[ The Tribune - Spectrum

Sunday, September 10, 2000

Itís the journey, not the end
By I.M. Soni

THE other day I went to the post-office, a stoneís throw from my residence, bought some envelopes, put in the letters. I was pleasantly surprised that the envelopes were sufficiently gummed. The tube of gum I had carried in my pocket remained unused. I was pleased. The matter was trifling, though.

Does it not lead us to a profound truth? Happiness lies scattered in our life-path in small things, actions and words we simply overlook. Instead, we look for it in big events, happenings which may never come our way all life.

We delude ourselves thinking that some day, life would provide us with an opportunity enabling us to become a hero. Or, like Byron, we wake up one fine morning and find ourselves famous!

In this misty maze, we pass through life without gathering little precious moments of real happiness. We are like princess in a fable who goes through the entire length of a garden, flowers on both sides, but does not pluck one, hoping for a better one. He reaches the end of the garden, sans a flower! We reach the end of life sans a bit of happiness.


Different people have diverse theories and derive pleasure from a variety of seemingly trivial sources. Erich Fromm, the well-known psychologist, says: "Happiness is a child running through a field of flowers."

Chin Shant San, a Chinese thinker of the 17th century, counted 32 things which gave him happiness. One was, in his own words, "To keep three or four spots in the body, and now and then to scratch them, or scald or bathe them with hot water."

Napolean derived happiness from getting his back scratched by a soldier who was asked to continue till happiness touched the crescendo.

G.K. Chestertonís source of happiness was in his own imagination. He was delighted thinking that he had a long enough brush to paint the ceiling while he lay in bed.

Cloves provided happiness to the sensuous poet, John Keats. He filled his mouth with cloves, closed his eyes and derived a rare pleasure.

Shelly found happiness in tilting his head towards the ambers of a bright fire. The smell of old musty books pleased Charles Lamb.

I find happiness in on getting a letter from an editor conveying acceptance of an article. It sends a shiver of pleasure inside me, though I have been freelancing for over three decades. Success is sweet.

The appearance of the string of alphabets that forms my name in print is also an equally good source of ephemeral happiness. Happiness is writ all over me when Sachin hits a century in England after his fatherís death. Or when Robin Singh takes five wickets against Sri Lanka in the World Cup.

A yellow wasp hovers in my room, creating fear and tension in mind when I am pouring out my tormented soul in the form of a "middle". I get up open the window, out it flies away. What happiness.

I do not seek happiness. Nor do I run after it. I want only two things: work and love. Happiness will trail.