As a child it was my fondest wish and deepest desire to own a magic lamp like Aladdin. My 6 year old self had already decided that I would ask the genie for an unlimited supply of chocolates and a gigantic teddy bear so that I could hug my teddy and lose myself in its infinite warmth and softness. At the age of 10, I wanted the genie to magically finish all my homework and give me super powers so that I would get the highest marks in every exam, without reading a single word. But on my 11th birthday I realized that what I truly wanted was something else altogether.
As a part of my birthday celebration, I invited my school friends to the gaming zone at Crossroads which spanned the entire top floor of the gargantuan Mall. (Today, Crossroads is renamed as Sobo Central, Brand Factory)– It was my favourite place because it had a huge collection of wonderful and exciting games and at the end of each game players were rewarded with coupons that were equivalent to the number of points scored by them. These coupons could then be exchanged for toys and trinkets at the in-house gift shop. I was a regular there, and after playing those games on countless occasions I had become a champion of sorts. Needless to say, at the end of my birthday celebration I had raked in several coupons and I decided to exchange them for a special gift.
After a lot of head scratching, I whittled down my choices to a final show down between a Frisbee and a Smiley stress ball. All my friends asked me to pick the Frisbee without batting an eyelid. According to them it was a no brainer- A Frisbee was bigger, cooler and way more fun to play with than a stress ball and hence the obvious winner. “Who needs a stress ball at our age! Save it for later” a friend remarked. I found her suggestion amusing and decided to opt for the bright red Frisbee. The attendant, who stood there listening patiently to our discussion, smiled and began packing the Frisbee. Just then my eyes landed on the perfectly round canary yellow ball with shiny black oval eyes and a dimpled ‘U’ that formed the perfect smile. I was so mesmerized that I instantly shouted,“ Wait! I want smiley!”
I gently cupped Smiley and held it with both my hands. As I looked into her tiny face, my heart warmed and my face lit up with a smile that mirrored the one I was holding in my hands. That was the day I decided that every single day I want to feel just like this. If I had a magic lamp like Aladdin, I would wish for the genie to make me like Smiley- who only knew how to smile and bless me with the feeling of happiness for the rest of my life. For me Smiley was not a stress ball, she was the embodiment of happiness.
It has been 14 years since that day and Smiley is still an integral part of my life. She sits with a happy smile on a tiny colourful box at my desk. For me, Smiley symbolizes ‘Happiness’ and every single day when I look at her, I am reminded to always be happy like her. I believe that this feeling of achieving happiness on a daily basis is not just my personal dream but a universal one. Every living being on this planet wants to be happy. Each and everyone one of us is on our own pursuit for happiness. It is this feeling of wanting to be happy that knowingly or unknowingly shapes and influences every action that we take and every decision that we make.
But if we all want to be happy, then why is it that sometimes we are swamped by emotions that are the complete opposite of happiness? Why is it that despite our best efforts and intentions, feelings like disappointment, frustration, anger, resentment and sadness creeps into our life? This is because we all tend to tie our happiness to a person, event, material object or situation. More importantly, we start making happiness a conditional event which depends on the attainment of a thing or happening of an event.
It’s a classic mistake that almost everyone makes (myself included: P). At some point we all start pushing our happiness to the future, thinking and believing that- ‘I will be happy when things finally start going my way; when I get to travel more often; when I become financially independent; when I find the love of my life or when I will buy a new house. Don’t you think it would be wonderful if we stop chasing a goal that we believe will make us happy and simply adopt the straight forward approach of being happy NOW? After all isn’t that what we all ultimately want?
Whenever I start suffering from what I call the “I will be happy when…”syndrome, I remind myself that my goal is to be happy- not just tomorrow or day after, but today as well . I refuse to make my happiness conditional or dependent on a future event. Instead, I resolve to be happy in every single moment of my life.