Sher Singh Sangwan
The ultimate objective of all people is to lead a happy life. But, how does one achieve such a sparkling life? We used to read an English ballad, The Enchanted Shirt by John Hay. It was about a healthy king who was feeling ill owing to his idle life and doctors couldn’t diagnose the disease. One day a doctor, who used to examine patients with his own knowledge and patient behaviour, told the king, ‘You will be alright if you sleep one night by wearing the shirt of the happiest man.’ The next day, his soldiers were sent in search of the happiest man and to bring his shirt. After roaming the kingdom, the soldiers found a man crawling, jumping, shouting under a tree. They asked him if he was happy! He replied in the affirmative. The soldiers asked for his shirt. He said he didn’t have any! At last, the king realised that wealth was not a sufficient condition for happiness and opened the window of his room to let the air come in, and he felt better.
It is widely accepted that happiness is not a destination, but a way of life. It is the state of one’s mind which is the basis of happiness. It evolves from one’s family, company, income, education and exposure to society and places. All these impact the state of mind, perception of the world and vision of life.
Often one comes across women, with grass/wood bales on their head, singing as they return home. If they think about the big houses on the way, perhaps they may never be happy.
Well-paid youngsters working in companies, especially hi-tech MNCs, usually organise drink parties on weekends as diversion from routine work. Enjoyment may be pleasurable, but after some time, many of them may start consuming liquor by themselves, and regularly, which may become a curse for their happiness and life. It is to be distinguished that happiness is a continuous way of life while pleasure is transitory and short-lived.
Diversion from routine office work is a must for relaxation and energising creativity. Besides, weekend parties, occasional tours to natural sites and friends and relatives, depending upon your income, are a welcome change.
In the late 1970s, I used to go to my village in a desert-like area of Bhiwani while pursuing PhD at JNU. I use to get new ideas from the area and that was when I constructed a small house with paltry savings of my fellowship. Later, I set up a charitable trust to help students of my village.
But youngsters, including my own, prefer to annually visit a foreign country instead of their relatives, who are mostly in villages. The Sanskrit saying, Janani janmabhoomischa swargadapi gariyasi (mother and birthplace are greater than heaven) has lost its importance.
We are chasing happiness in the wrong direction.
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