having a cup of tea and some biscuits. Mom usually is an early riser and it was way past her regular wake up time. ‘

‘I guess she wouldn’t have an idea what time it is’, I assumed.

She didn’t prefer tea prepared at stations but I, nevertheless, thought of asking her before the station arrives. I feebly called out, “MOM.”

“Mom…Mom…MOM”, I kept calling gradually increasing the pitch of my voice. She didn’t respond leave alone waking up.

I touched her feet to wake her up but she didn’t respond this time either. I started shaking her arm slightly and simultaneously calling out ‘mom…mom…mom.’ It felt as if she was intentionally not waking up.

I touched her forehead. It was damp and cold. Initially I thought that the air-conditioning might have done it. Her cheeks were even icier. I didn’t know what had happened to her. I kept shaking her arm and calling her for more than two minutes but she didn’t budge a single bit.

I was beginning to get worried. I didn’t know what to do. I could see the train slowly entering the station through the window and thought of trying to wake her up one more time.

She didn’t respond.

By now the glitter of sweat was shining on my forehead. I was getting more and more nervous and anxious as time passed. Somehow in these sorts of situations, negative thoughts are the first ones to swarm your mind.

They didn’t spare me either and for a second I thought, ‘Is Mom dead?’

The more I was trying to wake her up, the stronger the sinking feeling became. I knew I had to remain calm and try to think my way through, ‘what if she was actually dead.’

In my custom and tradition the first thing that happens is, as soon as you get to know that either of your parents or any blood relative has passed away, we aren’t supposed to eat anything till the final cremation rituals are performed.

I quelled my mind and focused on the difficult task at hand. I started deliberating, ‘should I get down at Agra or should I continue till New Delhi and seek some help there? Should I call someone right away?’ Should I seek some medical help in the train itself?

My heart was breaking in fact shattering.

I knew it was going to be a long…really long day ahead. The thought of not eating anything for the next two days was already eating my mind. I decided to get down to at least have a cup of tea and couple of cookies. The train was about to move and I had to act fast.

I immediately got down and went to a railway tea stall. The vendor was selling some stale tea but there wasn’t any other option in sight. I decided since I might not get anything else; let me purchase two cups of tea. I purchased a packet of biscuits and put it in my jeans’ rear pocket. I thought of having one cup right away but that same screeching sound of the iron wheels started.

I hurriedly reached the metal door and a fellow passenger helped me board the train again.

I was making my way through few people who were beginning to wake up, making sure I don’t spill any of it.

The eerie feeling of having tea right next to my dead mom also came over me for a second but the contemplation of being hungry for the next two days made a starving sensation in me and I thought, ‘what the hell! Let me have it. There wasn’t anyone who knew me or would complain that I had tea and cookies after mom passed away.’

As soon as I reached my berth, I was dumbfounded and speechless by what I saw.

Mom was wide-awake sitting upright and combing her hair. She annoyingly looked at me and began, ‘how many times have I told you not to get down on every station. What happened to you is everything all right? Why do you look so astonished?’

I handed her a cup of tea interrupting her and sheepishly said, “I got down to bring you some tea and biscuits.”

“In all these years have you ever seen me have this railway station tea?” she added.

I knew it was embarrassingly awkward what had conspired into my head and decided to tell her the ordeal of buying two cups of tea.

She broke into a loud uncontrollable laughter. I joined in. I told her that the first thought that came to my mind after seeing my mom dead, was to have tea and biscuit.

We kept on laughing till we reached New Delhi.

To this day, whenever we discuss a train journey, we roll in fits of laughter remembering this episode.

For all those who love their moms,

For all those who have lost loved ones,

For all those who are fed up of such rituals,

For all those who love trains,

And

For all those who love humour…

It’s not a GoodBye…

But It’s a GOOD BYE

Manas ‘Sameer’ Mukul

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