I have been writing about my impulsiveness and impatience for several years now. I was unknowingly justifying each of those moments and always wrongly, till I came to read, “Happiness by Design” ( a book by Paul Dolan). I have read few chapters from several other books on ‘Happiness’ including one from Dalai Lama. But somewhere deep into the philosophical explanation offered, I missed the message. Very next instant, I the slap the book close and place it back on the book shelf.
Contrary to my experience, ‘Happiness by Design’ has a very logical explanation to ‘Happiness’ defined as Pleasure-Purpose Principle. The author asks its readers for introspection. Is it more to do with pleasure or purpose or balanced between the two?
The first chapter of the book offers me enough wisdom to re-affirm whether my leanings are towards ‘pleasure’ or ‘purpose’:
- For last few days my irritability has been at its peak. Now, I know it’s because of lack of ‘purpose’ that I am experiencing. I will find a ‘purpose’ soon.
- My trips to Ranthambore lean more towards as ‘pleasure’ trips.
- My hobby of photography instead leans more towards finding ‘purpose’.
- At work, I value ‘purpose’ more than ‘pleasure’. So the pressure is on my employer (not on me) to ensure I have a well defined ‘purpose’. No amount of comforts except ‘purpose’ can bind me to an organization.
- Reading for me is again more with a ‘purpose’; to use the knowledge somewhere with even larger purpose.
I get upset with ‘pointless’ efforts or efforts that become ‘pointless’ later. I get upset when the ‘purpose’ in me is not visible to others and instead end-up treat me as one who is either seeking ‘pleasure’ or avoiding to commit to a ‘purpose’.
My memories of happiness are when I was impulsive; when I did not think hard; when it was in an instant I head for a trip; when I end-up calling a school friend; when I ping on Whatsapp to tease and jolt the recipient whom I have special feelings to be close to.
It’s happiness when I find my daughters hugging me instantly. It’s happiness when I feel cozy on bed with my large arms around my daughters. It’s happiness when I lean more towards my spouse. It’s happiness when I have my love’s head resting on my chest.
I will henceforth not search for more wisdom on ‘happiness’. Instead, I will focus on every moment I live and make it living upto Pleasure-Purpose principle.
She says, “I wonder why God keeps me alive? Is it for something good or bad, yet for me to experience? Why has almighty not taken me away?”
Her daughter-in-law says, “We are old now, and will miss u even more. So the last day for you will be a painful one for us, unlike if the day arrived a decade back.”
Both of then have shared the relation since 1975, when she was married to the youngest son of the old lady. She is nearing 100 years of age and for some in family she is believed to have lived 100 years already.
Her grand son far away from hometown expects the sad news anytime. But then the news is just not arriving. He also feels that her grandmother is too old for this generation to comprehend every detail. And hence, she being excluded from the list of advisors in his life. This was not the case two decades back. So, Is she not needed anymore?
He is not expecting to inherit any great fortune measured monetarily. Ofcourse, a huge one in terms of values and ethics. But then why will he think so when he still remembers her nurturing as a kid?She hugs her and is in tears when she lays her hand on his hair and wrinkled-stiff fingers combing his hair.
Some days the old couple (old lady’s younger son and her daughter-in-law) feels drained out to take care of her.
Their son reasons had it not been long life of her grandmother, his parents would have atleast went on a few holiday trips before growing too old. He feels they should have retired to have fun with their grand children. But that’s not happening since ‘She is still alive’.
She is least demanding, remembers so less but ‘she is still alive’. She is harmless but ‘she is still alive’.
Is she still alive……?
Ruhin was wanting to listen to a story which her mom refused. Before the usual tears from my little angel started, I uttered…
There was a small school situated on a hill top. There was no way to reach the school except the stairs that were very steep and too many for anyone to climb in time for being at school.
One day the Principal of the school was shopping at the village market when few villagers approached him and asked, “Why did you start the school at such a difficult place that no one can reach easily?”
The principal with a casual smile said, “Because I want only those to come to school who love education.”
He elaborated in detail to clarify his point, “The stairs to school are difficult for school children, to ensure only the determined reaches the school. The select those make it are one who realise that path to learning is not easy. One needs to work hard daily.”
He went on, “Similarly only select teachers can reach the school and the ones who believe in education.”
Ruhin was glad and asked a couple of quesions before we were fast alseep hand in hand.
When Jassica hurriedly took her bag that she left in the car and headed straight to her room at boarding school, she did not turn back to waive us ‘bye’. I was in tears with eye glands being fortunate to wash off all the toxic watched and retained within.
Earlier in the morning when we started from Delhi for her boarding school in Kasauli, Himachal Pradesh, she was permitted by her mother to occupy the front seat next to me. She had agreed to make it to boarding school for a year or so but it took a year of persuasion.
While driving, I felt an urge to cheer her up, make her talk more and yet intersperse small pieces of advise. But then I could not have preached on a host of moral values. I instead chose to speak my thoughts on ‘Honesty’.
I told her that we all are honest most of the times and but then it’s an instant when we commit an act of dishonesty. I told her that we tend to break rules when not watched. We lay our claims on stray objects of value in the pretext of keeping it safe for the owner to return and take it back. ‘Honesty’ I knew if simply put is akin to ‘Not Cheating’. But then I had a greater concern on choosing right instances that explain to her ‘Commitment to Honesty’. This is so since even I had been sparingly dishonest. I told her, “Whether you are being watched or not, what does not belong to you is never yours.” This one instance is where most of us have defaulted atleast once in our lifetime.
Actually I thought further later about a statement I often repeat in conversations, “It’s a sin to lie but truth is not a necessity.” I missed to tell her the difference between ‘Cheating’ and ‘Dishonesty’. When I meet her next I will say, “Lying is to cheating but not speaking truth is an act of dishonesty.”