Anu was too shocked to respond when she heard that for the first time. Well, Anu is the happy kind, almost always happy and this is no exaggeration. She can be annoying too, that is her joy can get on your nerves especially at times when she giggles and laughs so much that you end up wondering if she is laughing at you and become all the more self-conscious.
There is this interesting poem by R.Browning , titled My Last Duchess, where the Duke has the rather difficult task of explaining the untimely demise of his first wife, that too to someone who brings him the proposal of a prospective bride.
Oh, sir, she smiled, no doubt/ Whene’er I passed her; but who passed without/ Much the same smile? This grew; I gave commands;/ Then all smiles stopped together.
The Duke surely had a problem with the girl, smiling at every one with much the same enthusiasm, he thought he elicited.
I come back to Anu and ask,What gives you happiness?. She answers after a rather long pause ‘everything’. I repeat incredulously,everything???!!! Yes, everything, says she,the guru ma of happiness!!! There is so much to be happy about in this world. If you look at it with an eye of appreciation life is indeed nothing short of a miracle. You say this??? I ask meaningfully raising my eyebrows.Smiling nonchalantly,she affirms, yes, because its from those experiences of sorrow and sadness that I learnt to be happy. When life puts you up right there in the middle of challenges, when you know there is nothing much to lose any more, then one realises the importance of laughter, joy,smiles and happiness. Sometimes, says Anu giggling uncontrollably, I have these spurts of immense happiness that I have to hide,camouflage with a mask of seriousness!!!
How do you keep yourself happy? Ask I, persisting in the hope of eliciting one mantra from this woman who I know lives on a pittance,is rather lonely and well advancing in years… As if to silence the critic in me, Anu says that she dares to do that which might appear senseless to others if it makes her happy. Like???Like walking the cobbled path, skipping a stone here and a stone there,stopping to watch the sky ,buying herself a chocolate,relishing it up to the last bite,running till she is breathless,like pestering someone for attention in spite of indifference and most importantly by choosing to stay miles away from those who make her unhappy.
A good oil bath, I add suddenly reminded of my mom’s panacea, a hot cup of coffee, watching a film all alone,a time well spent with friends,learning something new can give you happiness too.
Anu leans forward to pat my back. Good girl !!! she says appreciatively,happiness does not need company or conditions. It can exist on its own.
So what gives you the high I ask you, a twirl in your dancing shoes, a quick run, a good book, slumber, food ,music, travel or singing bhajans???
The next time you see someone happy, instead of playing the curious cat, try emulating her! Join the laughter, have fun,try a high without a peg. Do it your way and float in bliss, pure bliss. Go master the art of staying spirited !